Santa Fe's Monroe Gallery presents 'Good Trouble' taking a look at the impact of activists

August 7, 2023 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography

 Via The Albuquerque Journal

Kathaleen Roberts

August 6, 2023

black and white photograph of a young woman Union organizer on a step stool giving a speech to office workers on the lunch break in New York's Wall Street area, 1936
Carl Mydans/Life Picture Collection
A Pioneer Organizer Of The Office Workers' Union, Wall Street and Broad Street, NYC, 1936

Many of America’s most cherished rights materialized because someone took action.

“Good Trouble,” an exhibition of more than 50 photographs documents the power of the individual to inspire movements at Santa Fe’s Monroe Gallery of Photography.

Photographs can propel passion and inspire change, from the images of a spinning Gandhi to the Standing Rock protests.

The photographs document Civil Rights leaders as well as other lesser-known and everyday people who champion freedom across the globe, from labor to social to environmental issues.

“It’s showing the courage and the necessity for the everyday person to stand up for what’s right,” said Sidney Monroe, gallery co-owner.

The images extend from the 1930s to the present.

Life magazine photographer Carl Mydans captured an office workers’ union protest in 1936. An unidentified woman leads the group cradling an American flag. Mydans was known for his World War II photographs.

“Obviously, she is a young leader of a union,” Monroe said. “For a woman at that time, that’s pretty remarkable.”

The photographer Bill Eppridge, best known for his photographs of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, took a portrait of the labor leader César Chávez working in a field in 1974.

Chávez was an American labor leader and Civil Rights activist. He co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers labor union. Ideologically, his world-view combined leftist politics with Catholic social teachings.

“It’s presented as an everyman, a worker, which of course, he was,” Monroe said.

The collection also encompasses contemporary risk-takers, such as Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg, pictured sitting alone, dwarfed by the shadow of the Swedish Parliament building. Her sign reads “School Strike for Climate.” She was 15 years old.

“It’s become a worldwide movement,” Monroe said. “Apparently, they had some lessons in school, and she said if these parents and adults aren’t going to do anything, I’ll sit outside Parliament.”

Ryan Vizzions’ photograph of the Tennessee Three documents the three state representatives who were expelled from the legislature for protesting Republican inaction on gun violence. The shot captures a press conference after they were reinstated.

Gandhi, perhaps more than any other person, embodies the exhibition’s theme of a long-term commitment to a cause. His spinning in the face of provocations during India’s anti-colonial movement was symbolic of self-sufficiency. He spun daily for one hour beginning at 4 a.m. Famed photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White shot the portrait shortly before Gandhi was assassinated.

“Gandhi was very particular about having an audience with him,” Monroe said. “He insisted she learn how to use a spinning wheel. She wrote Gandhi called her his personal tormentor because she was using this large flash. It was disruptive to his meditation.”

The exhibition will hang through Sept. 17.


WHERE: Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar Ave., Santa Fe

WHEN: Runs through Sept. 17

INFORMATION: 505-992-0800;

screenshot of article page in Albuquerque print edition

Tags: activists Civil Rights freedom labor rights photography exhibits protest