Kentucky Renaissance: Then and Now

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In the coming weeks, UnderMain will release a full interview with Guy Mendes on the topic of an upcoming exhibition at the Cincinnati Art Museum titled Kentucky Renaissance:  The Lexington Camera Club and Its Community, 1954-1974.  

The exhibition, which opens on October 8th and runs through January 1, 2017, was curated by Brian Sholis, curator of Photography at the Cincinnati Art Museum, and is accompanied by a catalog published by Yale Univerity Press with the assistance of FotoFocus.

After sitting down with Brian Sholis and then Guy, I learned more about what happened during the years between 1954 and 1974 when a group of extraordinary individuals collaborated so well together within The Lexington Camera Club that they, according to Sholis, turned on a light so bright that Lexington, Kentucky now shines as an important region in the history of photography.

In the full interview, Guy talks about his entree into the Lexington community (as both kitten and blue tail fly). He recalls the influence of key members of the Lexington Camera Club and the writers who inspired them, including Van Deren Coke, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Robert May, James Baker Hall, Wendell Berry and Thomas Merton. He also describes his present day interactions with the newly re-formed Camera Club (2014).

Here is just a sampling of Guy Mendes addressing the theme of my interview with him, a theme inspired by Brian’s brilliant observations about a unique moment in time, about the importance of collaboration and community, about the fact that ‘artistic genius rarely develops in isolation’ – a moment that may be present again today and visible only if we look through the proper lens.

I hope you will watch for the full interview and visit the Cincinnati Art Museum to see Kentucky Renaissance: The Lexington Camera Club and Its Community 1954-1974 .

Christine Huskisson
Christine Huskisson
Christine Huskisson is Co-Publisher of UnderMain, Co-Founder of the Studio Visits Project and Critical Mass Series. She is also a Contemporary Portraitist, whose media are words, pastels and oils. Her subject has been her numerous acquaintances and colleagues in the arts for more than thirty years.