September 10 — October 8, 2011
40/40 Forty Years Forty Portraits
Based in Lexington, Kentucky, photographer Guy Mendes has spent the past forty years traversing the South, from the streets of New Orleans to the hills of Kentucky, twisting and pulling light through his lens and giving us the people and places we all recognize but were never able to see. This exhibition will present a series of photographic portraits that span four decades and tell the stories of some of the South’s most interesting characters. The portraits include writers Wendell Berry, James Still and Ed McClanahan; artists Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Robert Tharsing, Edgar Tolson and Ann Tower; performers Ashley Judd and Ben Sollee; and characters Carlos “Little Enis” Toadvine and Bradley Picklesimer. Mendes wrote a short essay with each portrait, telling something about the subject and the circumstances of the photograph. The book Guy Mendes, 40/40 Forty Years Forty Portraits, published by Institute 193 in Lexington, KY accompanies the exhibition.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Mendes came to theUniversity of Kentuckyin 1966 to study journalism. Except for a summer in Houston, where he was an intern for Newsweek, and a year in Connecticut, Mendes, 62, has lived in Central Kentucky ever since. In his time, Mendes has become one of the best-known and well-respected photographers in the region. In addition to landscape and portrait photography, Mendes has also won several Emmy Awards as a documentary writer, director and producer for Kentucky Educational Television, where he has worked since 1973.