Ernest Knee (1907-1982) was a gifted photographer who left a remarkable visual record of New Mexico in the 1930s and 1940s. Knee was Howard Hughes's personal photographer and the first cameraman to record Angel Falls, the world's highest waterfall, but the images he is most recognized for are those of the majesty of New Mexico's skies, adobe churches, villages and endless landscapes. Montreal-born Knee first visited Santa Fe in 1931 and soon set up a darkroom on Camino del Monte Sol, joining the ranks of a flourishing art community. He became friends with many artists and photographers of his time, including Edward Weston, Gustave Baumann, Ansel Adams, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Laura Gilpin. He captured with intimacy and a sensitive modernist eye the expanse of southwestern landscapes and gave us iconic images of the churches at Ranchos de Taos and Trampas, the ruins at Canyon de Chelly and Mesa Verde, the sand hills of Abiquiu and Monument Valley. Knee's landscape work remains a primary achievement in New Mexico's photographic history.
Dana Knee has restored and edited some five thousand large-format negatives, many never printed by the photographer in his lifetime, selecting over one hundred images for the first published retrospective of Knee's work.
Dana Knee, the third son of Ernest Knee, is a classically trained musician who has divided his time between woodworking and photography for the last twenty years. He lives in Ojo Caliente, New Mexico. Robert A. Ewing is director emeritus of Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of New Mexico.