Learn more about Paul Vanderbilt from independent scholar and photographer James Rhem, who knew Vanderbilt well. In Rhem's words, "Vanderbilt was many things. He once described himself as basically “a book man,” but what he meant by that had many dimensions. He was an archivist, a photographer, and a theorist. His work in all these areas was informed by a relationship with a past that was also always present: a relationship at once critical and creative. Vanderbilt had a wealth of ideas about photography as a tool of inquiry, preservation, and presentation. His was a restless and opinionated mind full of vigorous ideas which he explored in a wealth of periodical articles and conference presentations. At the end of his life, he brought his wide-ranging thought together in Between the Landscape and Its Other. In this talk, I will review Vanderbilt’s prodigious body of criticism culminating in this intriguing book."
This talk is offered in conjunction with the exhibition The Archive as a River: Paul Vanderbilt and Photography, developed in collaboration with the Wisconsin Historical Society's Archives Division. For more information, visit the exhibition page.
Image: Paul Vanderbilt, Contoured Cornfield after Harvest (detail), 1960. Wisconsin Historical Society (WHI 10654).
James Rhem is an independent scholar in the history of photography and a well-known local arts critic. His publications include books on photographers Ralph Eugene Meatyard and Aaron Siskind as well as catalogue essays on Wynn Bullock, August Sander, William Eggleston and others. He has lectured on these and other topics at many college campuses in the U.S. and at the Prague House of Photography in the Czech Republic.