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Excerpts from Visions undergroud by Lois Manno

Visions Underground, Carlsbad Caverns through the Artists Eye, by Lois Manno

A native of the city of Carlsbad, Steve Elmore grew up wandering the rugged country of the Guadalupe Mountains, and spent many hours exploring area caves. He worked as a park ranger at the Caverns, and his aesthetic sensibility was powerfully shaped by his experiences growing up in southeastern New Mexico. He has lived in New York City, Los Angeles, and Italy,, working as a travel and corporate photographer. In 1999 Steve returned to New Mexico, and now owns a shop in Santa Fe that deals in historic Pueblo Indian pottery, jewelry, and weavings. He also displays his paintings there. Describing his decision to return to New Mexico from New York, he writes: “I felt disconnected from nature, the source of all creativity, and the City was too far away from the Hopi Pueblos, another source of inspiration.”

He has exhibited his photographs, and paintings across the country. Steve is fascinated with “themes of change and transformation.” His paintings often contain snakes and other life forms, fantastical representations of other worldly creatures and spirit birds. Elmore sees beneath the surface of the world; it is not surprising that caves would make their way into his iconography.


Mountains Into Rivers by Steve Elmore, 2005. Oil on canvas, 36”h X 48”w on loan from the artist to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Elmore uses abstract forms to interpret the endless cycles of geologic change.