Portraits for Millenia Program: Jan. 6, 2022

Byrd Williams IV

Launch the new year with a presentation by Byrd Williams IV, whose Walking Dead project/portraits of more than 600 North Texans are a striking photographic record of humans in the early 21st Century. (Find an article about the Walking Dead Project in a Fort Worth Society of Professional Journalists newsletter.)

Williams, right, with a portrait of his grandfather, will explain how he moved from a story concept to image production to exhibition and publication. He says he uses a mixture of personal experience, family photographic tradition and poignant memory to construct a visual rhetoric that “describes the hidden worlds of our frail existence.”

Exhibit portraits – above and below – were prepared using a process to ensure their survival for as long as 400 to 800 years, Williams has said. “After we’re all gone, everybody who’s in the collection is gone,” anthropologists will get to examine “how we dressed, our faces, population movements. This is pure social science, not vanity or art.”

Williams is a fourth-generation photographer whose family has been recording life in North Texas for a century. The family’s work, the Byrd Williams Family Photography Collection,  is archived at the University of North Texas in Denton. The collection has more than 10,000 prints and 300,000 negatives. The materials include commercial and studio photography, western landscapes, documentary studies and fine art.

Williams grew up in the Fort Worth area, attended TCU and received an MFA from SMU. He was never far away from the family photo business with clients ranging from the city, magazines, crime lab, architects, photo finishing. He has photographed everything from the Queen of England to prostitutes in Amsterdam.

Williams’ work is in museums and institutions around the world. He received the William E. Jary, Jr. Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Historical Documentation, Paul R. Voertman Lecture Award and others. He taught at Collin College for more than 20 years.

January Competition

Entries are due for January competition at this meeting. Bring prints to the meeting, submit digital entries and a digital image of your print entry by midnight Jan. 6. Competition is open to members who have paid current year dues; pay for 2022 when you enter.

Covid-19 Precautions

We encourage attendees to follow CDC guidelines. If you have questions, contact your personal physician or caregiver.