Shelby Lee Adams Keynote Lecture
Friday, November 30
Ogden Museum :: Free and open to the public
Shelby Lee Adams is an internationally acclaimed photographer renowned for his environmental portraiture, primarily from the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky. Adams’ work has been featured in four monographs: Appalachian Portraits (1993), Appalachian Legacy (1998), Appalachian Lives (2003) and Salt and Truth (2011).
For the PhotoNOLA 2012 keynote lecture Adams will present an overview of his work to date, and will discuss his technical, aesthetic and philosophic approaches to the photographic medium and the art of portraiture.
Mr. Adams will be available to sign books after his lecture.
Shelby Lee Adams was born in Hazard, Kentucky, in 1950, and educated at The Cleveland Institute of Art and Massachusetts College of Art. He is the author of four photography books, Appalachian Portraits 1993, Appalachian Legacy, 1998 and Appalachian Lives, 2003 and Salt and Truth, 2011. In addition to a Guggenheim Fellowship he has held a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a NEA survey grant, he has received artist support grants four years consecutively from the Polaroid Corporation and one from The Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and the Peter S. Reed Foundation.
Adams’ photography has been collected and exhibited by over 60 national and international public museum collections and numerous private collections. His work resides in the Musee De L’Elysee Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland, The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC, The Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX, many photographs reside within his people’s homes in Eastern Kentucky, among others. His work has been published in and represented by many academic, fine art and commercial publications, including, Aperture, Smithsonian Magazine, Phaidon, The New York Times and Mother Jones. He divides his time between his home in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts and Eastern Kentucky.
In his work, Adams introduces us to families who have moved out of the remote mountain hollers into trailers, where satellite dishes dominate the landscape. Whether photographing a father and child surrounded by their cows, a family gathering on a porch during Halloween or an older couple posing with their dog in front of a new satellite dish, Adams’s images are compelling, we want to both turn away and stare. That Adams returns to the mountains year after year is a testament to his dedication to work within their challenging environment while expressing their vulnerability, yet maintaining and expressing their dignity. Although he now lives in Massachusetts, Shelby Lee Adams’s heart is forever in Appalachia.