Below The Equator

By Jefferson Hawkins
CASA Magazine, Santa Barbara
May 12, 2006


It all began when a seventeen-year-old Macduff Everton was traveling in France. An elderly American, disgusted with "looking like a tourist" abandoned his camera. "At that moment, I literally 'picked up' photography, " Everton recalled - thus beginning a career that would span the globe. His most recent work, "Below the Equator," photographed in the Amazon Basin and Patagonia, is currently on display at the RoSnell Gallery of the Hotel Andalucia through July 20.

That journey which began in France carried Everton halfway around the world over the following two years with his newfound camera. By the time he reached Japan, he had already sold his first two photo stories.

Everton returned to his home in Santa Barbara when he was offered a job with a local film company producing educational slide shows. "I was on assignment in Guatemala when the company sent me a telegram saying they had run out of money, " Everton related. "I guess they figured that if anyone could find their own way home, I could!"

It was during this trip that Everton first contacted the Maya people of the Yucatan Peninsula and began a lifelong obsession with this disappearing culture. His documentation of Maya individuals and their families over twenty years resulted in the seminal publication The Modern Maya - A Culture in Transition. Currently Macduff is working on an update to The Modern Maya, which expands the chronicle of their changing lives to a 35 year span.


In 1984, Everton completed his MFA at UCSB. Today, he is a contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler and Islands Magazine as well as a correspondent for Virtuoso Life. His many editorial clients include Condé Nast Traveler, Gourmet, Life, National Geographic Traveler, LA Times Magazine, NY Times Magazine, Outside, and Smithsonian.

The noted New York Times photography critic Andy Grundberg wrote, "Macduff Everton updates travel photography in the same way that Ansel Adams updated 19th century photography of the West. He captures strange and eloquent moments in which time, and the world, seem to stand still."

Everton's work is displayed in the collections of many public and private institutions, including the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Brooklyn Museum, New York; British Museum, London; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

In addition to exhibiting his work nationally and internationally, Everton has collaborated on a number of books including The Code of Kings The Language of Seven Sacred Temples & Tombs, with archaeologists/epigraphers Linda Schele, Peter Matthews and Justin Kerr.

A longtime Santa Barbara resident, Macduff enjoys working with his wife, Mary Heebner, an abstract painter and writer. Their two very different visions of a place often inform each other's work. They collaborated on The Western Horizon in 2000, a unique and panoramic view of the American West.

"Patagonia and the Amazon are lands of myths and dreams of vast spaces," said Everton in his introduction to his current exhibit. "Open space connotes emptiness. However, I find these open spaces to be full and substantive and places where my heart sings."