New Books Network

Kevin Bubriski

Look into My Eyes

Nuevomexicanos por Vida, '81-'83

Museum of New Mexico Press 2016

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in ArtNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in Latino StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in the American WestNew Books Network July 10, 2016 Lorena Turner

Kevin Bubriski, a New Englander and internationally acclaimed photographer, was a freelance photojournalist when he first arrived in New Mexico in 1981 to study...

Kevin Bubriski, a New Englander and internationally acclaimed photographer, was a freelance photojournalist when he first arrived in New Mexico in 1981 to study filmmaking in Santa Fe. Bubriski recalls, “Although I was working as a news photographer on my own, I was looking for images that I enjoyed for their own visual merit and innate curiosity.” Bubriski found himself in a new culture as distinct to him as any foreign country he would later photograph. He took his 35-millimeter camera and hand-cranked 16mm Bolex, and began to explore the environs, particularly the neighborhoods of native New Mexicans. Excited by the photographic opportunities, he says, “I went to every fiesta, every parade, every celebration and religious observance.”Look into My Eyes: Nuevomexicanos por Vida 81′-83 is a collection of images from that personal exploration, it is a photographic documentation of Hispanic New Mexicans, Nuevomexicanos, taken between 1981-1983 in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and several northern New Mexico villages.

Bubriski turned his attention to New Mexico teenagers. Downtime for them meant cruising and meeting up at places like San Gabriel Park in Albuquerque. He photographed them at the New Mexico State Fair and the First Annual Lowrider Car Show and Dance. He photographed family members of all ages at weddings and dancing at the La Bamba Club on New Year’s Eve.

There is a universality to Bubriski’s powerful images. The emotions revealed in his images are timeless; the physical details are a time capsule of the early eighties in New Mexico. There is an intimacy to these images, as well, the subjects, whether looking directly into the lens or away from it, appear at ease with Bubriski and his camera, inviting the viewer in for a closer look. Over three decades later, this resurrected collection of photographs isan evocative cultural documentation of people who proudly trace their ancestry to Spanish settlers who arrived here several centuries ago. These are the faces of Nuevomexicanos por vida: New Mexicans for life.