The Photography of William Gedney

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Night Photography blog by Andy Frazer: William Gedney Andy Frazer points us to an archive of photos online at Duke University by American photographer William Gedney. Duke has put about 4,900 of Gedney’s photographs online that were taken between the 1950’s and the 1980’s. Gedney died in 1989.

The photos are mostly very strong black and white prints with a strong historical perspective and are definitely worth checking out.

From Duke’s site:

“William Gedney began to photograph in the early 1950s as an art student the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Over the next thirty years he worked on a number of photographic projects, most of them self-initiated, usually working on two or three series simultaneously. For several years after graduating from the Pratt Institute, Gedney supported himself financially by working as a graphic designer or a free-lance photographer. Though unknown and unpublished, William Gedney had one-man exhibition of his photographs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1968, organized by John Szarkowski. This show included forty-four photographs, images of coal miners’ families in eastern Kentucky and the counterculture youth of San Francisco. After the MOMA exhibition, Gedney was able to support himself largely through teaching photography, primarily at the Pratt Institute and at Cooper Union in New York. Gedney funded his photographic projects with his own savings and with various grants and fellowships. During the decade from the mid-1960s to the mid 1970s, Gedney received several major arts grants, including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (1966-67), a Fulbright Fellowship (1969), a New York State Creative Artists Public Service Program Grant (1972 – 1973), and a National Endowment for the Arts Grant (1975). Over his thirty-year photographic career, Gedney traveled around the United States and Europe, and made two lengthy trips to India. His most significant photographic projects include the work he did in New York (1960 – 1980), Eastern Kentucky (1964 and 1972), India (1969 – 1971 and 1979 – 1980), San Francisco (1966 – 1967) and his series on American Composers (1965 – 1969).”

Thanks, Andy!

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  1. bob says:

    Gedney’s book, “What was True”, is nothing short of spectacular. I was lucky to find a new copy in a bookstore in NYC.

    Here is a link to the book:

    http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/gedney/book.html

    Gedney also kept very detailed journals. There are very interesting to read and can be found here:

    http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/gedney/books.html

    Thanks for posting this – Gedney was sort of stayed under the mass media radar, but he certainly was loved and acknowledged by an photographer worth their salt…