William ChristenberryPhotographs by William Christenberry
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Since the early 1960s, William Christenberry has plumbed the regional identity of the American South, focusing on his hometown in Hale County, Alabama. Often recognized as a pioneer in American color photography, his multifaceted vision is rendered through an unorthodox mix of media, including sculpture, drawing, painting, and found-object assemblage. All these media serve a single theme: the story of place. Christenberry's documentation of vernacular architecture, signage, and landscape captures moments of quiet beauty in a terrain that, with its worn iconography and ramshackle buildings, evokes the power of the passage of time. Since relocating to Washington, D.C., in 1968, Christenberry has returned to photograph the same locations annually—the green barn, the palmist building, the Bar-B-Q Inn, among others—fulfilling a personal ritual. More than half the work in this volume is previously unpublished, including a stunning selection of photographs shot in Kodachrome.
William Christenberry (born in Hale County, Alabama, 1936) has been a professor at the Corcoran College of Art + Design, Washington, D.C., since 1968. His work has been the subject of dozens of shows, including a yearlong solo exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2006, where his work is in the permanent collection. It can also be found at the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona.