Herbert Lotz, a gifted portraitist noted for his candid shots of military life in Viet Nam during the late ’60s into the ’70s, has lived in New Mexico for decades. His day job as an art photographer put him in close contact with many of the bigger names in the local art world. For this exhibition, Lotz pulled from the past: A series of images of a community’s younger selves dominates the walls at Dwight Hackett projects—images of alter egos that expose raw sex appeal, eager hopefulness, and the direct engagement between two human beings in which the artist finds himself, a clear reflection of his subject. Paradoxically, Lotz used the camera to disengage from the fact of being a soldier in Viet Nam; here, the artist is quite empathic with the men and women he photographed over the years.
One portrait, that of the late ceramist Rick Dillingham, is outstanding for its straightforwardness. Taken in 1990, four years before the artist’s death from AIDS, Dillingham wears a white shirt and gazes downward—a seated, rather than slumped, crucifixion. Bearded and balding, there is something beatific in his attitude, a sweet and saintly tenderness. At the same time, Lotz presents Dillingham as all man, his potter’s hands strongly articulated against the white of his shirt.