Laurie Tümer: The States Project: New Mexico
I first became of aware of Laurie Tumer’s work around the early 2000’s when she won the New Mexico Council on Photography’s Willard Van Dyke Memorial Grant with her series Glowing Evidence. This series, inspired by the health and environmental consequences of pesticides, uses fluorescent tracer powder on objects around her home to illuminate the powder with UV lamps, exposing through still and lenticular 3D photographs how pesticides wind up in our homes. Glowing Evidence was so impactful and innovative to me, it seemed to be the epitome of the profound power of photography to bring awareness to an important, urgent topic.
I’ve continued to follow Laurie’s work, and I’m delighted to present her new body of work, Night Writer. Similar to Laurie’s style of processing her personal experiences through photography, Night Writer explores photography as a writing tool, drawing with light – the definition of photography at it’s core.
Laurie Tümer (b. 1951 Los Angeles) is a photographer and educator who has lived in northern New Mexico since 1988. She holds degrees from the University of Arizona and Vermont College. Her photography is widely exhibited and published and is represented by photo-eye Gallery in Santa Fe. Tümer teaches writing at Northern New Mexico College, and photography, art history, and art criticism at Santa Fe Community College. Some of her courses are Camera Use and The Art of Seeing and The History of Graffiti: From Glyph to Graff.
My new series, Night Writer, is an homage to my hometown Española, New Mexico—a valley along the Rio Grande unparalleled for its beauty and legendary for its badass reputation. This is a place where cruising is a favorite pastime and antidote to despair. This series began at a time when driving was getting more difficult due to chronic pain from multiple sclerosis. Being a passenger on a midnight cruise felt like an act of resistance. When I set out with my assistant photographing the streets and back roads at night from a moving car, I was astounded by images that resembled graffiti-like tags, wildstyle and 3-d letters, arrow motifs, and distinct numbers like “505” – my area code – and 76, the highway number where many of these were taken. I used the camera like a writing tool – the pen strokes were the curves and bumps in the road and the paint was light itself. It was a blessed time venturing out in defiance doubled up on painkillers bombing the town – not with spray paint, but with photo-graffs – affirming self and marking territory. There were about half dozen drives in the middle of the night just so we do could do ueys, sail through stop signs, and turn off the headlights to minimize glare. We worked quickly and quietly like graffiti writers in the black velvet of night, aware of the dangers that lurked in the dark and the laws we were breaking for art.
The book Night Writer, with essays by Eddie Tafoya and Laurie Tümer in English and Spanish, will be available early 2016 through Photo-Eye Bookstore.
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Robert Stivers: The States Project: New MexicoApril 3rd, 2016
Caitlyn Soldan: The States Project: New MexicoApril 2nd, 2016
Will Wilson: The States Project: New MexicoApril 1st, 2016
Kate Russell: The States Project: New MexicoMarch 31st, 2016
Laurie Tümer: The States Project: New MexicoMarch 30th, 2016