Located in northern New Mexico, Santa Fe is world renowned for its high concentration of fine art galleries and artist collectives. From Canyon Road to Art Festivals, Santa Fe is popular among seasoned art collectors and curious art buyers alike. While paintings and sculptures are plentiful throughout the city, high quality fine art photography can be a little harder to come by. As a photographer and resident of Santa Fe, I decided to put together a list of the best photography galleries in the region. Each gallery on this list offers something special and is worth paying a visit to should you find yourself in northern New Mexico.
Monroe Gallery of Photography has been in Santa Fe since April, 2002. Prior to then, the gallery was located in SoHo, New York. Monroe specializes in 20th and 21st Century photojournalism and humanist imagery —images that are embedded in our collective consciousness and which form a shared visual heritage for human society. Many of these photographs not only moved the public at the time of their publication but maintain the power to stir the consciousness (and conscience) today. They set social and political changes in motion, transforming the way we live and think—in a shared medium that is a singular intersectionality of art and journalism.
The Gallery presents 5-7 exhibition each year, typically for 8 to 10 weeks depending on the season and exhibition. Monroe Gallery has been recognized by media outlets, photographers, and academic instructions as a vital champion of such work, and a singular resource for museums and collectors. It is the recipient of the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Excellence in Photojournalism.
Sidney and Michelle Monroe maintain extensive personal connections with important photographers, clients, collectors, dealers, estates, auction houses, and archives worldwide.
No trip to Santa Fe is complete without a stop into Monroe Gallery.
Address: 112 Don Gaspar Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501
The Obscura gallery (named after the original Camera Obscura) is one of the most beautiful and comfortable art spaces in Santa Fe. It was formed by owner and director Jennifer Schlesinger as a virtual gallery in February 2017 and opened as a brick and mortar gallery in the Summer of 2018. Schlesinger served as the Director of Verve Gallery of Photography in Santa Fe, New Mexico for eleven years until they closed in 2017.
Obscura Gallery carries 24 contemporary photographers all working in various media and approaches to photography from landscapes, documentary, still life, to mixed media using 19th and 20th Century processes. They also represent select work of 19-20th Century photographers. The contemporary artists at Obscura Gallery are each representing photography in a new, unique way, sometimes taking from or adding to many of the photographic progresses that the medium was founded on. Each artist represented at Obscura Gallery offers a unique approach to the medium with special attention to the fine print. The gallery rotates their physical exhibitions roughly every two months equating to six shows per year.
One thing that makes The Obscura Gallery unique is that it shares its gallery space with the Brant Mackley Gallery which deals in antique Native American and Tribal art. The two gallery spaces are intertwined with one another creating a unique experience that allows the viewer to explore photography alongside other forms of antique cultural art forms. Having two-dimensional 19-21st Century photography viewed alongside three dimensional sculptural and Native art gives the photography a historical context and juxtaposition that offers a wonderful viewing experience that is retrospective to that of Alfred Stieglitz’ modern art gallery, 291 in the early 1900’s.
Address: 1405 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Photo Eye Gallery
Photo-eye is another one of those must stop places for any serious photography fanatic. Photo-eye is a combination of a gallery and a photography bookstore. Founded in 1979, Photo-eye began as as a mail order bookstore in Austin Texas. In 1991 Photo-Eye moved to Santa Fe NM and in 1993 opened a physical gallery space. They feature a wide range of contemporary photographic work. Traditional and experimental artists are embraced by this gallery which keeps their exhibits interesting.
The exhibits at Photo-eye rotate about every six to eight weeks. Once Covid-19 hit the US, the gallery transitioned to monthly online exhibitions but has since reopened its doors. As of this writing the online gallery is still rotating exhibits once a month. You can view the Photo-eye online gallery here.
Photo-eye is currently working with 30 photographers in their their gallery. These artists range from established to emerging and from local to international. In addition to their physical space, Photo-eye represents a host of photographers online in their showcase.
In 1996 Photo-eye launched the first e-commerce bookstore and gallery website. Today The Photo-eye bookstore is the oldest and largest photography bookstore in the country!
Address: 1300 Rufina Cir a3, Santa Fe, NM 87507
Foto Forum opened in November 2017. They feature a diverse range of conceptual and contemporary visual storytellers that utilize photography as well as other media. They have three, 2-3 month long solo shows, as well as a solo show of their photography award contest winner for two months and a members juried show.
Foto Forum Santa Fe aims to involve the community through workshops, visiting artist lectures, research, and community outreach. The gallery/photo studio, and darkroom is equipped with a wide array of cameras and processing equipment to produce alternative processes, like platinum palladium, wet plate, and cyanotype, as well as traditional b&w gelatin silver, and digital prints. They are committed to educating and providing opportunities to photographers to experience many different forms of analog and digital photography, both historical and current
The gallery's vision is to create a space where photographers can meet and work together to exchange ideas and processes of photography and visual storytelling. Foto Forum shows national and international talent as well as local talents. They provide shows for idea driven photography that is taking place now. They also have a space to teach photography and explore many different contemporary and historic photographic processes.
Address: 1714 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87505
William Clift Gallery
Willam Clift is best known for his landscapes and architectural work. His photographs represent his personal quest for a deeper quality within the personal experience of seeing. Over the course of 56 years, Clift’s work has been exhibited across the United States. Over 90 museums and public collections have collected his work in the US and abroad. He has received two Guggenheim Fellowships, two National Endowment for the Arts Grants and the Governor’s Award in the Arts.
Clift’s gallery features fantastic silver gelatin prints that mostly consist of the American Southwest. My person favorites are of ShipRock New Mexico and his beautiful portrait of Georgia O'Keeffe.
The Clift Gallery is only open on weekends with very limited hours. It is a good idea to call ahead to make sure that it is open. If the gallery is open, you’ll more than likely get to meet William Clift himself and his dry yet quirky sense of humor. I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with him as much as I enjoyed watching him interact with the visitors to his gallery.
Address: 203 East Palace Avenue Santa Fe, NM 87501
K&A Gallery (Kristin Schillaci)
K & A Gallery is one of the newest galleries in Santa Fe and it’s conveniently located directly across the street from Terracotta Wine Bistro. The gallery is a beautiful and welcoming space that exhibits kristin Schillaci's photography of Americana and Ashley Binder’s Charchol horse drawings. Kristin uses a 1970’s medium format film camera to capture images of the American countryside. Her work is presented in elegant frames that complement the subject within. K&A gallery is artist owned and operated and both artist keep a pretty busy schedule. If you’d like to visit K&A, I recommend reaching out to one of the artist before hand to make sure that they are in the gallery. You can contact them using the methods below.
Address: 307 Johnson St
Barbra Bowels specializes in abstract photographs of old pickup trucks. Her vibrant photographs resemble paintings and have a wonderful Southwestern flair. Barbra captures her images using a 35mm film which is later scanned to create Fine Art pigment prints. Bowles began selling her artwork at the Tesuque Flea Market and moved into her current gallery space in 2005. Her gallery is conveniently located downtown and represents 10 jewelers in addition to her photography.
Address: 112 W. San Francisco St., Suite 21 Santa Fe, NM 87501
Mike Wardynski Photography
While I do not have a physical gallery space in town, I often have work on display at some of the countries most prestigious art fairs. My large format photography is available for viewing by appointment in my home studio located in Santa Fe NM.
I specialize in fine art nature photography and still life limited edition prints. My work is available for purchase on a variety of substrates including traditional paper, acrylic and metal prints. With an emphasis on the natural world, I donate 1% of all my profits to 1% For The Planet to help ensure that our children inherit a healthy planet. To schedule an appointment, simply send me a message by visiting my contact page.