She can often be seen with her trusty camera at community events, or taking pictures and schmoozing with roadwork crews, or maybe holding court at the local coffee shop. Her Facebook page is a rich chronicle of the people and places of the Globe-Miami region and her photos are on display throughout the community.
Miami photographer Elizabeth Eaton has long been a chronicler of local places and faces.
For those not familiar with her work and who would like to get a taste, Eaton’s photo exhibit, titled “Faces,” will be on display at the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts throughout the month of September. The showing will feature two dozen portraits of “local faces” that have come into the range of her curious lens.
“Some people are absolute naturals,” she says. “I pose some of them a little, but don’t want it to seem too stiff. People have always been more than willing.”
Wherever there is an event, gathering, natural phenomenon or just buildings in the varying light of the day; the hills, valleys and canyons of the Copper Hills; monsoons and mountains, or places like the Sierra Ancha, Eaton is likely to be there to record it for posterity.
She has been showing her art locally for about 10 years, and her work can often be seen at such places as the Copper Hen Restaurant, Cobre Valley Indoor Farms and, of course, the Arts Center. Her photos have graced posters advertising the Apache Jii Festival and she has donated them to local nonprofits, such as the High Desert Humane Society, which featured her work in its 2019 fundraising calendar.
Eaton has also done yeoman’s work for the Bullion Plaza Cultural Center and Museum.
“She’s helped Bullion Plaza a bunch and is a great asset to the community,” says Tom Foster, Executive Director of the Museum. “I’m happy she hasn’t neglected us.”
Not only does the museum have Eaton’s art for sale in its gift shop, but her work is also on display there on a regular basis. When Foster needed help promoting last year’s Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibit, he enlisted Eaton’s talents and she was happy to oblige, providing pictures for promotional material as well as a secondary exhibit for the nationally acclaimed travelling exhibit.
“She did a series of photos of a monsoon storm rolling in and we still have one on display in the lobby,” Foster says. “She also supports us on her Facebook page and takes photos of our events and posts them.”
Additionally, she contributes with volunteer work and was even on the Museum board for a time, as well as donating photos for use on a PowerPoint presentation for the board of supervisors.
Eaton moved to the area about 30 years ago. She was born and raised in Minot, North Dakota, growing up on her family’s horse ranch. She earned her teaching degree at Minot State University and began her career there.
“My first two years of teaching was in a one-room schoolhouse in western North Dakota,” she says.
Her love of photography started early and followed something of a family tradition.
“Dad was always taking pictures of the kids and of horses, so I decided to pick up a camera when I was in my 20s,” she says. Married at the time, she and her husband moved to El Paso, Texas and eventually to Long Beach, where she taught briefly. “I hated it,” she remembers.
She finally took a job—and found a place to call home—in the Copper Corridor, teaching elementary school in San Carlos and Fort Thomas until she retired a few years ago. It was in her retirement that Eaton’s photographic leanings returned and really took off.
She uses basic equipment so not to be encumbered by carrying extra lenses or a bag. She does her own photo processing to manipulate what she calls “just a basic photo,” and has something in the neighborhood of 1,500 followers on Facebook.
“I take pictures every day: There is different lighting on the buildings. I like the local architecture, and there are so many different events every weekend,” she says. “I just pick it up and go. If I run into difficulties I ask questions.”
While Eaton has no desire to become a professional photographer—she does not like the word “hobby”—taking pictures is one of the passions in Eaton’s life. One of her photo-related ambitions is to someday photograph a rodeo “from inside the ring.” For now though, she is happy to gather material as a local “photojournalist.”
“This community is like an endless treasure of photos,” Eaton concludes. “I sometimes think I’m in the best place on the planet. It’s a very unique place, and we’re very fortunate to live here.”
The exhibit will be at the CVCA, located at 101 N. Broad St., Globe, beginning Friday, September 6 and runs through September 28. There will be an opening on Friday, September 6 from 5-7 p.m.
For information, call 928-425-0884.
Journalist, writer and editor who has worked for community newspapers for more than 15 years. After four years at Davis-Monthan AFB and a few years living in Tucson, moved to California to find his fortune. He is happy to be back in Arizona, in the mountains he loves.