"The significance of this exhibit is that it gave us a chance to profile some noted African American photographers and to come together as the newly formed Louisville Alliance of African American Photographers (LAAAP).
Our mission is to document the history and culture of African Americans in Kentucky, nationally and internationally."
Aukram Burton, Exhibit and Program Chair
The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage
October marked the kick-off of the 2013 Louisville Photo Biennial Festival. The event, which runs from now thru December 31, 2013, celebrates photography as an art form and exhibits various works in participating locations throughout Metro Louisville and parts of Indiana. The 2013 Louisville Photo Biennial focuses on three primary areas of concentration; Historic Works, Generational Works and Exceptional People (the Famous as well as the not so Famous).
What makes this year’s event uniquely interesting is that it is the first ever collaboration of African-American photographers from Louisville, Kentucky whose work spans nearly thirty years of excellence documenting African-Americans locally, nationally and internationally. Their exhibit entitled: Exceptional People in the African Diaspora, is on display at The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage (KCAAH), and contains the work of two Pulitzer Prize winning photographers; Keith Williams (a photo-journalist formerly with the Courier-Journal Newspaper) and Sam Upshaw, Jr. (currently a photo-journalist with the Courier-Journal Newspaper).
I asked retired Courier-Journal Photographer and Pulitzer winner Keith Williams why he felt the exhibit is significant to all who see it?
“There’s a lot of good history that we haven’t been aware of that this exhibit displays. For example, Mr. Stith has been in business for 50 years, 95 years old and is just now retiring from the dry cleaning business. There are two boxers that became trainers also exhibited – Fred Stoner who was dedicated to the Presbyterian Community Center for years started in 1927 and worked tirelessly until his passing, and Leroy Edmundson who was a trainer for Greg Page. Leroy was a nice soft-spoken person, but what knowledge he had he passed on to Greg and he used that knowledge to go on and become heavyweight champion of the world in the WBA. I hope that when people view these images that they come away knowing that African-Americans are a vested part of America. You can see it in the various pictures displayed and the dedication of the photographers recording their history.”
Mr. Stith reflected on his 50 years of service to his community and the importance of relating to people along the way. “Through my lifetime I’ve seen such tremendous change and as you travel through life, you try to do the best you can. You try to be a friendly, agreeable, peace loving individual that likes to meet people and share stories about their upbringing and different places that they’ve been and things like that. We talk a lot about family friends and normal things.”
Other participating photographers taking part in the 2013 Louisville Biennial include; Aukram Burton, Eddie Davis, Bud Dorsey, Jack Norris, Marvin Young and George Williams.