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Working from Memory is a collection of stories by the renowned photographer, painter and sculptor William Christenberry. Based on conversations with author and critic Susanne Lange, these stories elaborate the artist's memories of the Deep South, in whose rich literary tradition they are steeped. In a lyrical but lucid prose, they set personal experience against the backdrop of important political and cultural moments in the southern states, endowing that landscape with a vividness that will be familiar to fans of the artist's photography. Christenberry's own photographs accompany these tales.
Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1936, William Christenberry grew up in the Deep South, where old road signs, deteriorating buildings and dirt roads shaped his boyhood memories. During his early career, Christenberry was primarily a painter, but he soon began to incorporate the use of a Brownie camera into his practice. In 1961 he moved to New York and met Walker Evans, the celebrated photographer of the Farm Security Administration, who had documented the devastating effect of the Great Depression in the South. Evans' photographs--many from Christenberry's home area--particularly influenced Christenberry's work as an artist. In 1968 he moved to Washington, D.C., and joined the faculty of the Corcoran School of Art and Design, where he continues to work as a professor of drawing and painting. Today, Christenberry's international stature continues to grow as his work is featured in many museums throughout the United States and abroad.
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William Christenberry's groundbreaking colour photos of the deep south capture a disappearing world. (Sean O'Hagan The Observer 2013-11-30)
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