Don Usner, author, photographer "Chasing Dichos Through Chimayo," "Orale! Lowrider!"
Air Dates: December 17-19, 2016
This week's guest on "Report from Santa Fe" is celebrated New Mexico author, photographer, and cultural geographer Don Usner discussing his chronicles of Chimayo and his photographs and essay in the book "Orale! Lowrider!" the companion publication to the New Mexico History Museum's exhibit "Lowriders, Hoppers, and Hot Rods: Car Culture of Northern New Mexico."
Usner is know for his exquisite photographs, as seen in his books about the "Valles Caldera," "The Natural History of Big Sur," "New Mexico: Route 66 on Tour," and "Orale! Lowrider!Custom Made in New Mexico."
In addition to his photography, Usner is also know for his intimate portraits and history of the Northern New Mexico town of Chimayo. Since the 1980s, Usner has been preserving the stories and folkways of this sprawling village, home to some 3,000 people who live in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, about 30 miles northeast of Santa Fe. The author has deep roots in this land. His family has lived in the village continuously since its founding in 1701. For his latest project, Chasing Dichos Through Chimayó, Usner sought to capture the sayings and maxims found in the speech there.
Usner’s other works on the village include Sabino’s Map: Life in Chimayó’s Old Plaza and Benigna’s Chimayó: Cuentos From the Old Plaza, which gathers traditional stories from Usner’s grandmother, born at the tail end of the 19th century.
In addition, Don writes for periodicals such as New Mexico magazine, the photography journal Lenswork, the New Yorker, and El Palacio. Don was named a New Mexico Luminaria by the New Mexico Community Foundation in 2013. He teaches photography at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design as well as Santa Fe Preparatory School and works independently as a writer and photographer in Santa Fe.