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Photographer’s Minute San Miguel Observations Reflect Earlier Training as Particle Physicist

En dos partes

la catrina

By Susan Santiago

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it,” a quote from landscape photographer Ansel Adams, could be a mantra for San Miguel de Allende photographer Thomas Humphrey.

“Photography is not a passive pushing of a shutter release to “capture” a scene,” says Humphrey. “It is a constellation of choices—before, during, and after the instantaneous use of a camera.”

Galería San Francisco is pleased to present an exhibition of the photographs of Thomas Humphrey, opening at the Fábrica Aurora on Saturday, September 7, from 5–7pm, the night of the Fabrica’s monthly Art Walk.

Humphrey now lives permanently in San Miguel with his wife, Susan Fiori, a lifelong artist. Humphrey, on the other hand, started his life path in physics. Physicists are trained to be “noticers,” a skill that would ultimately serve Humphrey well as a photographer. After a period of research in elementary particle physics, he opted for a career at The Exploratorium, a US public institution in San Francisco dedicated to the intermingling of science, art, and human perception. Humphrey arrived at The Exploratorium early in its history and was therefore able to help form its ethos. He also created a benchmark course called “Perception in Art and Science” for the San Francisco Art Institute. Before he became a photographer, he developed a series of minimalistic light sculptures exhibited in Ohio and California.

This minimalist approach is basic to his photography. If much of traditional two-dimensional art is about “drawing,” his work is about “with-drawing.”

“In order to make a photo, I must muck about until I see what I want it to be,” Humphrey says. “This involves the enhancing of what has registered to my eyes and pulling back on these elements that seem to distract from that vision. Simple enough, eh? All you have to do is ‘see’—so simple and yet so challenging. Seeing is the foundation of all art.”

For many years, Humphrey has enthusiastically responded to photographic events whenever they presented themselves, but retirement and his move to San Miguel have provided him with a new level of vitality. He has become fascinated and moved by Mexican culture—the textures, the rituals, and the devotion—but most of all by the people themselves.

San Miguel is home for Humphrey. This exhibit at Galería San Francisco is a celebration of four years of noticing and appreciating the people and essence of his adopted city.


Art Opening

The Photographs of Thomas Humphrey

Sat, Sep 7, 5–7pm

Galeria San Francisco

Fábrica Aurora, Local 3E

152 6699


The exhibition will be open until October 6


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