Katherine Ware, Curator of Photography
Pilot, photographer, professor, poet: Anne Noggle (1922-2005) was a woman of many talents. Noggle didn’t begin her career as a photographer until she was forty-three, but quickly gained recognition with her witty and honest work. By 1982, she had received a Guggenheim Fellowship and she later received three National Endowment for the Arts awards and an honorary doctorate from the University of New Mexico. She was the first curator of photography here at the New Mexico Museum of Art, serving from 1970-1976, while also working as an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico.
One of Noggle’s most significant contributions to the field of photo history was the show she organized with San Francisco Bay Area photographer Margery Mann, Women of Photography: An Historical Survey. The exhibition -- which premiered in San Francisco in 1975, before traveling to this museum and then to Milwaukee and Wellesley, Mass. -- was a groundbreaking survey of women’s contributions to the medium from its inception up to the 1970s. The accompanying book became an important reference and an inspiration for young artists.
Noggle, who had served as a U.S. Airforce captain before turning to photography, also wrote and illustrated For God, Country, and the Thrill of It (1983), a book about women Air Force pilots in World War II. Noggle is known for her portraiture, especially of the elderly, and her self-portraiture, including pictures of herself recovering from a facelift and nudes made when she was in her seventies. A gathering after the death of her uncle stimulated her interest in portraits.
“I looked up at these people and saw their faces, and I loved what I saw. I saw beauty in their expressions and in the people they were,” the artist told reporter Beth Castro of the New Mexico Lobo (Oct. 11, 1989). Asked about her self-portraits, Noggle said, “People tell me that the photographs of me are not in any way flattering. They are not meant to be. They are supposed to be real.” (interview with Anne Wilkes Tucker, Art Journal, 1993).
The museum is pleased to have in its collection a group of seventy of the artist’s photographs. Vertical Stance is included in the 2010 exhibition Sole Mates: Cowboy Boots and Art exhibition. For more images of Noggle’s work, see the book Silver Lining: Photographs by Ann Noggle (1983).
(above) Vertical Stance (from the series Earthbound - plate 26), 1979. Anne Noggle. Chromogenic print; 12 7/8 x 9 inches. Collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art. Gift of Patrick Nagatani, 2008 (2008.46)