Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Blank Space is Not a Memorial!

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Better yet, what is this picture?

This is the north wall of a room in the Albuquerque Publishing Company headquarters.

It is the Ray Cary Auditorium.
Who was Ray Cary and why was the auditorium named for him?
Cary was an Albuquerque Journal photographer for many years.

You have met him here, and on the Blue Flyer; here Cary, center, is at a June 5, 1969, impromptu press conference with land grant activist Reies Lopez Tijerina, left during a convention that would end with the burning of U.S. Forest Service signs. Tijerina and his wife were arrested and convicted. He was sentenced to ten-years along with another conviction, yet spent a little over two-years in custody.

So What’s Wrong With This Picture?
I had heard about the room, but had never seen it. I had the opportunity to attend a day-long event in the auditorium last week. I was greatly disappointed. Though it is a state of the art presentation hall, with all the electronic bells and whistles, it was lacking.

The walls are bare. How could a room named in honor of a Journal photographer not have a single picture taken by him or of him to demonstrate why he is recognized?
Cary and I were not the best of buddies, but we were peers, contemporaries, and fierce competitors when it came news photography contests.
What may have been his most famous pictures were taken after the courthouse raid and appeared in a book by Peter Nabokov, “Tijerina and the Courthouse Raid.” 

The Smithsonian Institution has photographs in their museum of his coverage following the June 5, 1967, Rio Arriba County courthouse raid at Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico.

It is unfortunate that Journal Editor Kent Walz and Albuquerque Publishing Company Owner and Journal Publisher, Tom Lang, purportedly his friend, don’t go through the morgue and select eight or ten of Cary’s best work, print them, frame them, and hang them in the room.

It’s the least they could do as a real honor.

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