A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words, A Frame Can Make It That Much Better

Ask any resident of Las Cruces –or visitor for that matter– about the one scene that defines our city, and most will probably reply,“The Organ Mountains.” It is also probable that the Organ Mountains are the single most photographed landscape in our area and Mike Groves is probably the person who has photographed them the most.

Mike is well-known throughout the Southwest for the extensive collection of photography that he has taken of the Organ Mountains. Over 30 years of experience 

have allowed him to capture the ever-changing landscape surrounding the Organs at every angle, in every light and through every season. And yet, every time he gets a phone call from someone telling him there is an amazing rainbow or unique cloud formation, he is there with this camera ready to snap the image. No two images are ever alike, and he admits that he has somewhat of an obsession with photographing the beautiful mountains. 

Mike’s father L.C. Groves was also a talented photographer and surprisingly, it was Mike who discovered that his father had an eye for photography. In the 1970’s they began displaying and selling their work at the Downtown Farmer’s Market, a ritual that Mike still practices today. One look at his work and one would never know that the native New Mexican has no formal training in the art of photography. Mike has developed his skills from reading books about photography and learning from other photographers who are willing to share tips. It also doesn’t hurt that he has a natural eye for this passion and that his interest extend much farther than the Organ Mountains.

As a landscape and nature photographer, Mike enjoys hiking and being outdoors during sunsets and sunrises. It’s at these times that Mike has captured some of his signature shots. Mike is working on expanding his portfolio of Indian ruins 

and different types of wildlife. His work has attracted many fans and has been featured in exhibits, shops and galleries throughout the region for decades and has also won many awards. 

Every year, Mike produces a calendar which showcases the stunning photography he has taken that falls in line with the month of the year. The calendar is unique in that it report dates of local events, holidays, average temperature and even average rain fall for any given month. The much sought-after calendars are available for purchase at Picture Frame Factory Outlet. 

Mike’s son, Greg, has followed in his footsteps, so to speak. Although not exactly photography, Greg’s line of work falls hand in hand with photography. In 2006, Greg inherited the family business, Picture Frame Factory Outlet, a business that Mike owned and operated since 1989. Greg understudied Mike for some time and has since mastered the art of framing. With an eye for matching mats to art and frames to mats, Greg and his staff can take a simple art piece and create a work of art. 

“Customers bring in their treasures to be framed not only to protect them but because they want to display them nicely as well. We are able to give them archival-quality materials that will preserve their valuables while at the same time giving them a beautiful art piece they can cherish for many years,” explains Greg. 

Picture Frame Factory Outlet offers custom-made frames, of which they carry from 4,000 to 5,000 for customers to choose from. The materials they stock vary from wood, to metal and plastic and are available in an assortment of textures and styles. Mats are equally important as they protect the art from the surface of the glass. And because the staff can get pretty fancy with custom mat designs –like cutting a fancy border, adding a design or even a title cut into the mat as another compositional element– they can add another dimension of color and texture. Mats also allow large or oddly shaped items to be framed behind glass and are available in everything from paper to rag, and suede to linen. 

Greg says that a big portion of their business comes from framing photography, but they are also very experienced in framing specialty items such as jerseys and other sports memorabilia, medals, certificates, plaques, coins and other collectibles. 

Together, Mike and Greg make an exceptional team. Their work definitely complements one another, but they are also individually successful. The gallery is full of the Groves’ work; Mike’s extensive collection of photography, samples of the outstanding framing that Greg and the staff do, as well as Kathy’s –Mike’s wife and Greg’s mother– meticulously hand drawn greeting cards. A walk through Picture Frame Factory Outlet leaves no room for doubt that the Groves are family with a creative gene.

Fall 2013

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