James Archambeault's Historic Kentucky (Hardcover)
University Press of Kentucky, 9780813124209, 153pp.
Publication Date: October 1, 2006
Renowned photographer James Archambeault has the rare ability to capture the historic, archival, and artistic aspects of his photographic subjects. His award-winning craft is evident in the careful selection of time, season, and subjects in his beloved Kentucky. In his new book, he preserves the landscapes, buildings, and sights of old Kentucky as many of them fall into neglect, become irreversibly altered, or disappear completely. In addition to his essay describing the early settlement of Kentucky, Archambeault explains the historical and cultural significance of each of the more than 100 color photographs. Some of these subjects are well-preserved historic landmarks, such as White Hall in Madison County and "My Old Kentucky Home" in Bardstown. Others support the daily life and work of Kentuckians, such as a Sunday afternoon celebration of a baptism in Jessamine Creek or friends sharing their thoughts on a warm February day in Sharpsburg, Bath County. The passing of a previous way of life resonates in photographs of a drive-in theater, mom-and-pop grocery store, covered bridges, and old farm houses. Archambeault captures the friction between the historic Kentucky and its future, such as grain silos from the 1930s standing within view of a new subdivision in Shelby County or the Joseph Ewing log cabin in Scott County bordering the site of a future industrial park. James Archambeault's Historic Kentucky is a photographic elegy to the scenic treasures of our culture. Including a foreword by Wendell Berry, the book also reminds us of our responsibility to serve as stewards for Kentucky's rich history and historic places.