Duke City, back in the day

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - Pho­tos of Albuquerque

The many faces of Albuquerque’s his­tory are front and cen­ter in the book Albuquerque Mu­seum Photo Ar­chives Col­lec­tion: Im­ages in Sil­ver (Mu­seum of New Mex­ico Press), edited by Glenn Fye, who re­cently re­tired as the mu­seum’s photo ar­chiv­ist. The book fea­tures 180 black-and-white pho­to­graphs of long-gone scenes and peo­ple, in­clud­ing steam lo­co­mo­tives; the beau­ti­ful Al­varado Ho­tel; a snap­pily at­tired fe­male gas-sta­tion at­ten­dant; a pair of cow­boys on West Gold Av­enue; workers in a 1930 print shop; and Mary Pick­ford, Dou­glas Fair­banks, and other celebri­ties at the train sta­tion. On the cover is McDonald’s Restau­rant at 209 West Cen­tral Av­enue, ca. 1938, from the Mil­ner Stu­dio col­lec­tion, cour­tesy Mu­seum of New Mex­ico Press. All im­ages in the story are cour­tesy Glenn Fye, Albuquerque Mu­seum, and Mu­seum of New Mex­ico.

Sort­ing through the Albuquerque Mu­seum’s ar­chive of about 130,000 pho­to­graphs to choose 180 for a book was def­i­nitely a chal­lenge. Glenn Fye, the in­sti­tu­tion’s re­cently re­tired photo ar­chiv­ist, has done an ad­mirable job. Albuquerque Mu­seum Photo Ar­chives Col­lec­tion: Im­ages in Sil­ver

Some of the book’s most mem­o­rable im­ages come from the stu­dio of Harry and Leta Brooks. Ex­am­ples are Stu­dio por­trait of a Western gui­tarist wear­ing woolly chaps, ca. 1930 and Tex­aco gas sta­tion fe­male at­ten­dant, ca. 1940. Pho­to­graphs of Albuquerque cafés, shoe stores, the White Star Hand Laun­dry, the Al­varado Pool Room, and ra­di­a­tor and bi­cy­cle re­pair shops are among those in a trea­sure trove of glass plates that was ac­quired by Ray Ban­del from an itin­er­ant pho­tog­ra­pher in 1933. Fye be­lieves the pho­tog­ra­pher spent time in Albuquerque in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber of 1930, ei­ther pass­ing through or try­ing to find a place to live, and earned $5 or $10 for each pic­ture he took and then sold to the busi­ness owner. A se­lec­tion of th­ese im­ages was pre­sented in one of the atrium hall­way shows that Fye cu­rated at the mu­seum. Brought to Light: A Great De­pres­sion-Era Pho­tog­ra­pher’s Study of Albuquerque Busi­nesses was on dis­play in 2007 and 2008.

Fye was the mu­seum’s photo ar­chiv­ist start­ing in May 2006. “This is my first full week of re­tire­ment,” he said in a Nov. 30 in­ter­view. “I was there 11 years and seven months, and be­fore that I worked in col­lec­tions, but I’ve al­ways worked in photography.” His per­sonal ad­ven­tures in photography be­gan in 1966 in high school in Cal­i­for­nia — he was born in Albuquerque but didn’t grow up in New Mex­ico. “I started surf­ing and I did surf photography. I lived a half block up from Win­dansea Beach in La Jolla, in San Diego County. I had a cou­ple of big tele­photo lenses and I’d run down to the beach and take pic­tures of guys and sell ‘em prints.” Af­ter high school, he worked in three cam­era stores, read books about fine-art photography, and did a lit­tle ar­chi­tec­tural photography in San Fran­cisco. “Then my wife, San­dra, and I sold ev­ery­thing and split for Hawaii with the idea of start­ing school again.” He grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Hawaii with a de­gree in art his­tory; she fin­ished at the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico in ge­og­ra­phy (and has pub­lished His­toric

and His­toric Pho­tos of El Paso). To write the open­ing es­say of Im­ages in Sil­ver, Fye se­lected By­ron A. John­son, long­time for­mer cu­ra­tor of his­tory when the in­sti­tu­tion was known as the Albuquerque Mu­seum of Art and His­tory. An­other, shorter es­say at the end of the book was penned by

con­tin­ued on Page 30

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