Has America been pushed Beyond Repair?

Photographer Ken Light spent ten years crisscrossing America for his latest book, Course of the Empire. He came of age in the 1960s and believed in America. But after a decade photographing the country, the state of America and the stories of those he met

Powerful Photos From America’s 1960s and ’70s

Fourth of July celebrations can honor our nation’s founding while also reflecting on darker periods of history. In 2015, David Rosenberg wrote about...

Ken Light knew he would become a photojournalist on April 28, 1970. While studying at Ohio University, Light traveled to Ohio State University, where he photographed the student riots that took place a week before the tragic events at Kent State University.

What’s Going On: America Then - Photographs and text by Ken Light | LensCulture

America in the late 60s and early 70s was an America full of fear and full of hope—a country at its worst and at its best and for all the difficulties, it was an America we should not forget

Boomers had a dream, and maybe our dream was naïve. A lot of us believed we could live our lives and build the world around two basic precepts: love and peace. We believed we were the generation that would do away with war. We believed that we would do away with greed, and in its place we'd create a world that would revolve around compassion and camaraderie, personal and political liberation.

Envisioning Human Rights Part III Stephen Ferry, Ken Light, Stephen Goldblatt, Sebastião Salgado – The Eye of Photography

We’ve become such a 24/7 moving world with a constant stream of news and sound and pictures,” writes Light. “And the wonderful thing of a still photograph is you get to linger, you get to stop, you get to look, you get to think, you get to react, and it is a very different experience.

PPOTR Dispatch #13: Interview with Ken Light

Execution Chamber, Walls Unit, Huntsville (1994), from Texas Death Row @Ken Light In early October, Ken Light and I sat down to discuss his project and book Texas Death Row (University Press of Mis…

In early October, Ken Light and I sat down to discuss his project and book Texas Death Row (University Press of Mississippi, 1997).

A Photographer's Trail to Appalachia

Forty years ago, Ken Light was introduced to the power of photojournalism. His journey has taken him to Appalachia and other places.

Ken Light arrived in an Appalachia whose impoverished areas had shrunk but where poverty was still deeply rooted. The people he met wanted to work but found none available.

Worth a Look: The Valley of Shadows | dvafoto

valleyofshadows 1.jpg

Worth a Look: The Valley of Shadows | dvafoto:

Newsweek’s just published a brilliant and far-reaching investigation into California’s growing economic and water crises. The Valley of Shadows, a five-part series comprising wonderful photos by Ken Light, original reporting, interactive maps, and audio, is a great example of what most journalism might look like in a few year

Review: 'Witness in Our Time' by Ken Light


Jim McNay says:

After several months—or years—on the shelves of serious photographers, it’s time to take this volume down again and give it a look. For all of us who have complained about how tough things are now in these times—and who among us has not complained?—the voices in this book remind us photojournalism and documentary photography were never easy, not for those during photojournalism’s Golden Age, not even for those included in this book who are generally accepted as stars in the profession.

Coal Hollow, photos by Ken Light

From The Digital Journalist (link to gallery at bottom of page):

Ken Light, who teaches photography at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, has five previous documentary books to his credit and also produced Witness In Our Time: Working Lives of Documentary Photographers (Smithsonian Press, October 2000). He prefers photographing with the medium format (but used 35mm for his book Texas Death Row, where he wanted the discretion and high film speed it allows). For Coal Hollow he used Mamiya 6s, a rangefinder camera with a 6 x 6 cm negative that handles like a Leica. Although working with an eye-level viewfinder, he often gets low with the camera, going eye-to-eye with a short dog or looking up at faces. His close-to-the-face portraits leave us no doubt that many of these people have had hard, damaging lives without decent medical care. All of the 82 duotones are full-square, and nearly fill their 11-inch square pages, allowing full appreciation of their rich tonality and detail. Some believe the square format is a difficult working space – the frame lacks a dominant direction, leaving a potential for static compositions. Ken is a master of the square composition and his images are alive with energy and dynamic interest. In addition to landscapes, signs, portraits, close-ups and environmentals, he records active situations including a tent revival and a wrestling match.