The work of a new Mexican photographer at the Smithsonian

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) — A New Mexico artist tells the stories of men and women who lived troubled lives and celebrates great achievement. Frank Blazquez now has one of his portraits hanging in one of the greatest art museums in the world.

“The title is the ‘Gallegos Twins of Belen, New Mexico,’ said photographer Frank Blazquez. “I really like the look of them, they’re identical twins and I feel like they portray what Belen,” he explained. It was people like the Gallegos twins who fueled Blazquez’s passion for street photography.

We introduced you to Blazquez in 2018 when he launched his Youtube series, Duke City Diaries, telling the tough stories of people who lived troubled lives and sometimes broke the law to survive. Since then, Blazquez has branched out, featuring residents from surrounding communities like Borderland and Santa Fe.

“I have a new documentary in Santa Fe about a young man who was actually on trial for murder,” Blazquez said. “His name was Zachary Gutierrez,” he said. Gutierrez’s story has racked up 21,000 views on YouTube.

The YouTube series isn’t his only work that’s getting a lot of attention. His portrait of the Gallegos twins now hangs in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery as part of the Outwin 2022 American Portraiture Today exhibition. “To have your image on these walls, it takes a while to breathe,” Blazquez said.

Blazquez was one of nearly 3,000 artists to submit an application and one of only 42 to be accepted. The exhibit opened this weekend and Blazquez was there to see his portrait hanging alongside other portraits, created by some of the country’s most talented artists.

“Seeing him for the first time is truly amazing, it’s breathtaking,” Blazquez explained. He says that after only six years of practicing photography, this is a huge and unexpected achievement.

“I’m still in a state of disbelief,” Blazquez said. “Their portrait is there, my name is up there, honored, very humbled,” Blazquez said. The exhibition will be visible for three years.

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