Exhibit looks at the Rio Grande through photography and haiku - Albuquerque Journal

Exhibit looks at the Rio Grande through photography and haiku

A photograph of the Rio Grande by Clarke Condé. (Courtesy of Clarke Condé)

Clarke Condé’s photography speaks volumes without him uttering one word.

Yet, there are times, when the small amount of words he puts together, make an impact.

This is one of the many reasons the Albuquerque-based photographer wanted to present “Thoughts on the Rio Grande in Photographs and Haiku.” The exhibit has an opening reception from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, at the Open Space Visitor Center Gallery, 6500 Coors NW. The exhibit will run through April 19.

Condé has worked on the project since 2015.

He’s often inspired by the Rio Grande’s beauty and has whittled the work down to 15 prints.

Albuquerque-based photographer Clarke Condé. (Courtesy of Clarke Condé)

“It’s always difficult to make those decisions,” he says. “There was a lot to choose from. The selection process was time sensitive. If I would present this three months from now, I might pick another 15 pieces.”

Condé says the photographs are of the Rio Grande, primarily through Albuquerque.

“This series explores the great river and its surroundings as it passes through the ever-expanding city of Albuquerque,” he says. “This is a place where the needs of its people compete with the needs of the plants and animals that rely on its waters for life itself.”

Condé simplifies the complex interplay between the city and the river with his haiku.

“The Rio Grande

Developed beyond pristine

Pristine beyond use”

Condé believes the process of thinking in haiku guides his lens toward a vision of nature that is more ordered and reflective than it would be with a camera alone.

He says the exhibit is not a critical look at the Rio Grande.

“We simply take a moment to reflect on where we are in this place,” he says. “Through photographs bound to haiku, we immerse ourselves in the river as it passes through, leaving us with its past as we give it our future. All of that in just photographs and haiku.”

Condé is also releasing a book to accompany the exhibit on Saturday, Jan. 22.

He wanted to bring a different perspective to the Rio Grande through both projects.

“Albuquerque is unique in that it has a river running through it,” he says. “We haven’t it left it wild, but we haven’t developed it into something else. We have a river that runs through our city and it occupies a unique place. It’s pretty incredible. It’s such a peaceful respite that is always evolving. I hope that visitors take a moment to reflect on where we are in this place.”

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