A local of New Mexico tries to determine individuals in 40-year-old photographs

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – An UNM alum is searching for people in photos taken across New Mexico decades ago. He recently developed the film that was given to him in the 1980s.

Forty years later, memories from New Mexico are shared. “It’s a window into another time,” said Robby Poore, who shares the film.

A native of Los Alamos, Poore was working as a lighting designer in Albuquerque in the 1980s when someone gave him a can of film. “I did psychedelic lighting, that is, I used film strips,” he said. “You said you might want to use this on one of your art projects or the Strawberry Zots light show.”

Poore never used the film, but he kept it anyway. “About 60 rolls of film packed in this thing. And there are pictures of people. I couldn’t throw it away, ”he said.

Poore, who now lives in North Carolina, decided to take advantage of the extra time at home during the pandemic to scan the photos. From the Rio Grande Valley to movie sets to friends having dinner, photographs highlight New Mexico’s beautiful scenery, culture, and people from the 1970s and 1980s.

“They don’t look at cell phones. They all talk. Many of them smoke and drink and eat. It’s a fascinating insight. It’s a time capsule, ”said Poore. “We kind of forgot about those times … I’m not going to say it was easier, but it was a time that was very different from now and I miss a little bit of it.”

He tries to find out the story of the people he is photographing, sometimes creating his own in the process. “I have no idea what they’re doing, so I’ll make up a narrative. And I’m going to write kind of funny about it, ”said Poore. “There is a woman named ‘Lady In Blue’. I don’t know who she was, she’s in several … There’s a guy named Captain Cool. He had a cool mustache and he had a sailboat. “

Poore now turns to the new in order to connect the old. He creates a Facebook page called The Unknown Metal Box where he uploads the photos in hopes of sharing the memories with the people who lived them.

“I would like to return these photos to the photographer, or at least to the people in the photos,” he said. Since its inception, a daughter of a couple whose wedding photos were posted has identified her parents.

“She said it was the missing film role that they didn’t have from that wedding,” he said. “I’m blown away. That’s amazing.” Now he prints out the photos and sends them to the couple. He hopes to be able to send more photos to others soon.

“It’s just a fascinating puzzle that I’d love to solve,” said Poore.

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