Skip to main content

Buddy Mays Photograph Collection

Identifier: PICT-2013-015

Scope and Content

The Buddy Mays Photograph Collection contains 30 boxes of stock travel slides of the USA, Mexico, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Middle East, Africa, Pacific, and Canada. Locations and subject themes range from geographic, political and building locations, people (unidentified), flora and fauna, and inanimate objects.

The collection materials are primarily 35 mm slides, with transparencies ranging in size from 2 x 1-1/2 inch to 5 x 7 inches. The slides and transparencies are in color; some negatives are black-and-white film. Dates are rarely recorded. Dates may be correlated to Mays buisiness locations Hot Springs, Arkansas, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Bend Oregon. Most materials are labeled with descriptive location and identifying information, but individuals are not identified. Labels will often include an unexplained number or color code, along with notice that copyright is held by TravelStock and/or Buddy Mays. A few slides are stamped "Copyright Stephanie Mays".


  • 1970s-1990s

Access Restrictions

The collection is available for research.

Copy Restrictions

Duplication of print and photographic material is allowed for research purposes, but permission is required for any commercial or educational publication. User is responsible for copyright compliance. For more information see the Photographs and Images Research Guide and contact the Pictorial Archivist.


A native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, photographer/travel writer, and author Buddy Mays has visited, photographed, and written about more than sixty countries during the past 30 years. Taken on six continents, his images have appeared in hundreds of major publications throughout the US, Europe, and Asia. He is a former contract photographer for The National Geographic Society and Chevrolet Magazine Group, and field editor and writer for Outdoor Life Magazine. He has written and photographed eight non-fiction books, two children's books, and more than 500 newspaper and magazine articles. Hard to Have Heroes, published in 2012, is his first novel.

Buddy began his photography career while still an undergraduate studying vertebrate zoology at New Mexico State University, working 40 hours a week for the Las Cruces Sun News. After college, he joined the photography staff of the Albuquerque Tribune and remained in Albuquerque until 1972 when he returned to Santa Fe to begin freelancing full-time for TIME, Newsweek, and United Press International. In 1978, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in feature photography for a series of photographs of American cowboys and was among the five finalists. That same year, the Smithsonian Institution requested several of his black-and-white prints of American Indians for their permanent collection in Washington, DC. Betwen 1980 and 2000, he was the recipient of dozens of national and international photography awards, and in 2008, he was selected as one of the world’s top wildlife photographers by Digital Photographer Magazine.

From the late 1970s until the mid 1990s, Buddy spent at least half of each year traveling in the United States and overseas, shooting photographs and writing articles for a variety of companies, including the National Geographic Society, Chevrolet, Northwest Airlines, Abercrombie & Kent, Sobek Travel and other clients. He also wrote and photographed eight books including Wildwaters, A Pilgrim's Notebook, Ancient Cities of the Southwest, and A Traveler's Guide to Costa Rica. Buddy is a four-year veteran of the United States Coast Guard. He was stationed aboard the square-rigged sailing ship Eagle at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, and the USCG cutter Rockaway in New York, and was among the first group of SEAL-trained Rescue Swimmers in the Coast Guard. He has lived in Bend, Oregon with his wife and daughter since 1996.

"Bio/Press." Travel Stock Photography by Buddy Mays. (accessed January 10, 2014).


72,000 items (30 boxes) : 55,000 color slides and transparencies; 27,100 digital files ; 35 mm slides; transparencies ranging from 2 x 1.5 inches to 5 x 5 inches

Language of Materials



Stock travel slides of the USA, Mexico, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Middle East, Africa, Pacific, and Canada; including places, people and events.

Physical Location

Filed with Pictorial collections on B2.

Related Materials

Collection of papers and some photographs is housed at American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming:

Processing Information

The physical collection was processed in 2023. Digital material is available but remains unprocessed.

Processing Information

Original five boxes were accessioned was in 2013. In 2017 24 additional boxes were received. Processing was initiated in 2022 and completed in 2023.
Buddy Mays Photograph Collection, 1970s-1990s
Eileen Hogan; Jeannette Martinez
© 2014; 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.
  • 8/23/2021: RMOA import review completed

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131