By William Carter

Photographer, Author, Jazz Musician

Gone Tomorrow?

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Musings on Permanence/Impermanence

Rhyolite, Nevada 1970

In a nation often characterized by its frontier past, the zest for the Now has always contended with its opposite: the urge to constellate older, permanent values. Centuries of the wide open West brought us the enduring myth of cowboy who roamed freely across open spaces but whose assignment was often to save a threatened town. Trappers, miners and farmers kept moving on to the next big thing. Less romanticized, other farmers and their town-dwelling cousins put down roots, planting for permanence.

Today the theme lives on in other forms, such as in the struggle between development and preservation. Or between the risks of global thinking and the reassurances of old-time religion.  Universally, man struggles for immortality against his evident mortality.

My first two books – Ghost Towns of the West and Middle West Country – probed America’s frontier tensions in detail. My most recent one, Causes and Spirits, is a photographic art book of worldwide scope; yet it, too, explores the contest between “dust to dust” on the one hand, and surpassing vision on the other. Threaded through the book in varying dimensions, the underlying polarity can be summed up here in two images involving the widespread deployment of Greek classical architecture. References to a shared European ancestry and taste, such structures served as emblems of a hoped-for permanence as America unfurled its banner westward.

Northern Minnesota, 1973

Some dreams were broken. Some dreams survived.

Copyright statement: William Carter papers, © Stanford University Libraries. Click here for a detailed usage guide.

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Written by bywilliamcarter

November 14, 2018 at 9:55 am

Those Teens Part 8

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With the present series of posts. I bring together photographs made from 1958 to 2014 — 56 years — highlighting teenagers from cultures worldwide. Where it is sometimes not obvious if someone is technically a teen, or a bit younger or older, I have opted to be inclusive.

Wide differences of time and place, class and society are obvious in this series. More and more, though, my way of seeing has been to look past the external differences — toward the humanity, the soul that unites.

teens8.1Yemen, c. 1965

teens8.2Gaza, c. 1993

teens8.3California, c. 1972

teens8.4Indiana, c. 1972

teens8.5Washington, c. 1962

teens8.6Illinois, c. 1973

teens8.7California, c. 1970

Copyright statement: William Carter papers, © Stanford University Libraries. Click here for a detailed usage guide.

Written by bywilliamcarter

November 2, 2018 at 12:00 pm

THEN AS NOW?

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When I saw the online New York Times piece this morning (above), October 28, 2018, featuring the stunning Yemen photographs by Tyler Hicks, my aching heart made me want to do something: then the heart messaged the brain that 54 years ago I had gone, as a young photojournalist, to a little-known, impoverished war zone called Yemen. This was at the invitation of a veteran New York Times Middle East Bureau Chief named Dana Adams Schmidt. An under-publicized, savage, tribal civil war was going on. One side was sponsored by Egypt, its arms supplied by the Soviet Union; the other side was supplied by Saudi Arabia, with its plentiful supply of American arms (sound familiar?).

Although Dana and I were unable to reach the combat zone, unsubstantiated rumors were circulating that the U.S.-made fighter jets were raining down a fairly new, horrifying kind of chemical weapon called napalm on the northern Yemeni tribesmen. (Before long napalm would become well known to the American public due to its widespread use in Vietnam.) A few weeks after our New York Times-based visit, a colleague, correspondent Dick Beeston of the London Daily Telegraph, nearly got himself killed traveling to northern Yemen where he searched for, and eventually found, and carried home, a piece of shrapnel quickly identified by experts as part of an American-made napalm shell.

Then as now, bigger stories tended to eclipse U.S. public awareness of such “far-away” events. (Such as the huge, illicit, worldwide shipments of black market arms brokered by a prominent Saudi billionaire coincidentally (?) named Adnan Khashoggi).

How far away is all this from Hicks’ digital color masterpieces of the wrinkled bodies and dying faces half a century later? Too far? Or not far enough? In my ongoing series,I have already shared some of my 1964 Yemen Kodachromes with you. Here’s one from that same journey, borrowed from my most recent blog on children. Is the black and white imagery outdated? I hope not.

Read my 4-part series, “Yemen: Then as Now?”

Written by bywilliamcarter

October 29, 2018 at 1:10 am

Those Teens Part 7

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With the present series of posts. I bring together photographs made from 1958 to 2014 — 56 years — highlighting teenagers from cultures worldwide. Where it is sometimes not obvious if someone is technically a teen, or a bit younger or older, I have opted to be inclusive.

Wide differences of time and place, class and society are obvious in this series. More and more, though, my way of seeing has been to look past the external differences — toward the humanity, the soul that unites.

ateens7.1jpgEngland, c. 1967

teens7.2Iraq, c. 1965

teens7.3California, c. 1960

teens7.4Illinois, c. 1973

teens7.5California, c. 1974

teens7.6Yemen, c. 1964

teens7.7Tibet, c. 1992

Copyright statement: William Carter papers, © Stanford University Libraries. Click here for a detailed usage guide.

Written by bywilliamcarter

October 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Those Teens Part 6

with one comment


With the present series of posts. I bring together photographs made from 1958 to 2014 — 56 years — highlighting teenagers from cultures worldwide. Where it is sometimes not obvious if someone is technically a teen, or a bit younger or older, I have opted to be inclusive.

Wide differences of time and place, class and society are obvious in this series. More and more, though, my way of seeing has been to look past the external differences — toward the humanity, the soul that unites.

teens6.1Virginia, c. 2010

teens6.2Virginia, c. 2011

teens6.3Illinois, c. 1972

teens6.4Illinois, c. 1972

teens6.5Illinois, c. 1972

teens6.6England, c. 1964

teens6.7England, c. 1964

teens6.8Yemen, c. 1964

Copyright statement: William Carter papers, © Stanford University Libraries. Click here for a detailed usage guide.

Written by bywilliamcarter

October 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Those Teens Part 5

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With the present series of posts. I bring together photographs made from 1958 to 2014 — 56 years — highlighting teenagers from cultures worldwide. Where it is sometimes not obvious if someone is technically a teen, or a bit younger or older, I have opted to be inclusive.

Wide differences of time and place, class and society are obvious in this series. More and more, though, my way of seeing has been to look past the external differences — toward the humanity, the soul that unites.

teens5.1Iraq, c. 1965

teens5.2Iraq, c. 1965

teens5.3Indiana, c. 1972

teens5.4Kansas, c. 1971

teens5.5England, c. 1967

teens5.6England, c. 1967

Copyright statement: William Carter papers, © Stanford University Libraries. Click here for a detailed usage guide.

Written by bywilliamcarter

October 12, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Those Teens Part 4

with 3 comments


With the present series of posts. I bring together photographs made from 1958 to 2014 — 56 years — highlighting teenagers from cultures worldwide. Where it is sometimes not obvious if someone is technically a teen, or a bit younger or older, I have opted to be inclusive.

Wide differences of time and place, class and society are obvious in this series. More and more, though, my way of seeing has been to look past the external differences — toward the humanity, the soul that unites.

teens4.1New York, c. 1963

teens4.2England, c. 1961

teens4.3California, c. 1972

teens4.4Jordan, c. 1993

teens4.5Iraq, c. 1965

teens4.6Washington, c. 1962

Copyright statement: William Carter papers, © Stanford University Libraries. Click here for a detailed usage guide.

Written by bywilliamcarter

October 5, 2018 at 12:00 pm

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