For almost four decades, Santa Fe photographer William Clift has photographed two monolithic sites that dominate their expansive landscapes: Shiprock, an eroded volcanic form that rises above the northwestern New Mexico desert and is sacred to the Navajo (Diné), and Mont St. Michel, a tidal island off the north coast of France that is famous for its Romanesque-Gothic church and monastery. In this selection of more than seventy beautiful photographs, Clift shares his ongoing, nuanced exploration of the two places.
The artist has long been recognized for his photographs of the New Mexico landscape but his work defies easy categorization. Born in Boston in 1944, Clift began making photographs at the age of ten with an early interest in Polaroid image making. As a teenager, he took a photography workshop with Paul Caponigro and was soon affiliated with many of the established practitioners of the medium. He moved to New Mexico in 1971, where he and his wife raised a family, and has earned a reputation as a thoughtful photographer and a meticulous printer. He is represented in the museum’s collection by twenty-four prints from across his career.
The exhibition is accompanied by a book with more than 130 reproductions of the artist’s pictures of Mont St. Michel and Shiprock. Copies are available for purchase from the artist’s website.