Landscape photographer Steven Bundy specializes in rural, rustic, and vintage Americana images. His work has been featured at the Old Pass Gallery in Raton, NM, and the Ordover Gallery at the San Diego Museum of Fine Art, among many others, and has received such accolades as “3rd Place Honor of Distinction” at the 2013 International Photography Masters Cup. Santa Fe Creative Tourism is proud to present Steven Bundy Photo Tours, full and half-day tours in and around northern New Mexico. For more information, please visit stevenbundy.com or santafecreativetourism.org.
A Different Side of Americana: Photography Tours with Steven Bundy
by Luke Fannin
New Mexico photographer Steven Bundy has been taking pictures for more than 40 years, since receiving his first Pentax, a gift from a friend returning from Vietnam. Though he worked primarily in film most of that time, in 2005 he realized his civil engineering background, which included over 20 years of computer experience, made him well-suited to digital photography, and since trying it out has never looked back. Primarily self-taught, Mr. Bundy went from taking photography workshops to teaching them (and even partially owning a photography workshop group) in a very short period of time, and now uses that experience in leading his own private photography tours of Northern New Mexico.
If Mr. Bundy has a photographic specialty, it could probably be best described as rural Americana: old buildings, rusted out cars, beat-up signs, and classic Route 66 images. “People always ask me what kind of photographer I am,” he says, searching for a way to describe himself. “If I see it and I like it, that’s it. I don’t like portrait photography, or really anything in the studio. I love being out on the back roads of … anywhere. That’s why I love New Mexico — there’s so many back roads.” Mr. Bundy grew up in Indiana and spent much of his adult life in San Diego. Getting out on the back roads in the midwest, or California’s Central Coast, he says, is much like getting out on the back roads of any other place. The overwhelming nostalgic appeal of his work, coming out of a background which nearly spans the country, is a testament to the little things — simultaneously quintessential and quaint — that unite our otherwise vast and diverse nation.
Mr. Bundy also manages his own photo blog, which provides his followers a slightly more casual, informal perspective on his work. His running commentary on his latest images is often as insightful as it is candid: among many other things, Mr. Bundy describes how the image of an old Ford Thunderbird (seen above), which he’d driven by regularly for several years, finally came together for him, or the thought that went into weeks of planning for his shot of this past June’s “super moon.” It’s easy to imagine these weekly updates as a small taste of the personalized insights one could expect to find in his photography tours.
And Mr. Bundy’s photography tours are nothing if not personal. He usually only takes out one or two people at a time, and their itinerary is based entirely on the students’ desires. “I find out what their interests are, what movies they’ve seen,” he explains. “I like to take them out on some of the back roads, show them areas there’s no way they’d ever find on their own.” Mr. Bundy’s artistic pursuits in photography have always been much more than technical or academic. Though he certainly takes the time to teach his students the basics of photographic composition and how to use their camera, it’s clear his personal, artistic interests extend to his efforts as a teacher and guide of photography tours. “Everyone who has done it has had a blast,” he says. “It’s a very personalized experience. We get to be friends.”
Santa Fe Creative Tourism is a project of the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission. If you would like to take a workshop with Steven Bundy, or another of our 200+ artists, check out our calendar. Artists and organizations: click here to list your workshops and other arts-related events, or to be a featured artist on our blog.
Related: Five Questions with Steven Bundy