"Love of Learning" - Love in the Archives 2023

Life-long Learning: The Ruth Apodaca Photography Collection

Learning is an activity that one should be involved with throughout their whole life.  Some people find activities that help them relax.  Some find joining with others makes the process of learning that much more enjoyable.  Ruth Fornoff Apodaca used to live in Northeast Albuquerque.  She worked in secretarial, survey and marketing jobs, and loved taking photographs.  She belonged to the Bear Canyon and Palo Duro Camera Clubs in Albuquerque.  Some of the members of the photo clubs were retired from former careers, too.  They made day and overnight trips to many locations in New Mexico and a few in Arizona, taking photos, collecting brochures and enjoying the outings.  Here is a peak at their travels.


Camera group at San Rafael Church, near La Cueva, Salman Ranch, North of Las Vegas. Volunteers repairing church, French Gothic style, built 1860s, last used in 1950s.  September 1994 (Apodaca Album 1).


In 2022, Apodaca moved out of state.  That year she donated four scrapbooks of club trip photographs taken from 1995-2000 to the CSWR.  Her CSWR collection number is PICT 2022-008.  It contains 1,471 images.  She also donated scrapbooks of photographs of Albuquerque murals and art work to the Albuquerque Public Arts Program.  Several of her photographs won prizes in local contests. 

Included in her CSWR albums are images from Abiquiu, Albuquerque, Bland, a Caprock ranch, Chaco Canyon, Chloride, Corrales, Eaves Ranch, El Morro, El Rito, Jemez Pueblo, Kelly, La Cueva, Las Golondrinas, Las Vegas, Madrid, Maxwell, Mogollon, Monument Valley and Navajo National Monument, Mora, Santa Clara Pueblo, Santa Fe, Tent Rocks, White Oaks and Zuni Pueblo.


Tour of Caprock Creek Ranch, San Jon, New Mexico, a long-awaited adventure dream of Ruth’s.  Here the group is watching the ranch crew at the iron holding cattle pen used for branding, ear tagging, vaccination and sometimes castrating.  April 1998 (Album 3).


Camera group at Monument Valley, 1997, (Album 2).  Ruth is second on the left.


Besides seeing the beautiful landscapes, they took a tour with a Navajo guide who drove them to the hogan of Mrs. Yazzie, a weaver who demonstrated the Navajo techniques of spinning wool (Album 2).


Apodaca’s photos captured a variety of topics from landscapes and rock formations, to forests, flowers, horses and wildlife.  They also feature exterior and interior views of historic buildings, mines, mills, and museums, as well as people visiting or working there.  Most images are in color, but some are black and white by design.  Occasionally she named the club members who were on a trip.  She used a Minolta camera for most of her work, wrote comments for many of the images and often included brochures and newspaper clippings for more background about the sites. 



Visit to Pueblo of Zuni furniture workshop.  Craftsmen making ponderosa pine children’s furniture in Spanish Colonial style but decorated with Zuni fetish figures. August 1995 (Album 1).


Among the most extensive and interesting of her photos are those taken at the Zuni Pueblo tribal art center, at Hillsborough, at the La Cueva Historic District in Mora County and at Las Golondrinas.  Some of these locations have changed over the years and her work documents how they appeared in past decades.  The photos go beyond the tourist view and are good representations of many locations in the state in the 1990s.  The collection is an important addition to New Mexico visual history.  Apodaca and the club members just enjoyed traveling, taking pictures and learning about New Mexico - and now we can learn from their experiences, too.

Ruth Apodaca

Ruth Apodaca, Tent Rocks, New Mexico, November 1997 (Album 3).