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Arts/Lit
 Jun 29 - Jul 5, 2017 
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Culture Shock

The Indomitable Minie Gonzalez

The enduring creative power of one irrepressible local photographer

By Maggie Grimason

Minie Gonzalez
Minie Gonzalez
Self-portrait by Minie Gonzalez, 2012
From the time she learned to work a camera to the last day she was able to hold one, Minie Gonzalez was taking photographs. She’s snapped thousands (many for the Alibi and other local publications during her career as a freelance photographer), a great number of them self-portraits that evidence profound creativity and innate talent working in tandem with great technical ability.

Four years ago Gonzalez was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis—a ferocious disease that affects the central nervous system. Two years later she moved to The Rio at Las Estancias, a South Valley live-in facility that offers transitional and long-term care for the elderly and those with chronic illness. Gonzalez had to quickly adapt to the change of landscape and—at the age of 27—life with the elderly. In her time at The Rio, she has turned her lens outward, capturing moving portraits of other residents and exploring their shared world, documenting instances of connection, joy and hardship.

This photo series was taken as Gonzalez began to lose function in her hands and arms; she is no longer able to lift her camera to illumine the world with her unique photographic eye. While the inability to practice her art is a felt absence for Gonzalez, her positivity is evident and she indicated that her spirituality deepens with each passing day. In this photographic essay, Gonzalez shares, as ever, the world as she sees it, framed and photographed as only she can do it.

A huge selection of Minie Gonzalez’ photographs are available in her online gallery at flickr.com/photos/minervana.

A resident and her son pose outside The Rio, 2016
Minie Gonzalez
A resident and her son pose outside The Rio, 2016

One resident celebrates her 100th birthday, 2016
Minie Gonzalez
One resident celebrates her 100th birthday, 2016
Minie and a friend offer one another mutual support, 2016
Minie Gonzalez
Minie and a friend offer one another mutual support, 2016
A resident and her daughter dancing, 2016
Minie Gonzalez
A resident and her daughter dancing, 2016
The Flying Eagle Dancers from Taos Pueblo perform for residents at The Rio, including a family member, 2016
Minie Gonzalez
The Flying Eagle Dancers from Taos Pueblo perform for residents at The Rio, including a family member, 2016
And still the occasional self-portrait. Minie, 2016
Minie Gonzalez
And still the occasional self-portrait. Minie, 2016
 
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