News Column

Photography project collecting the many faces of New Mexico

May 18, 2014

By Martha Mauritson, Carlsbad Current-Argus, N.M.

May 18--CARLSBAD -- Before there was 575, there was 505 -- the number that was New Mexico's first and only telephone area code for many years.

Now a group of Albuquerque writers and photographers is using that iconic number for their latest project: a tour around the state seeking to "photograph and interview the diverse, unique and amazing people that call The Land of Enchantment home."

The results will become a book, "505 Faces" or perhaps "575 Faces," containing the stories of various New Mexicans painted in photography and in words. Ultimately, the collection will also be an online web series and a series of gallery showings around the state.

Head photographer is Wes Naman, well-known in Albuquerque and throughout the state thanks to his web site He has chosen to shoot this project in black-and-white, which many believe produces more artistic images than color.

The portrait artist has done three series that have garnered acclaim: a Halloween series, a grim Valentine's Day series and a collection of portraits of his friends with their faces wrapped in Scotch tape, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News. His work also has been profiled in The Guardian and on Huffington Post.

Head writer Steve Westman interviews the participants and writes their stories, along with a team of four other professional writers.

Traveling in a large RV coach and an automobile or two the project started out in Gallup on May 7.

Ten days and seven cities later, the caravan pulled into Carlsbad. After a day of getting organized, the project set up shop in the north parking lot at YellowBrix restaurant, courtesy of owners Dan and Barbara Rempel.

Traffic was slow Saturday, but that is something that has happened before.

Local resident Tom Kurimski was among the first to offer themselves as a subject. In his bright green panel truck and sharing the shaved ice treats he sells, Kurimski was a colorful character for writers and for the camera.

As the 2 p.m. closing time came and went, the project group was not dismayed.

"It happens," Westman said.

Instead, they made ready to leave for their next stop in Hobbs, where they will do it all over again on Sunday.

The road trip will finish up on May 31 in Santa Fe.

Anyone interested in following the progress of the 505 & 575 Faces can find the group on Facebook at


(c)2014 the Carlsbad Current-Argus (Carlsbad, N.M.)

Visit the Carlsbad Current-Argus (Carlsbad, N.M.) at

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Source: Carlsbad Current-Argus (NM)

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