New Mexico Art Tells its History

Kin Ketro, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Kin Ketro, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, 1977
Eliot Porter (American, 1901 - 1990)
dye transfer print, 10 1/4 x 8 1/8 in. (26 x 20.6 cm) (image)
Gift of John Rubel, 1985
© 1990 Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

Eliot Porter was born in Winnetka, Illinois to a prosperous family. An amateur photographer since childhood, he photographed the natural surroundings of his family's summer home, Great Spruce Head Island, Maine. Although he received degrees in engineering and medicine, and taught biochemistry for ten years, he turned his hobby of photographing birds into a career. He switched to color photographic materials, working with a dye-transfer process and mastering its delicate multi-step printing techniques. This work encouraged widespread acceptance of color photographs as works of art. In the 1960s, he began a long-term collaboration with the Sierra Club to produce books focusing on the preservation of natural resources, and serving as a director of the Sierra Club from 1965 to 1971. Porter’s second book spurred federal reclamation of Western rivers, which ultimately led to passage of the Wilderness Act.

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