Photographer and gallerist Pilar Law had to move last winter, but it has mostly been a good change. Previously, she lived in and ran her Edition One Gallery from an adorable house on Canyon Road, but when the owners—who swore they'd never move back to Santa Fe—moved back to Santa Fe, she was forced to head up the road a bit. You'll now find Edition One just behind Geronimo in a 200-year-old house that resembles a church, but reportedly never was one. Law says she's making the best of it.
"The new space is breathtaking," she says. Not bad for an artist who only moved back to Santa Fe three years ago. Law had been living in California and Kansas—but, when it came down to it, she says, her mother and siblings called Santa Fe home, and she wanted to be nearer to them.
Law, of course, cut her teeth in the photo world by simply being around it. Her mother is Lisa Law, celebrated and iconic rock photographer and owner of Silver, that hippie bus you'll see parading around town for special events. But though the younger Law had a natural talent for photography and an enviable level of access to it, she says she spent a number of years away from the camera. She chose instead to work in the world of rock music, managing bands or working as a production assistant for Bill Graham in San Francisco. The jewel of her resume, however, could be a spot on the production team for Woodstock 1999.
By 2006, however, Pilar was back in the world of photography, working for labs and darkrooms and kicking off her own series of photos dubbed Soft, wherein still life and landscape subjects were shot out of focus, creating softer lines and impressionist, painting-like compositions.
"I think I just needed something soft in my life at that time; I was so used to seeing things in sharp focus that I wanted to blur the lines," she says. "But I also saw the writing on the wall and I knew people would need to convert from analog to digital."
It's easy to forget now, what with that incredibly nice camera that probably lives in your pocket—but in 2006, cell phone photography was in its early days. Still, Law says, amateur shooters were looking more and more for labs that would print their phone shots. This trend has of course died down some—when was the last time you printed your phone's photos?—and Law predicts a renaissance of sorts for good old-fashioned photography.
"The ubiquity of photography was diluting the artistry of photography," she says. "I've wanted people to remember a photograph is a print on paper that people can still appreciate, collect and value as an art form."
And that's the underlying ethos of Edition One. Law has hosted numerous shows there over the last three years, most notably selections from Oregon-based juried photography show Photolucida (presented by a nonprofit of the same name) for which Law serves as an annual juror, and the upcoming second iteration of her own Hail, Hail Rock 'n' Roll. Think of it like a condensed though a deceptively packed overview of a golden age of rock—years where The Doors stood inside the Morrison Hotel, Bob Dylan was but a lad, Pigpen of the Grateful Dead was still alive and well-ish and Devo was in its infancy. Last year's show hosted six photographers; this year's boasts eight.
"I'm going to say we might have 50 photographs," Law says, conducting calculations in her head. "Yeah. 50, I think."
Shooters this year include heavy-hitters of rock photography, including Glen Wexler, Bob Seidemann, Yvette Roman, Henry Diltz, William Coupon and, of course, Lisa Law and Santa Fe transplant (and first-ever official Rolling Stone photographer) Baron Wolman. Law is particularly excited about the inclusion of Eventyr, a fantastic UK photographer who has rarely, if ever, shown in the United States, and who was around and shooting in the early days of Black Sabbath.
There's something to be said for the eras being represented in the show, not least of which is some smarmy diatribe about how pop music will never—no, never—be more electric or alive or groundbreaking as it once was, but the history alive in the photos we've seen is palpable. Law herself is like an encyclopedia on all of them, from the story behind the controversial 1969 Blind Faith album cover to the real deal when it comes to Loverboy's Get Lucky.
Hail, Hail Rock 'n' Roll would be worth a perusal just for its visuals alone, but do yourselves a favor and find out exactly who Pilar Law is, sidle up to her at the opening and ask her, politely: "What can you tell me about this photo?"
Hail, Hail Rock 'n' Roll
5 pm Friday Sept. 7. Free.
Through Oct. 19. Edition One Gallery,
728 Canyon Road,