Henry Horenstein

Jerry Lee Lewis, Ramada Inn, Boston, MA, 1975

Archival pigment print

15 x 15 inches, matted and framed to 21 x 21 inches

Retail value $2200

© Henry Horenstein and courtesy Joseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla 

Born in Massachusetts in 1947, Henry Horenstein was on a path to becoming a historian when he discovered photography. Captivated by the work of Robert Frank and Danny Lyon, Horenstein entered the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) where he studied with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. After completing his MFA at RISD in 1973, Horenstein’s first major project was a documentary survey of the people and character of country music. As a long-time fan, Horenstein recognized that the culture of country music was changing, losing the homey, down-to-earth character of “hillbilly” music, and adopting the slicker nature of contemporary country music. His goal was to preserve a vanishing culture by capturing it in photographs, and for nearly a decade, he traveled throughout the United States, documenting the artists and audiences at honky-tonk bars, outdoor festivals, and community dances. The body of work that Horenstein created (published in 2003 as Honky Tonk) is a remarkable portrait of a distinct period in American cultural history.

Henry’s work is collected and exhibited internationally and he has published over 30 books, including several monographs of his own work such as Honky Tonk, Histories, Show, Animalia, Humans, Racing Days, Close Relations, and Speedway 1972. His book, Shoot What You Love, serves both as a memoir and a personal history of photography over the past 50 years. Henry is a professor of photography at RISD and lives in Boston.

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