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Photographer captured moments of life throughout Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mid-20th century photographer Clarence Redman captured city life from high school science fairs to the Albuquerque Dukes.

The Albuquerque Museum is showing 24 prints by the commercial and freelance photographer.

State Fair queen contestants with Greer Garson, 1950. Digital reproduction of a gelatin silver print. Eleven New Mexico State Fair queen contestants stand with actress Greer Garson at the State Fairgrounds. The women pictured are, from left, Barbara Jean Mullins, Kathleen Merritt, Betty Fuqua, Unidentified, Iris Gaskill, Unidentified, Greer Garson, Barbara Robb, Veda Lou Branum, Martha Nayers, Rae Forrest, and Betty Jo Scott. Garson lived in New Mexico and attended the fair as an exhibitor of short-horn cattle. Gift of the New Mexico State Fair, Charlie Frelund.

Redman worked for newspapers, including the Albuquerque Journal, the Albuquerque Tribune and the Santa Fe New Mexican after moving to New Mexico from Alamosa, Colo., in 1928, the museum’s digital archivist Jillian Hartke said.

Two years after moving to Santa Fe, Redman landed in Albuquerque, where he became a leader in his field, first working for the Ward Hicks Advertising Agency. In 1933, he set up his own agency on Central Avenue. He worked as a commercial photographer for Kirtland Air Force Base during World War II.

Rich in context and period detail, the photographs include high school talent contests, an endless parade of building shots for the business publication Albuquerque First, New Mexico State Fair shots of grinning children with their prize livestock and wedding and graduation portraits.

High School students in science class, ca. 1960. Digital reproduction of gelatin silver print. Four high school students in Albuquerque work with two microscopes in a science class. Gift of Albuquerque Public Schools. (C.E. Redman/Photo)

Like any good photojournalist of the time, Redman carefully identified the people he photographed.

“These are not famous people, but it tells a cool story of what it was like in town,” Hartke said. “He didn’t set things up,'” she added. “He just shot what he saw.”

One image captures an Albuquerque Public Schools harmonica band in rehearsal. Another shows a swimsuit model gingerly pointing a toe into the water at Tingley Beach. Another frame shows contestants at a 1955 beauty pageant sponsored by J.C. Penney.

“I literally have thousands of pictures of APS,” Hartke added.

In 1952, Redman found himself on the other side of the lens in Life magazine. He stopped at a red light on the way to a wedding when he saw two flying saucers hovering over Tijeras Canyon. Life produced an article titled “Have We Visitors From Space?” highlighting 10 UFO sightings and asking the Air Force to examine them. Redman’s story boasted a second witness in a different part of the city.

“The Air Force said there was no record of aircraft at that time,” Hartke said.

By the 1950s, Redman was attending national conferences as the New Mexico delegate for commercial photographers. He died in 1970.