Old Town photography gallery to bring New Mexico into focus

Jan. 29—Allen Bourne has a keen eye for photography.

As does Allen Morrison.

The photographers met in 2018 when Bourne signed up for a Bisti Wilderness photo tour that Morrison was leading.

That one event has led into a friendship, which has turned into a business partnership, as the pair opened Land of Enchantment Photography Art Gallery in Old Town.

Bourne and his wife made the move from Houston to Placitas three months after meeting Morrison.

Bourne has always been interested in photography.

“I was in sixth grade and I was looking at Fortune magazine,” Bourne recalls. “It was a two-page spread. It was a blue background and it had three or four perfectly white eggs and one was cracked open. There were bright green keys coming out. It was an ad and the photography just caught my eye. It stuck with me and now I’m creating portraits like this.”

The idea to open a gallery in Old Town took some planning.

Morrison says in summer 2020, he joined an area photographer’s co-op gallery and found a market for not only his fine art photos, but other photo services.

“I knew Allen’s work, which tends towards the abstract, would complement mine, so I pitched him on opening a gallery of our own,” Morrison says. “He bought in to the business concept and we began looking for space.”

Talking to some Old Town retailers shortly after that, Bourne found out that the space in Patio Escondido might be coming available. Turns out it was, and the two Allens jumped on the opportunity.

Bourne says as the business name suggests, the focus will be on scenes of New Mexico, providing visitors with the opportunity to take home an affordable, yet unique visual reminder of their visit.

“We’ll also offer images that capture the broader spirit of the Southwest, as well as abstract work that goes beyond those borders,” Bourne says. “More importantly, we hope to make our historic spot in Old Town a source for local interior designers looking for unique works to enhance their clients’ living spaces, especially couples who have recently moved into northern New Mexico.’

Bourne hopes the gallery will also become a hub where local and visiting photographers come for ideas on how to enliven their own images.

“It’s about building and being part of the community,” Bourne says. “It’s important to keep communication open with other like-minded creative people.”

Inside the gallery, there are portraits of everything New Mexico — flora and fauna, as well as the Rail Yards in Downtown or landscape photography.

Morrison left a job in human relations to spend more time ballooning with his wife, Peggy Billson, who is also a safety director with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Bourne retired from a career in advertising and marketing. He is always carrying his camera with him.

“When I got hiking there are times I’m like, ‘Wow, look at that,’ ” Bourne says. “I’ll get inspiration from everything around me. For me, the next phase for me is how to combine other images that I have together. I’ve been trying to capture a moonrise over Cabezon Peak. So I’ve been watching that for the past couple of weeks.”

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Land of Enchantment Photography Art Gallery

WHEN: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday or by appointment; Regular hours will resume in March

WHERE: 404-A San Felipe St. NW, Old Town

INFORMATION: Visit landofenchantmentgallery.com

Robert G. Mull

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