In this book, award-winning photographer Miguel Gandert records the sacred rituals and dances of the mestizo peoples of the upper Rio Grande in 130 exquisite black-and-white photographs. Included are images of the two great Indo-Hispano regional traditions, the Matachines conquest dance drama, complete with monsters and bull, and the multifaceted Comanches celebration, with its equestrian victory play and boisterous dances. The image and story of Our Lady of Guadalupe are in evidence everywhere in a sacred landscape criss-crossed with procession and pilgrimage. Four essays provide the background for viewing Gandert's work. Enrique R Lamadrid presents the folkloric context for the rituals and dances, tracing the mixture of Indian and Hispanic elements in the public celebrations performed today in towns and villages all along the Rio Grande. Ramon A Gutierrez examines how the Rio Grande culture travelled up and down the river, defying international borders. Lucy R Lippard discusses the social relations among participants in Gandert's photographs-the subjects, the viewers, and the photographer himself. Chris Wilson provides biographical information on Gandert and traces the development of his aesthetic.
Miguel Gandert has been photographing the social rituals, people, and landscapes of his native New Mexico for twenty years. His photographs have been exhibited widely in museums and galleries throughout the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. He is an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of New Mexico.