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  • Laureta Huit

“In The Presence of Heroes,” an exhibition of photography from the archive of David Scheinbaum, opens on the 80th anniversary of D-Day June 6, 2024, at The New Mexico Military Museum.

Children line the parade route to the 79th Infantry Memorial Monument ceremony in La Haye-du-Puits

NMMM 2021.017.048

“In The Presence of Heroes,” an exhibition of photography from the archive of David Scheinbaum, opens on the 80th anniversary of D-Day June 6, 2024, at The New Mexico Military Museum. The Exhibition’s opening reception is at 5PM on June 6, 2024, followed by an artist gallery talk at 3:30PM on June 8th, 2024. 

In collaboration with Janet Russek and David Scheinbaum, the New Mexico Military Museum is proud to present, “In The Presence of Heroes,” an exhibition of the photographs from the archive of David Scheinbaum, which was gifted to the museum in 2021. The exhibition features his photographs taken during his journey to the 50th Anniversary of D-day accompanying his parents to La-Haye-du-Puits, France, a town that his father, Louis Scheinbaum, liberated during WW2. The exhibition will open on June 6, 2024, marking both the 80th anniversary of the liberation of Normandy and the 30th anniversary of the publication of “In the Presence of Heroes,” which Combines a personal essay and photographs and resulted in the supplement of “In The Presence of Heroes,” in the July 4th, 1994, issue of the Santa Fe New Mexican.  The exhibition contains 36 black and white photographs documenting the journey, and its transformative power for father and son. 

“In The Presence of Heroes,” is an exhibition featuring the vast archive of photographs, correspondence, and ephemera.  The archive also includes celebratory bottles of wine and beer that capture and commemorate the journey taken by the Scheinbaum’s in 1994.  The New Mexico Military Museum received the archive in 2021 and was beyond moved by the narrative of the photographs and has been working in collaboration with David to produce this exhibition ever since. 

Through written essays and photography, David Scheinbaum documented his father’s journey to the beachheads and towns of Normandy.  He was transformed by witnessing the lasting generational effects of gratitude and reverence that were still so powerfully held in the hearts of the grandchildren of the townsfolk liberated by his father, Louis Scheinbaum.

David serves as a contemporaneous figure, processing his father’s service, striving to stand as a true documentarian, removing himself from his surroundings, only there to capture images of the event on film. David was unaware of the impact his father had on those he liberated. It was on a tour bus surrounded by elderly veterans that his perspective changed.  As the bus rounded a corner, he saw the street filled with children and townsfolk waving the American Flag in honor of the men on that bus. David was stuck with the realization, “I began looking at everyone a little differently.  They weren’t old; they were soldiers returning to a town they had liberated.”  He was transformed causing a shift in his perception.  He was now suddenly in the company of Heroes

During their 1994 journey, Louis Scheinbaum was transported to when he had arrived fifty years prior, and his son David stood as his witness, “Your Dad got the chance to revisit a time in his life that was at the core of his being, a time, you may never have fully comprehended before.  He also lived to receive a tribute from his son – a son so different from himself yet still a part of him – a tribute so personal yet so far-reaching to share such a moment with a son, and for the son to turn that moment into a treasure of love and understanding...made tangible.”  The shared sentiment in correspondence with a family friend of Scheinbaum’s wholly captures what a transformative experience this was for the individuals as well as the family and their relationships. 

Louis Scheinbaum served in the 79th Infantry Division which landed on Utah Beach, in Normandy on D-Day plus six.  Six months later, its reputation was so widespread that a German division warned its units to watch out for the 79th, which was regarded as one of the best attack divisions in the U.S. Army.  The first major mission assigned to the 79th Division was an important role sharing in the assault on Cherbourg. On June 26, 1944, the city was liberated, and the next day they were en route to La-Haye-du-Puits, the German supply center for forces in Northern France.  Battling their way through hedgerow after hedgerow, La-Haye-du-Puits was liberated on July 8th, 1944. 

Louis Scheinbaum was a Medic.  His primary aim and duties were to the care of the wounded, although it also carried him frequently into areas of great danger.   He pursued his goal without hesitation under whatever conditions prevailed.  On several occasions, he went well in advance of friendly lines to administer medical treatment to the wounded men of his unit.  The combined courage and devotion to the welfare of his fellow soldiers exhibited by Mr. Scheinbaum reflect what an enduring asset he was to the Armed Forces of the United States.   Louis Scheinbaum maintained an attitude of humility in his writings to his sweetheart, “A lot of the other men did much more than I did, and we don’t care for any medals.” He goes on to speak about fighting for his home “the five points”, that being his true motivation. 

David Scheinbaum is the former Director/Chair of the Photography Department and the Marion Center for Photographic Arts at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and Professor Emeritus at the College of Santa Fe.

His photographs of New Mexico's Bisti Badlands can be found in his book Bisti, published by the University of New Mexico Press, in 1987. In 1990, Florida International University Press published Miami Beach: Photographs of an American Dream. This work is now archived at the History Miami Museum. In 2006 The Museum of New Mexico Press published, Stone: A Substantial Witness. Hip Hop: Portraits of an Urban Hymn, Damiani Editore, was published in 2012. This work was exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, entitled Recognize: Hip-Hop and Contemporary Portraiture, 2008. The work was also exhibited as part of the exhibition, Clubs, Joints and Honky-Tonks, at the Norton Museum of Art, in 2012 and at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, in 2015, Hip Hop; du Bronx aux Rues Arabes. This work is now archived at Cornell University.

He and his wife, Janet Russek, have collaborated on three projects: Ghost Ranch: Land of Light, Photographs by David Scheinbaum and Janet Russek, Balcony Press, 1997; Images in the Heavens, Patterns on the Earth: The I Ching, Museum of New Mexico Press, 2005; and Remnants: Photographs of the Lower East Side, Radius Books, 2017. Together they operate Scheinbaum & Russek Ltd., private fine art photography dealers and consultants in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In 2017 Scheinbaum focused on the production of paper negatives addressing black culture and racism in America. The work was exhibited at the Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2018, and traveled to the Windgate Studio + Design Center at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, in 2020. From 2016 to 2019 he photographed in the holy city of Varanasi, India. These images trace life and ceremony along the Ganges River. Varanasi: City Immersed In Prayer, was published by George F. Thompson Publishing in 2022.  Since 2020, David has focused his energies on producing Ensō imagery and photograms in his darkroom using photographic chemistry and paper to produce calligraphic drawings.  His forthcoming book, Ensō: What Is Beheld, The Museum of New Mexico Press, will be released this coming summer, 2024.

Currently, he is collaborating with Janet Russek photographing in Monet’s Garden, in Giverny, Normandie, France. 

For Further information please contact:

Laureta Huit

Museum Director

Phone: 505.476.1476 Cell: 505.372.9738

1050 Old Pecos Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87505



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