Nonprofit Plans to Make Nearly 20,000 Photos Available as an Online Resource

A nighttime scene of a crowded riverbank where people, illuminated by handheld lights, wade and gather in the water, with more spectators lining the shore.
“Crossing the Suchiate River” from the series La Caravana del Diablo © Ada Trillo • 2020 Me&Eve Award & 2021 Review Santa Fe Alum | 2024 Guggenheim Fellow

CENTER, a non-profit photography organization based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has received a $60,000 grant that it will use to make nearly 20,000 images and related text available as an accessible online resource.

The grant, which has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), will allow the nonprofit to upload and manage its huge archive of photos with the goal of preserving 21st-century photography. CENTER is one of 33 institutions — just 18% of total applicants — chosen to receive a grant from the Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program, which helps preserve and expand public access to important historical records and humanities collections.

CENTER says its collection is made up of in-depth, socially and environmentally focused “lens-based projects” that have been accumulated through its annual flagship program, The Review Santa Fe Symposium; it has been organizing this event since the year 2000. The collection also includes projects form photographers who received support through the nonprofit’s grants and awards.

A line of young girls wearing matching blue and white uniforms standing on stage, with a green curtain in the background, during a performance or presentation.
“Singers, Mangyondae Schoolchildren’s Palace” from the series Ideology in Paradise © Hiroshi Watanabe • 2006 & 2008 Review Sante Fe Alum

“As CENTER celebrates its 30th anniversary, we are excited to receive the NEH’s support as we begin planning to make our image collection searchable and accessible to the public,” CENTER’s executive director Laura Wzorek Pressley, who will lead Activating the Archive, says.

“Photo projects produced with CENTER’s support have responded to timely issues such as immigration and displacement, identity, citizenship, the human impact of environmental problems, the aftermath of violence and conflict. The goal of Activating the Archive is to design a website that will encourage the public to learn about photographers’ methods and how their images reflect the times in which they live.”

An old, dilapidated wooden house with peeling paint and boarded-up windows, set in a barren landscape under a foggy sky.
“Mannington, NJ” from the series Schools for the Colored © Wendel White • 2009 and 2016 Review Santa Fe Alum

CENTER says that the funding will support the design and testing of a website template and when it is done, it will showcase the tends of thousands of photos alongside captions, artists’ statements, scholarly analysis, and information about the technological, social, and cultural milestones of the 21st century reflected in the artists’ work.

Image credits: Photographs provided courtesy of CENTER