Janet Russek: The Neighborhood
August - October, 2013
On view at the Jean Cocteau Theater
The Barrio de Guadalupe
The area was one of Santa Fe’s Spanish Colonial neighborhoods. Its name derives from the Guadalupe Church, licensed in 1795 by the Bishop of Durango. According to the Santa Fe Historical Neighborhood Study, published by the city in 1988, “the 1823 census and tax returns listed 57 families in the Barrio de Guadalupe; the most common occupations were farmer and laborer, with a scattering of masons, cobblers, tailors, shepherds and silversmiths.
Santa Fe on Foot
The Barrio de Guadalupe area encompasses the neighborhood running from the Guadalupe Church on Guadalupe Street bordered by Alameda Street on one side, Agua Fria in the middle, and Paseo de Peralta on the other, ending at St. Francis Drive. There were once small farms here during Spanish Colonial times. Later, during the heyday of the railroads, it was the commercial hub of the city. The houses found here now are some of the oldest in Santa Fe, as this neighborhood grew out from the historic Plaza district. The Guadalupe Barrio is truly a neighborhood where you know and care for your neighbors.
In 1980 I moved from Brooklyn, New York to Santa Fe. Searching for a place to live I felt an immediate connection with the area, and so with my family moved into the Guadalupe Barrio, and, at the same time I started Scheinbaum & Russek, a gallery of photography on Don Felix Street with my husband David Scheinbaum. Having come from Brooklyn, NY where gentrification was slowly taking over neighborhood by neighborhood, I recognized that Santa Fe was on the brink of change. It was growing rapidly with many people like myself moving here, embracing the culture. Santa Fe was especially a draw for photographers with its reputation for both welcoming artists and the very special “light” that Santa Fe is known for.
I recognized that I was part of the change and I started photographing. My first images were of the houses and streets. I hadn’t considered photographing the people in the neighborhood until one day a young girl of 7 years came to the gallery door and asked if I could take her picture. She knew we had something to do with photography and she wanted to send a photograph of herself to her siblings so they could see how she had grown. She touched my heart immensely. Thus began a wonderful journey of photographing the children in the neighborhood. I had a little wooden bench on our porch backed by an adobe wall. It became the perfect outdoor studio, along with the many wooden fences and backyards.
These photographs were first exhibited when the Jean Cocteau Theater opened in 1983. . It is hard to believe so many years have gone by, yet I am reminded of it when I see the children I photographed who are now in their 30’s and early 40’s. The houses and streets look somewhat the same and the feeling of a close-knit neighborhood is still there. I am grateful for the time I lived there.
I am pleased to see the Jean Cocteau opening after all these years thank to the efforts of George R. R. Martin and Jon Bowman and honored to have these images exhibited here again.