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Fireflies: Photographs of Children

Pram by Keith Carter
Pram, 2008, by Keith Carter

OCTOBER 17, 2009 - MARCH 13, 2010
FIREFLIES: Photographs of Children by Keith Carter

In my world of truths and half-truths, the inhabitants might be amiss or fallen from grace, but my children inhabit a peaceable kingdom where everything that falls deserves a chance to be restored.   

A lyrical meditation on the joys, wonders, and anxieties of childhood, Fireflies brings us back to the small truths so often pushed aside or forgotten as we become adults. Informed by his own imagination-filled days spent playing in early boyhood haunts, these images allow us all to once again inhabit the stories, dreams, and make-believe worlds that children conjure. This exhibition presents over 20 images from Carter’s 2009 monograph published by the University of Texas Press.

These toned silver-gelatin photographs, as well as the majority of images from the book, are part of the Keith Carter archive at the Wittliff Collections. Begun in 1995, it currently comprises over 1,100 of Carter’s prints—the largest archive of his work in the world. The most complete holding of supplementary Carter materials is also at the Wittliff, including publications featuring his work (serials as well as books), and ephemera such as discarded prints he’s used for notes and correspondence.

KEITH CARTER holds the endowed Walles Chair of Visual and Performing Arts at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and among his many honors are a 2009 Texas Medal of Arts Award and the Lange-Taylor Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. His previous books are: A Certain Alchemy, Holding Venus, Ezekiel’s Horse, Keith Carter Photographs: Twenty-Five Years, Bones, Heaven of Animals, Mojo, The Blue Man, and From Uncertain to Blue. In addition to his large archive at the Wittliff, Carter’s work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the J. Paul Getty Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the George Eastman House.