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H. (Harold) Joe Waldrum Photograph Collection

Identifier: PAAC-0032

Scope and Content

Approximately 7950 SX-Polaroid Prints. The Polaroids are grouped into subjects established by Waldrum. Most are identified and numbered, but a few are not. The numbering system is idiosyncratic. A small u after a number denotes unsigned. Many of the Polaroids have been signed on the front in pencil. Many are identified on the verso in pencil in Waldrum’s handwriting. Also on the verso are a series of letters and numbers and, often in the lower right hand corner, another number that has been circled. Rio Bravo Fine Art provided several lists of codes that have been used to identify, as far as possible, each image. The meaning of these encircled numbers has not been established. Each Polaroid marked CHJW is from the collection of H. (Harold) Joe Waldrum and were the images he most favored. These images have been placed with their subjects and are indicated in the contents list. Because many of the Polaroids of the churches were used as studies for Waldrum’s paintings, the churches are all identified by town or village.

Waldrum codes: SXA-01 – SXA-37 (Architecture) SXN-01 – SXN-03 (Animals) SXC-01 – SXC-86 (Churches) SXF-01 – SXF-22 (Flowers) SXP-02 – SXP-21 (Places) SXT-01 – SXT-15 (Things) SXFRUIT-01 (Fruit) SXVEG-01 – SXVEG-02 (Vegetables) Self Portraits Family Portraits Portraits (identified) Portraits (unidentified) TV CHJW = Collection H. Joe Waldrum SXH - humans (not inventoried yet) SXR - ranch on Ladron


  • 1974-2003


Access Restrictions

Collection is open to researchers on a request basis only, pending approval of request to view original material.

Copy Restrictions

User responsible for all copyright compliance. Permission to publish must be obtained from Photo Archives. Form to request permission available at:

Biographical Information

Noted New Mexico artist H. (Harold) Joe Waldrum (1964 – 2003) began taking SX-70 monoprints in the late 1970s. As his annual summer painting trip to Taos was coming to a close, Waldrum was about to return to his New York studio on Second Street, leaving the next day from Albuquerqu. He didn’t have time to make a series of drawings of the church at Las Trampas that he wanted to paint back in his studio in New York. In a mad dash to beat the clock, Waldrum decided to use a Polaroid camera. He hopped in his car, drove to a nearby grocery store, and bought a Polaroid One-Step and four boxes of film. He made it back at the church just as the sun was setting; Waldrum exposed all 40 sheets of film documenting the San José de Gracia Church (also known as the Church of Santo Tomas del Rio de Las Trampas). The images developed on the car seat beside him as he drove back to his house to finish packing. The San José Church, built between 1760 and 1776, is considered one of the best examples of traditional mission style adobe architecture in northern New Mexico and was declared a national landmark in 1970. Waldrum's exercise in Polaroid photography turned into a lifelong passion as he turned his camera to portraits and flowers, masterfully manipulating the limited mechanics of the Polaroid to obtain images far beyond the intended capacity of the camera.


7950 SX-70 Polaroid Prints

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Harold Joe Waldrum Collection


H. (Harold) Joe Waldrum Photograph Collection, 1974-2003
Under Revision
© 2011
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 07/18/2024: Revised by CD as part of the finding aid update project, 2024

Repository Details

Part of the NMHM Palace of the Governors Photo Archives Repository

113 Lincoln Ave.
Santa Fe NM 87501 USA