William Gedney

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William Gale Gedney
Born (1932-10-29)October 29, 1932
Greenville, New York
Died June 23, 1989(1989-06-23) (aged 56)
Greenville, New York
Occupation documentary photographer, street photographer
Years active 1950s-1980s
Known for Kentucky series

William Gale Gedney (October 29, 1932 - June 23, 1989) was an American documentary and street photographer. It wasn't until after his death that his work gained momentum and his work is now widely recognized. He is most remembered for his series of rural Kentucky, and series on India, San Francisco and New York shot in 1960s and 1970s.

Early life and background[edit]

He was born in Greenville, New York. He studied at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.[1]

Career[edit]

During his lifetime, Gedney received several fellowships and grants, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship from 1966 to 1967, a Fulbright Fellowship for photography in India from 1969 to 1971, a New York State Creative Artists Public Service Program (C.A.P.S.) grant from 1972 to 1973; and a National Endowment for the Arts grant from 1975 to 1976. In a career spanning late 1950s to mid-1980s, he created a large body of work, including series documenting local communities during his travels to India, San Francisco, Brooklyn and New York shot in 1960s and 1970s. He is also noted for night photography, principally of large structures, like the Brooklyn bridge and architecture, and architectural studies of neighbourhoods quiet and empty, in the night.[2][3]

In 1969, he started teaching at Pratt Institute, though later in 1987, two years before his death, he was denied a tenure by the institution.[1]

Gedney's work has been exhibited in numerous group shows, including Museum of Modern Art shows, Photography Current Report in 1968, Ben Schultz Memorial Collection in 1969, and Recent Acquisitions in 1971; as well as Vision and Expression, George Eastman House, and Rochester Institute of Technology, in 1972. However, he remained a recluse,[4] had only one solo exhibition during his lifetime. Despite receiving appreciation from noted photographers of the time, Walker Evans, Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, and John Szarkowski, he remained of most under-appreciated artist of the generation. He didn't manage to get any of his eight book projects published.[1]

William Gedney died of AIDS in 1989, aged 56, in New York City and is buried in Greenville, New York, a few short miles from his childhood home. He left his photographs and writings to his lifelong friend Lee Friedlander. In time, Friedlander efforts which had earlier lead to the revival E. J. Bellocq, chartered posthumous revival of Gedney's work.[4]

A extensive collection of his work, including contact sheets, sketchbooks, notebooks, and photographs and now housed at the Duke University in North Carolina.[3]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Stepher Miller; Duke University. Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library (2000). William Gedney Photographs and Writings. Duke University. Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. 
  • What Was True: The Photographs and Notebooks of William Gedney (edited by Geoff Dyer and Margaret Sartor) (2000) ISBN 0-393-04824-1

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Richard Haw (2 October 2012). Art of the Brooklyn Bridge: A Visual History. Routledge. pp. 202–. ISBN 978-1-136-60366-2. 
  2. ^ Lance Keimig (2 October 2012). Night Photography: Finding your way in the dark. CRC Press. pp. 36–. ISBN 978-1-136-09725-6. 
  3. ^ a b Mark W. Turner (2003). Backward Glances: Cruising the Queer Streets of New York and London. Reaktion Books. pp. 99–. ISBN 978-1-86189-180-8. 
  4. ^ a b Geoff Dyer (1 November 2010). Working the Room: Essays. Canongate Books. pp. 76–. ISBN 978-1-84767-966-6. 

External links[edit]