Following in the footsteps and traditions of Walker Evans, James Agee, and William Faulkner, since the 1960s Christenberry (b. 1936) has vividly documented the disappearing rural landscape of the American South, particularly scenes from his youth in Hale County, AL. This evocative catalogue to a Spanish exhibition of 300 photographs and a dozen sculptures aims to widen his exposure in Europe. Christenberry's quietly evocative images capture and recapture (he often photographs the same buildings and locales year after year) the decline, deterioration, and transformation of abandoned tenant-farmer houses and other buildings, country churches and cemeteries, and dilapidated advertising signs. Included in the show is The Klan Room (1962-97), an installation of signage, photos, and artifacts that have haunted him since he briefly attended a Ku Klux Klan meeting in 1960. Atypical urban landscapes of Beale Street, Memphis, round out the exhibition. Essays introduce and comment on his life, motifs, and documentary style. Other noteworthy, recent additions to the photographer's critical canon include William Christenberry, by A. Grundberg et al., written to accompany the Smithsonian exhibition Passing Time (2006); and the monographs William Christenberry: Working from Memory: Collected Stories, compiled and edited by S. Lange (2008), and Christenberry's Kodachromes (2010). Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. (R.T. Clement CHOICE)
Alabama pulses deep within the artistic DNA of the photographer William Christenberry, born in Tuscaloosa in 1936. And these photographs, most taken in Alabama in the 1960s and '70s, tell takes of an older, vanished South from inside that South. (Dana Jennings The New York Times)
The 260-page volume is divided into 13 sections - each dedicated to a recurring theme in Christenberry's works - and covers the range of his career, from early black-and-white photos of interiors clearly influenced by Christenberry's original hero, Evans, to the buildings he returns to annually, including the Bar-B-Q Inn and his grandparents' home in Alabama. (Molly Young WSJ Magazine)
Excellent retrospective. English edition.