Exhibits + News

A new photo blog series, "Living Spaces," elicited two eloquent responses:

Dear Sir, Thank you for these photographs. In the clutter of my daily life your pictures invite me to living and living spaces that are clear, nuanced, simple, textured, and — especially when I look at the 4th one with that lovely gentle veiling and unveiling— not beholden to fear, the fear of peace or of dying. But lest I get too serious here: they also remind me of the sweet smell of laundry drying outside (I live in paradise, no pollution here). Best wishes and thank you again, --Rahel Hahn

“Each picture is like a visual poem calling to mind Emily Dickenson in their spare and ambiguous content.” —Weston Naef, Founding Curator of Photographs, J. Paul Getty Museum

HAPPY 2016!  The past year saw several important museums, large and small, across the U.S., bringing Carter prints into their permanent collections, from Texas to New England, to Chicago and California. Among the larger institutions, the J. Paul Getty in Los Angeles doubled their Carter holdings by acquiring 104 pieces across several subject categories, particularly Carter’s better known nudes, and — particularly — his less-often exhibited closeup collection of northern Italian village life in the 1980s-90s.  Meanwhile, Stanford University Libraries’ Special Collections has become the permanent repository for underlying swaths of this multidimensional photojournalist-author’s work, such as negatives, slides, tear sheets, jazz portraits and related ephemera.

William Carter's social media numbers continued to rise during 2015 and into January 2016. As of January 12, 2016, his blog had 6,017 followers, his Twitter account (@bywilliamcarter) had 6,019 followers and his Facebook page was "liked" by 4,688. HIs blogposts have recently reached from 6K to 12K people worldwide when crossposted to Facebook.

My interview with Italian journalist/blogger Giulia Levi,"Peshmerga, interview with William Carter." appears in the November 18, 2014 issue of her blog, International Today.

June 15, 2014:  Responding to William Carter’s blog series on teens, Weston Naef calls Carter "a master of recording generational transitions, whether they are teens, pre-teens, ‘tweens,' or just plain young adults.”

Naef is the Founder and Former Chief Curator of the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum of Art, Los Angeles

"They are stunning portraits of a stage of life that rarely is graced with such empathy. The souls are there in the faces."
—TV host Chris Matthews, May 2014, commenting on Carter’s latest blog post “Those Teens — Part 2”

The May 2014 issue of the Sun Magazine featured this photo of mine which was also used as the cover art for my 2011 book, Causes and Spirits. A recent blog post features other images I captured that same day in November 1962 in Staten Island, NY. The blog post title is "History of a Cover Image."


Amid millions of words, thousands of listeners, hundreds of devotees, a teacher of mine always summed up his message, both in the US and in India as

"God dwells in you as you."

Perhaps this resonates most keenly in one who works as an artist daily, feeling for expression for the inexpressible. Here is a rainbow that appeared south of our deck two weeks ago -- nothing like it in 20 years. With the camera lens adjusted for proper transmission, the film or sensor can bloom with a brilliant image of the transcendent. 9/23/13

rainbow_wc.jpg - medium

New Photo Blog Series:

"Jazz Emerges"

A lifelong preoccupation with traditional New Orleans jazz inspired my book, Preservation Hall (W.W. Norton, 1991). While doing my own shooting, I uncovered a trove of historical photos I decided to mix with my own (sources available on request). Like the music itself, this project is a blend of old and new, personal and professional. Blogs, like recordings, add a fresh dimension to a traditional art.

Part 1    Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5     Part 6      Part 7

Carters in SF MOMA Show

From November 29, 2012 the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is showing the following 4 William Carter prints. Part of Carter’s “Humanity” series, as represented in his book Causes and Spirits, these photographs are in SF MOMA’s permanent collection and can be seen in the rooms displaying the Museum’s ongoing series, “Picturing Modernity.” View the photographs here.

New Photo Blog Series:

"The Middle Americans"

"...I was inspired, in this fall of 2012, to dig beyond the book, into my Americana files. I found seventy-plus black-and-white images that I'll be sharing in blog postings over the next several weeks. Enjoy - and perhaps recognize?"

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5     Part 6      Part 7



--Photography News

“William Carter’s half-century career,” writes Matt Damsker in the authoritative Photography News, contributes “strongly and compassionately to the visual grammar with places as disparate as the American West and the Midwest, Europe, the Middle East, and India.” Causes and Spirits, a “capstone” work of a fifty-year career, exemplifies “clarity, crispness and unpretentious style...Carter’s heartfelt testament to who he is and where he’s been” adding “nothing flashy or ego-driven” but rather “deliberate craft and humanistic commitment...”

In Causes and Spirits “Carter’s street photography sweeps us through the cities and mid-century moments of his professional heyday. Children glimpsed from the windows of New York’s Lower East Side, the lunchtime loungers of Midtown, the down-and-outers of the Bowery, the idle elderly in Washington Square, and all the equivalent humanity glimpsed in Illinois, Seattle, Ireland, Italy, and the Middle East: these are Carter’s ultimate subjects, portrayed in nearly every case with an unforced naturalism and technical rigor. The sharp, high-contrast exposures and clean, unfussy composition never fail to focus our viewing eye on the everyday drama of global life-as-lived.”

“Yet Carter’s rhetoric is subdued, avoiding in-your-face pathos... his unsentimental feel for the urban relaxes in lush pastorals...’Decades of exposure to gritty photojournalism, and to Hindu and Buddhist understandings, had proved to me that the ‘real’ world never really changes,’ Carter writes toward the end of this generously chronicled photo-journey, adding at one point, ‘Attitude is everything.’  With so much visual evidence, it is hard to argue with Carter’s assessment of the world and his place in it. “Causes and Spirits” is as solid and refreshing a book of photography as we are likely to encounter this decade.”

Read the entire review by Matt Damsker here.

Read an interview with William Carter in the June/July issue of Artillery Magazine.

May, 2012: For our German-speaking friends, here is an article about William Carter, including some of his photographs,
from the German magazine Rheinkulture.

April, 2012: the following major museums are currently acquiring William Carter photographs into their permanent collections:

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California

Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany

Here are other reviews and comments about Causes and Spirits:

"Many people take photographs, some publish their work. But you have taken my breath away with your magnificent selection of fifty years of framing your lens with such accuracy and humanity. You bring to mind Henri Cartier Bresson and others who have been able to transfer their compassion, their observations onto film. To the multitude this sounds easy, but few are able to show what they feel deeply and are able to see differently from others." --Anonymous

"Causes and Spirits is Carter’s fifth book and spans his 50-year career to date. The collection of images comes from places as diverse as London in the 60s, New York City, Iraq, Italy, and Egypt but they are all tied together by Carter’s one common theme, humanity.

"The autobiographical text that accompanies the images reveals the connections between each photograph while Carter’s anecdotal tales enrich and add to their deeply personal feel. Carter’s images are varied but all are beautiful and all seem to unearth a facet of the human condition, a wonderful collection of photographs." —Jemima Greaves in Black and White UK, November 2011

"Lastly, William Carter: Causes and Spirits (Steidl, £52), in which the Los Angeles-born photographer casts his eye over a 50 year career in photojournalism. Images from around the globe gain immeasurably from his autobiographical notes, which call on Dante, TS Eliot and the Pacific seacoast to explain his attention to the secret miracles of daily life." —Lucy Davies, London Daily Telegraph, October 23, 2011


For a display of the many years of Carter's Sun photographs, click here.


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