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Light in the Desert Exhibit

Light in the Desert Exhibit photo 2/2/2015 12:32:04 p.m. - Hobbs, NM.  

In 1995, photographer Tony O’Brien began a year of living in the secluded Benedictine abbey of Christ in the Desert, in the Chama River Canyon Wilderness of New Mexico.  During his stay he was given rare access to photograph the rituals and daily activities at the monastery, many of which date back to the Middle Ages. 

Twenty of these reflective, reverent photographs will be on exhibit at the Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame, February 6 through April 19, 2015.  The public is invited to a special opening reception Friday, February 6 from 5:30pm - 7:30pm.

O’Brien initially went to the Monastery to seek solace and perspective, after being captured and imprisoned by the Afghan government while on assignment for Life magazine.  He became a practicing member of the community, using his camera as an instrument of contemplation and spiritual healing; the photographs reflecting the harsh beauty and austerity of the monastic life.

“The creative use of light in these black and white photographs is awe-inspiring,” says Dr. Darrell Beauchamp, Executive Director of the museum.  “You look at them and the feeling of understanding and introspection takes place.  Through O’Brien’s lens, we realize the depth of his healing and spiritual appreciation for the monastic life he came to love.”

The Benedictine monastery of Christ in the Desert is located about 75 miles north of Santa Fe, surrounded by miles of government-protected wilderness, thus assuring and promoting solitude and quiet.

For information: Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame:  575-492-2678.

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