For Gus Foster and his camera, there are no limits. At least that’s the idea. Since 1976, Foster has been taking awe-inspiring, panoramic photographs of Northern New Mexico (along with areas in Utah, Arizona, California, and throughout the Southwestern United States.) These sweeping images break free of the boundaries of the camera frame, with prints often stretching across entire walls. Numerous images are seamlessly juxtaposed to create Foster’s art and combined with the high-definition quality of the images, the end result puts viewers as close to the wide-open expanses of Northern New Mexico as possible without actually being there.
No stranger to the Taos art scene, Foster is once again exhibiting his panoramic shots of Northern New Mexico at the Harwood Museum, where he has been involved on various levels for decades. The exhibit, Gus Foster: Panoramic Photographs of Northern New Mexico will be featured at Harwood from Oct. 23, 2021 to Apr. 17, 2022. This isn’t Foster’s first show, or his first show at Harwood Museum, in fact he has been a leader in working to expand the Harwood facility for years, but this show gives the artist a chance to share his love letter to his adopted home.
According to the Harwood Museum release, “Gus Foster: Panoramic Photographs of Northern New Mexico includes works beginning from the artist’s first years in Taos in the 1970s working with antique panoramic Cirkut cameras using black and white film, and moves through the 1980s-2000s when he began using cameras with new technology, color film, a unique enlarger for the large negatives, and a custom color darkroom of his own design and fabrication for 16-foot long photographic prints.
The exhibition concludes with Foster’s recent digital camera work, no longer panoramic in format, but still exploring themes of time and space.”
Foster has been focusing his craft on panoramic photography since the 1970s, and though he has tried different media, the way the landscape lent itself to wide-angle photography was too perfect to pass up.
He has always loved art. From finger paints as a child, all the way to graduating from Yale University in 1963 with a bachelors degree in art history, he has been consumed by his love of humanity’s creative pursuits. His career in art is not a fluke or a whim; it is a craft he has concentrated on and gained experience in for the last half century.
After Yale, Foster became the curator of prints and drawings at the Minneapolis Museum of Art. After 10 years there, he decided to strike out on his own. He packed his bags and moved to Los Angeles, California to set up his own photography studio. His travels continued until 1976, when a trip to Northern New Mexico stole his heart. He moved to Taos and has been sharing his love of the region ever since.
Though a somewhat reclusive artist, Foster is still very involved in the Taos community. Through his work with local artists and his efforts to expand the Harwood Museum, Foster has shown his love of this land both on the proverbial canvas and off. And because his work is displayed around the world, including in the Smithsonian, he is one of Taos’ brightest stars and best ambassadors.
Gus Foster makes his art from 5” x 25” negatives. Though they can range in size, and posters are available at his store, gusfoster.com, some of the photos can be as large as 36’ x 144.” Specialized equipment is sometimes needed to mount them. To that point, Foster has had to invent some of his own equipment in order to take and develop some of his photos.
Gus Foster is an amazing photographer, sure, but that isn’t the only skill required to do what he does. Because his art captures remote and often hard to access regions of the world, Foster has spent a lifetime learning survival skills and has become a well-known member of the mountaineering community.
Gus Foster is known most for his work exhibiting the natural beauty of the American Rockies. But he has much more in his portfolio than that.
We once documented his 300-mile trek along the Tokaido Road in Japan. He has a Time Photography series in which he uses a .35mm Globuscope camera, which makes a 360-degree revolution in .8 seconds and allows him to capture a split second moment in life.
Gus Foster: Panoramic Photographs of Northern New Mexico, Oct 23, 2021- Apr 17, 2022, Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux St. harwoodmuseum.org
Check out Foster’s newest exhibit at the Harwood Museum this fall. His photo book can also be purchased on Amazon or by visiting his site, gusfoster.com.