THERE’S A TOUCH OF MAGIC in the new MoMo Gallery exhibition, In the Time of Spirits, opening in Santa Fe July 6. Curated by former Life Magazine editor in chief Bill Shapiro, the show features international photographers Lula (Germany), Donwilson Odhiambo (Kenya), Adeolu Osibodu (England), Raúl Canibaño (Cuba), and Avani Rai (India). Yet, there’s a connection among their works and with the Land of Enchantment. “There is a sense of mysticism or spirituality,” Shapiro says, “something very quiet that made me feel New Mexico even though they weren’t showing things we typically see in New Mexico.” The exhibition runs through September 8 before traveling to MoMo Gallery in Taos, September 21–November 23.

Adeolu Osibodu is one of five photographers included in a new MoMo Gallery exhibition. Photograph by Adeolu Osibodu.

New Mexico Magazine: What do you think photography allows us to communicate that words cannot?
Bill Shapiro: Photos have this ability to let you time travel, let you travel to a different part of the world where you’ve never been, and to feel these really human emotions. Photos in general allow the viewer, very quickly, to place themselves in the photo.

NMM: What made you choose the images we will see in this exhibit?
BS: These photos have this sense of spirit and a subtle sense of surrealism. These pictures put you in a headspace or a frame of mind that, to me, feels a little bit transcendent.

NMM: How did you choose the photographers you wanted to highlight?
BS: It’s all photographers that people probably haven’t heard of, but they should. I started with about 10, which I knew would be too many. I looking for works that would complement each other—that don’t step on each other’s toes, but sort of speak to each other. These five really seemed to work together.

NMM: Many of the works in In the Time of Spirits are black and white. Are you particularly drawn to black-and-white images, or is this somewhat of a coincidence?
BS: I do often find myself falling for photographers who shoot in black and white. Part of that is, with color, you can sometimes be distracted by the color. Sometimes, as we see on Instagram, people get very excited by a red umbrella on a dark street. But that doesn’t make a great photo. The framing and composition and depth is more focused or more apparent in a black-and-white image.

At the same time, you look at Lula’s pictures, and the color of those makes them so evocative. She gets a lot of the power of her photos from her lovely color palette. It’s very soft, and almost sensual.

In Odhiambo’s photos, his colors just absolutely sing. That yellow jacket on the man, I love that. Color has the potential, as we see in his work, in and of itself to make you feel something. Taken in Kenya’s biggest slum, those bright colors play against what we think we will find in a slum. He is showing us another side, that even in this environment of hardship, there is this rich and vibrant vein of color and optimism and the human spirit. That’s one reason why his work is so surprising, you don’t expect to look at a photo of poverty and think, Oh my God, that makes me happy. And yet, it does.

NMM: What do you think about social media, particularly Instagram, and this notion that it has, in a sense, turned us all into photographers?
BS: I am a huge fan of Instagram. It has turned so many people not only into photographers—or people who take pictures—but into wiser consumers of imagery.

We have more exposure to photos than we ever have before. But you have to do a little bit of work to get to the really good photographers on Instagram. There’s a lot of noise, a lot of people taking pictures of red umbrellas. It’s thrilling that everybody can see so many amazing pictures these days. But it still takes work to find the true gems. What Instagram has done is get people more interested in looking. There’s this great quote about how being a photographer, and looking at pictures, can teach you to see. I think people who look at pictures see more beauty.

Read more: A new Couse-Sharp Historic Site exhibition looks at the varied and complex ways Taos influences artists.

Most Fridays, Shapiro features an emerging photographer on his Instagram (@billshapiro) in his series “Meet This Photographer.” See In the Time of Spirits at MoMo Gallery in Santa Fe July 6–September 8, and then in Taos September 21–November 23.