Bill Carner shares his favorites of the UofL Photographic Archives

By on November 13, 2012
GM

“You can say things like ‘tone’, ‘composition’, ‘print quality’, or ‘how your eye moves throughout it’. You should see what the photographer wants you to see. But there’s also got to be heart. There are photographs that are heartless which are interesting, but it’s the ones that have a little heart that I really like.”
–Bill Carner on ‘what makes a good photograph’

“Guy Mendes is a photographer from Lexington who I met when I first came to Kentucky in the 1970s. Knowing Guy has been one of the real benefits of moving to Kentucky. This is his portrait of Ralph Eugene Meatyard who was a Lexington photographer who became known as one of the best photographers around. He died in 1972, and Guy took this photo about a year or so before he died. It makes a wonderful portrait. We have a large collection of Meatyard’s photos too, but all the good ones are on display at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. This was our way of getting Meatyard into the show.”

“One of the big collections we have here is of stuff related to Roy Stryker, who ran the Farm Security Administration project during the Roosevelt Administration and the Great Depression in the 1930s. He then went on to run a similar project that was more focused for Standard Oil. He did this one for a photographic essay called ‘Trucking Story’ about truckers driving back and forth on the roads of America. This is in a little town called Shartlesville, Penn., which is about 10 miles from where I lived. I was going to visit my family once, and I saw these same guys in this bar with their kids.”

“I love portraits, and have curated a few portrait shows over the years. I love people who use street photography, like Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photograph of Rue Mouffetard in Paris, the boy walking down the street with two wine bottles in 1953. It was taken with a Leica, which is the same camera I like to use. It’s just wonderful. I’m so glad to have that in the collection where I can go, open the box, and look at it from time to time.”

“This one was on the announcement, ‘Stocking the cooler, Little Sisters of the Poor Good Mother Home for the Aged’. In it we’ve got three beers that were being made in Louisville in 1959: Fehr’s, Falls City, and Oertle’s. If you’re going to be in an old age home, this is the one to be in. You’ve got beer, Pepsi, and fresh fruit—and it looks like the nuns aren’t carrying rulers!”

Read on: Photo man Bill Carner retires, puts on one final show

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One Comment

  1. Bruce Weiss

    April 27, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Bill and I met when he worked at Hollywood Photo in Reading, PA (not Redding, sorry) many years ago. Great guy, have often thought of him and wondered where he had gone. I remember he, at that time, collected old postcards. Hope he is well.

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