In 2008, Taylor received a Guggenheim Fellowship for his ongoing examination of the U.S.-Mexico border. His work is focused on about 260 obelisks that mark the international boundary from El Paso/Juarez to San Diego/Tijuana. The monuments - striking objects set in impossibly gorgeous and difficult terrain - were installed between 1892 and 1895.
Patrol agents often refer to their job in the field as "line work," an apt description of Taylor's own time as he documented the obelisks, along the way earning remarkable access to U.S. Border Patrol facilities, agents and routine operations. Being on the line gives Taylor a unique view into overlapping issues of border security, the smuggling of people and drugs, the continuing construction of the border fence, and its impact on the land. His book captures the complexity of the terrain, politics and human dynamics. His images, documentary in nature, are formally and visually compelling.
Taylor will sign copies of the book and participate in a discussion with these panelists:
Paul F. Wells, a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol.
David J. Garcia, a member of the Tohono O'Odham Nation (whose ancestral lands span the U.S./Mexico Border) and the Chukut Kuk District, which fronts the international boundary.
Hannah Frieser, a photographer, book artist, and curator whose essays are included in Working the Line.
Darius Himes, acquiring editor at Radius Books, a nonprofit publisher of books on photography and the visual arts he founded with three colleagues in 2007.
David Chickey, a founding member of Radius Books.
Mary Anne Redding, curator of photography at the New Mexico History Museum.
Taylor, an associate professor at New Mexico State University, teaches photography and exhibits his photographs, installations and artist's books nationally. His work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Washington State Arts Commission, El Paso Museum of Art and Fidelity Investments. For more on Taylor and his work, go to www.dtaylorphoto.com.
Radius Books will sell copies of Working the Line at the event for $50. A signed, limited-edition copy with a signed print in a folio will also be available for $800.
Photo above: Border Monument 4, 2007. 24x31 Archival Inkjet Print. Copyright David Taylor. This and other high-resolution photographs, including a photo of Taylor, are available upon request.
Phone number for publication: 505-476-5200
Media contact: Kate Nelson
New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors
(505) 476-1141; cell: (505) 554-5722