was the late fall, or early winter of 1972, I sat on the floor
in the room across from the bar, drinking a Ginger ale. It was
a room about 20 feet by maybe 35 feet. On the door a sign said
Albuquerque Press Club.
Friday night and the regulars were all there. Also sitting on the
floor was the Journal's Photographer Ray Cary. He was a competent
photographer but he just shot a lot of film. He knew where to
stand when he photographed but, his timing was often off, just
of bicycle racer Stuart Bailey celebrating his victory
of a fifty-mile race with the final leg up the 10,678-foot
Sandia Crest on August 8, 1966 as it appeared in the Monday
morning Albuquerque Journal
were competitors; he and I had been such for over six years.
The weekend I had arrived in Albuquerque, at age 16, I had
taken a photograph of a bicycle racer who had won a fifty-mile
race up the 10,678-foot Sandia Crest east of the city. I
sold the picture to the Journal that ran it on the Sports
page in the Monday edition.
thought me a "kid" that day, but had grown
to find me a real "pain in the ass." Two years
in a row, 1969 and 1970, I had won the APE award for
best photograph in Albuquerque Press Club's Annual Gridiron
1971, the rules for the photo entries were changed by the
Press Club expanding from a single category, "Best
Photograph" to three categories; Best News, Feature,
and Sports Photograph. I had entered pictures that year,
but could not compete with the images entered by the competition
that included a news picture of a circus' tight rope act
falling from a high wire.
1972, I had been fired from the Albuquerque News, specifically
for publishing several photos that had upset the publisher,
E.J. Lewis. I took three of these photos and entered
them in the Albuquerque Press Club APE Awards Competition.
did not have a good hard News shot, however, won in the
Best Feature, and Sports Photograph categories.
didn't like the "kid" showing him up,
but I did on a regular basis. For
I had to. I worked for a weekly paper, the Albuquerque
News. I had a Monday deadline and it was on the
street Thursdays. Ray and I would often stand side
by side at the same event during the weekend and
shoot the same action. His picture would appear
in Saturday or Sunday editions and mine on Thursday.
The difference was that if mine were to have any
relevance, my photos had to be more telling and
both of us knew it.
was in a position to influence the Journal's editor to hire me,
but he wouldn't. He always thought that I handled people coldly.
The politics of the local press was pretty strong and he had some
clout just by being a "daily" photographer with the largest
newspaper in the state. Ray went on to be a golden boy for the
Journal's young publisher Tommy Lang. He went on to hold the title
of director of Special Projects.
Press Club was full of the late shift; the morning newspaper reporters
and the editors who did not have to wait for the late breaking
stories to come in. The reporters who had hurried their stories
to their editors and had gotten the nod were now pulling on their
favorite drink and telling each other how they had gotten someone
to say exactly what they wanted, to meet their own perception of
the story they had written. Television news cameramen and reporters
stood off in their own corner telling their own brand of war stories.
Then there were the hardcores. They were the hard drinking, cigar-chewing
old-timers; they were the "makers" of politicians and
knew everybody. They knew all the dirty little secrets of all the
important people in the state, but they weren't telling.
was clear headed, as usual. I delighted in engaging in banter with
the reporters and photographers. There were a few that I always
enjoyed sparring with, Cary and Ed Pennybacker in particular. Pennybacker,
was a crusty old radio news reporter who worked for the leading
rock and roll station in town. He was best known for the powerful
Oldsmobile 442 nicknamed "Big Red" that he drove. It
was equipped with multiple whip antennas to monitor police radios.
Pennybacker had called me "an angry young man"; I thought
it a compliment. Then there were the others with whom I just had
good conversation. There was Al Cabral, a photographer for the
Albuquerque Tribune, the afternoon daily. Al was always easy going
and couldn't be drawn into a heated discussion if his life depended
upon it. I never remember seeing him get worked up about anything,
until years later when he helped start a support group of men who
were trying to broaden parental rights for divorced men. Ed Marh
was an editor at the Journal; he had married one of the top reporters,
Jolleen Draper. Eric McCrossen was an Albuquerque Journal Editorial
writer and was always friendly.
older brother, Guy, was a college student at the University of
New Mexico. He worked on weekends as a photoengraver at the Albuquerque
Journal. On occasion, when some breaking story would be detected
over a police scanner or was called in by some citizen and no staff
photographer was in the office or darkroom, he would be sent out
to get some pictures. Such an occurrence happened on Sunday afternoon
of June 13, 1971, when a riot broke out in Roosevelt Park.
arrived late at the riot, unaware that the rioters had run police
officers out of the park. I failed to accurately assess the situation
and ran into the park where two police cars had been overturned
and rioters were trying to burn them. I photographed one rioter,
John Richard Maloof as he stuffed newspapers into a police car
and yelled for some one to give him some matches. When he saw me
taking his picture he told me to stop, but I took a portrait of
his hate and anger with a telephoto lens. He abandoned his arson
and began chasing me into the park. Between 50 and 100 people joined
him in pursuing me. My path was cut off and I had to stand my ground.
I swung my camera bag and the first pursuer went down, but I was
blind sided by the next person. That person knocked me down but
disappeared because, as I later found out, Guy had tried to come
to my rescue and had pulled this man off of me. In the instant
pause I was able to get the straps of my three cameras off of my
neck before they were pulled away from me. Both Guy and I took
severe beatings and were kicked by the crowd.
did not get any pictures that day and was attacked a second time
losing a fourth camera. Guy had several photographs in the June
14, 1971, Monday, Albuquerque Journal, illustrating the front page
article, by Gary Stone, headlined "Newsmen Pinned Down in
Fighting at Park" continued onto page A-5, headlined "Roosevelt
Park Rioting Newsmen Pinned Down."
had previously chastised me for arguing with the drunks at the
Press Club, especially with Frank Maestes,
one of the Journal's sports writers.
Guy said it wasn't fair , while I had stayed sober. I always
thought staying sober was an equalizer because I was so much younger
than these people were and in my eyes, their experience gave them
an advantage. Frank had always been friendly professionally, however
his opinions flowed freely when he got relaxed.
had started photographing in junior high school and had convinced
a sympathetic editor or two along the way that it was not the age
of the photographer that counted but the photograph. They would
pay between $7 and $15 for a print and run it. In high school,
while taking a journalism class, a reporter from the Albuquerque
News, J.D. Kailer, had come to the class looking for some stringers
to compete with a youth page that the Albuquerque Journal had put
together. Kailer needed writers, but was also willing to take on
a photographer to illustrate the writers' work. After a few months
working for the youth page I had succeeded in having my pictures
run on the front page. I left the youth page behind and became
a stringer of regular news.
McCaffery, the editor, was a hard but friendly man, who liked what
I saw and would use as much of what I photographed as I could give
him. He liked to make biting social comments to go along with my
pictures. We made quite a team. Then there was the publisher, Ed
Lewis. He had started his publishing business printing
business cards in his garage. Now he had a thriving business,
Newspaper Printing Corporation, publishing almost all the small
newspapers in the Albuquerque area and quite a few others from
the summer of 1969, I had approached Reies Lopez Tijerina, a militant
Spanish American land grant leader, with a proposal to photograph
his upcoming activities to raise awareness of his issues with the
intent of having the pictures distributed as widely as possible.
Several major newspapers and magazines had expressed an interest
in the project including the Denver Post and Life magazine.
had photographed Tijerina during an armed confrontation with U.S.
Forest Service Rangers and State Policemen, after Tijerina's wife,
Patsy, had burned a couple of Forest Service signs in northern
New Mexico. I sold my photographs several places; Associated
Press, the Albuquerque News, EL GRITO Del Norte and Newsweek. the
pictures were published in several other newspapers and also used
as evidence presented to two separate juries that convicted the
Ann Tijerina Hurls Bottled Gasoline at Burning Sign
had claimed that I could not testify against him because he had
a privileged relationship with me using the broad theory that Cary
espoused. I have never disagreed with the theory, it was that I
saw it a little differently than did Cary or Tijerina. The theory
most journalists believe in is meant to protect people who come
forward, "off the record," with information which someone
else is trying to keep secret. The exposure of the source of the
concealed information risks retaliation, firing, harassment or
physical violence for revealing the details. Not protecting a confidential
source, I agree, is a breach of both personal and professional
ethics. I had photographed Tijerina, along with his family and
followers, in their public activities openly with their knowledge.
eldest son, Reyes Hugh Jr., was also charged with his father. He
tried to gain control of my negatives by asking me to give them
to him. Reyes Hugh Jr. was not invoking the theory, he just saw
the existence of the photographs that showed what happened as threatening
to any fabricated defense. No one had ever asked me to keep anything
secret until the time of the court hearing when Reies Tijerina
raised the issue of trying to keep the recordings of the things
he did in public from being introduced at trial. Tijerina's actions
had also been seen by many other people and they placed him at
risk of going to prison. It was the existence of my photographs
that most threatened his freedom.
was just prior to the first court proceedings, a bond hearing,
that he tried to invoke the theory. There never was any kind of
privilege established or even discussed. None had been asked for,
nor could an off the record status been granted photographically.
It can not be done, because knowingly allowing a photograph is
inconsistent with protecting people "off the record."
had argued with me that I should have resisted a subpoena from
the United States Attorney and defendants in the case. He expressed
the journalistic academic theory that responding to the legal request
would make it more difficult for the media to gain the trust of
people to speak to the press without the fear of what they said
being turned over to the government.
personal thought on being a journalist was from the perspective
of a freelancer. Photographers who are employed by a major media
outlet have a level of security and financial protection. They
also have to accept the rules set out by their employers that dictate
the standards that the media outlet has adopted. These rules are
sometimes considered as ethical standards to be strictly followed.
Where these ethical lines are drawn is subject to debate for those
who are not forced into adopting such academic "standards" of
individual and collective media.
view of being a journalist is that I try to tell or show people,
who were not at the events that I was at, what happened, as I saw
them. In the formal governmental world, I consider juries as part
of the people. If a federal prosecutor or a defense counsel wanted
the pictures to use as evidence. I viewed these requests as just
another opportunity to tell the story of what had happened. Both
prosecutors and defense counsels subpoenaed my photographs. I testified
in response to subpoenas independently sent from both sides.
and I got into an ongoing and extended discussion about police.
He contended that the police engaged in brutality on a system wide
level. He thought that the police leadership not only condoned
brutality, but encouraged and tolerated it.
took the opposing view.
said that he bet that it was true and I responded that, even though
not a betting man, I would wager one dollar that he was wrong.
photographing police officers over several years had led me to
believe that there were occasional incidents of brutality by individual
officers. I had heard officers talk about their fellow officers
who had been involved in using force. Comments included those to
the effect that officers "thundered" criminal suspects
and that there was "street justice" indicating that force
had been used. Officers do not speak in terms of brutality because
the word does not have the same meaning to police as it does to
questioned how I would go about proving the point? Having always
taken an active approach to such questions, I said I would probably
have to become an officer to observe the inner workings of a law
enforcement agency to determine if brutality was systemic. I was,
at the moment, not working full time for a newspaper and was freelancing.
I was willing to change occupations and my original thought was
that I would go into law enforcement for a year, make my observations,
then re-approach my photographic and journalistic career.
would take the next 28 years for me to draw an accurate conclusion.
I joined the Prince Georges' County (Maryland) Sheriff's Department
in July 1973 and served for three years. I joined the Albuquerque
Police Department in June of 1976 and served until December of
was involved in, observed and heard incidents of force that were
alleged to be acts of police brutality. There were some that I
thought constituted actual acts of police brutality. Every time
that I thought that the system was protecting an officer from one
of these real acts of brutality, some official act acknowledging
that an inappropriate use of force had been discovered, investigated
and dealt with would surface. Several times such acts were minimized
to protect either an individual or group of officers, but ultimately
at least some action was taken. On other occasions more severe
action was taken involving suspension, firing and even criminal
charges being filed.
had heard that Caryß was ill, but no one was able to tell
me any of the details of his illness.
1995 Cary was found dead in his home.
I determined that acts of police brutality could be systemic, though
I only documented one case. That is another story (found elsewhere
on this site). I reluctantly would owe Ray a dollar, if he were
Journal Photographer Ray Cary with Stevie Rhodes,
a fellow Albuquerque Press Club member and
graphic artist for the University of New Mexico, at
the Grand Opening of the Downs of Santa Fe, June 10, 1971.
Cary is waving to a friend of theirs in the grandstand