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Keith Carter: 25 Years

Stars by Keith Carter
Stars, 1995

FALL 1997

I think there is an element of magic in photography - light, chemistry, precious metals - a certain alchemy. You can wield a camera like a magic wand almost. Murmur the right words and you can conjure up proof of a dream. I believe in wonder. I look for it in my life every day; I find it in the most ordinary things.

From the beginning, I wanted to make art. I felt that very strongly, even though I stumbled around for a long time. The great thing is, it’s twenty-five years later, and I feel that even more passionately now. I just want to make art.


...If I were to compare Carter’s images directly to poems, I would suggest that we might think of them as sonnets. In its structure the sonnet contains a definite formality, a weight and density, a sense of containment, a demand for resolution. Less flexible than more open forms of verse, it resembles in its symmetry the square, that elementary geometric shape Carter favors as the cutting edge for his vision. Many poets find sonnet form constraining; for some it proves so much so that they chafe at its restrictions and abandon it for more loosely defined modes. But some embrace its structures, settle into them, and begin to explore what they allow. And, of those, some few discover there, in the words of one of its most devoted servants, ‘not chains but wings’....

from “Imagination in the Boondocks”  
Keith Carter Photogaphs / 25 Years, U.T. Press, 1997

Keith Carter Photographs: 25 Years is now titled  Poet of the Ordinary: Keith Carter Photographs and contains over 70 toned black-and- white prints, all 15 x 15 inches. The accompanying book, Keith Carter Photogaphs / 25 Years is available for purchase from the Wittliff online gift shop.