Earlier this year, the Center for Creative Photography extended an invitation to Dr. Alan Trachtenberg, Neil Gray Jr. Professor Emeritus of English and American studies at Yale University, to accept an appointment as Visiting Scholar during the spring semester of 2008.
During his residency at the Center, Dr. Trachtenberg will have the opportunity to use the Center’s extensive collections to continue his exploration of the association of texts and images in photographic books. In addition, he plans to write the concluding chapters of his monograph on the photographic work of American author/photographer Wright Morris (1910-1998). The Center and the University of Chicago Press are currently discussing the possibility of co-publishing this book on Morris, an artist who explored the nature of the “home place” through his photographically illustrated novels. The Center’s large collection of original negatives and photographs obtained directly from Morris’s own studio are essential resources for Trachtenberg’s landmark study. He will also consult the Center’s holdings on American photographer Weegee for a fresh examination of that artist’s influential book Naked City (1945), a pivotal example of documentary photography used for expressive ends.
In addition, while at the University Dr. Trachtenberg will be an important presence in our academic community. He has already begun making contact with faculty in the history and art history departments and is anticipating dialogues and seminar meetings with doctoral students.
Dr. Trachtenberg is one of the most esteemed figures in contemporary photographic history and cultural studies. He received an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Emeritus Fellowship in 2004 for his continuing work on Wright Morris. Other honors include fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Rockefeller Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation. His books include Reading American Photographs: Images as History, Mathew Brady to Walker Evans (winner of the National Museum of American Art’s Eldredge Prize for outstanding scholarship in American art) and many other titles. Trachtenberg joined the Yale faculty in 1969 and since then has served as chair and director of graduate studies in American studies. He currently lives in Hamden, Connecticut, with his wife Betty, former Dean of Students at Yale College, who will be accompanying him to Tucson.