Maya Ruins Revisited: In the Footsteps of Teobert Maler
2020
11.25" x 12.25" x 1.25"
Books
Essays by Stephan Merk and Alma Durán-Merk, Jeremy A. Sabloff and Khristaan D. Villela

Published by Peyton Wright Publishing

The book can be ordered from the University of Oklahoma Press. It can be purchased in Santa Fe at Peyton Wright Gallery.

Maya Ruins Revisited: In the Footsteps of Teobert Maler, by William Frej, is a truly outstanding book on many levels. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, a remarkable photographer named Teobert Maler explored large areas of Guatemala and the Yucatán, discovering hundreds of unknown Maya temples and cities and photographing what he found. These photographs were not only extraordinary for their artistic brilliance, but they created an important record of what these Mayan ruins looked like unrestored and unexcavated, still buried in jungle growth. Now, over a century later, William Frej has retraced the explorations of Maler and photographed many of his sites, often from the same vantage points. The result is a gorgeous and haunting book of photography, exploration, history, and adventure, enriched by essays from several well-known Maya scholars. While some of these Maya sites have been cleared, many remain untouched, remote, and almost unknown, visited only by Mayan beekeepers. I highly recommend this fascinating and beautiful volume, which is sure to become a classic.
Douglas Preston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God


William Frej's book provides the viewer with that rare "depth of field" seldom captured by either the committed scholar or the more casual traveler when examining an ancient civilization. His photographs of Classic and Postclassic Period Maya architecture and their settings show the enduring history of a remarkable society removed for centuries from our global comparative histories and only first revealed to Western audiences some six or seven generations ago. Frej's large format photographs graphically illustrate a history of exploration and provide a visual introduction to a more recent narrative of inquiry. HIs is a story of societal resilience and longevity in a less forgiving tropical environment revealed through both the sharp and subtle tones of his exquisite black and white photography.
Vernon L. Scarborough, Emeritus, Distinguished University Professor, Anthropology, University of Cincinnati


As a photographer myself, I often wonder if a visual image, a photograph, or a painting has the power to alter our attitudes and perceptions of each other. Can it help us understand and appreciate a vastly different culture from our own? I am happy to say that William Frej, wiht his humanist point of view of the world, uses his images to do just that, taking us on a journey through time that helps us appreciate and understand this fascinating ancient culture. Maybe that's the challenge we are facing today if civilization is to survive.
Antonio Turok, internationally-known documentary photographer based in Oaxaca, Mexico, and author, most recently, of La Fiesta Y La Rebelión (Era 2019)


If you read only one book about Pre-Columbian Maya ruins, make it this extraordinary compilation of more than 138 glorious photographs by William Frej of remote ruins in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. Frej was inspired in part by nineteenth-century archaeologist/adventurer Teobert Maler, 39 of whose historic photographs are presented alongside Frej's contemporary images of the same sites. The aesthetic pleasures are augmented by beautifully written informative captions and current scholarship. Best of all, you can travel from your armchair through history and don't have to brave the jungle heat, snakes, and insects.
MaLin Wilson-Powell, former curator at the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, and the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas, is an independent curator and author of nine books.

About the Artist
William Frej has been photographing indigenous people for over 40 years, while living in Indonesia, Poland, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and Mexico, as well as other remote mountainous regions of Asia, documenting the changing lifestyles and architecture of many of the world’s unique cultures. In 2014, his one-person photographic exhibition Enduring Cultures was featured at Galeria La Eskalera in Merida, Mexico as part of a citywide arts festival. It included recent black and white and color photography from Afghanistan, Upper Mustang, Nepal, and San Augustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico. During 2015-2016, his photography was featured in the exhibition which opened June 2015 at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, titled Tradicion, Devocion Y Vida: 80 years of Black and White Photography in New Mexico and Mexico. His photography of the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) in Oaxaca, Mexico was exhibited October-December 2015 in a one-person show at Peters Projects Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Black and white photographs were featured in a major exhibition entitled Chimayo: A Pilgrimage Through Two Centuries at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2016. His work was featured in the exhibition The Maya at Peyton Wright Gallery also in 2016. His work was also featured in Mirror, Mirror: Photographs of Frida Kahlo in 2017 at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe.

Mr. Frej’s photographs were also featured in one-person exhibitions, The Nomads of Kyrgyzstan, in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2008 and Himalayan Pilgrimage, at the Museum of Asia and the Pacific in Warsaw, Poland in 1998. His photographic work, Taninbar to Tibet, was featured in a one-person show at the Duta Fine Arts Museum and Gallery in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1991. Mr. Frej’s other exhibitions include the Tucson Art Center in 1972, The Eye Gallery in San Francisco in 1977, and the San Francisco Arts Festival in 1976 and 1977. His photographs of Peru received purchase awards from the San Francisco Arts Commission and the San Francisco Arts Festival in the 1970s.

His photographs of the Himalaya, India and Africa were featured in the Edwin Bernbaum book, Sacred Mountains of the World, and his photographs of India’s Tilwara camel fair were highlighted in Adventure Travel Magazine. Mr. Frej’s photographic work is represented in numerous public and private collections throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe and Asia.

www.williamfrejphotography.com