Reviews for Controversy and Hope : The Civil Rights Photographs of James Karales

Book News Reviews
James Karales was a staff photographer for Look magazine, and one of a generation of photographers who learned their trade documenting social life on the streets of New York City. He trained with W. Eugene Smith and won the attention of Edward Steichen. He also won the trust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his family. His photographs of King, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the march from Selma to Montgomery, and other aspects of the civil rights movement are collected in this book. The black and white pictures are a remarkable combination of photojournalism, historical record, and the photographer's art. They are collected here by Julian Cox (chief curator, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco), whose excellent credentials include work with the photo collections of the Getty Museum and the High Museum of Art, and several books on photography. He was assisted by Rebekah Jacob (Rebekah Jacob Gallery), a curator specializing in art of the American South, and by Monica Karales, Karales' widow and archivist. They contribute a preface and an afterword. The foreword is by Andrew Young. Cox wrote the main text, which gives context for the photographs and the photographer's career, but does not overshadow the photographs. These capture iconic moments on the fly, with a sensitivity both creative and human that gives viewers new insight into the complex mixtures of emotion, intellect, politics, and stamina at work. They are also notable for Karales' high level of access to events that were not publicly seen (astonishing pictures of SNCC passive resistance training, for instance). Some examples of the photographer's other work (American medics in Vietnam, The Family of Man exhibit, etc.) are included. Strongly recommended for readers and libraries with an interest in fine photography, journalism, civil rights, or 20th century U.S. history. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Choice Reviews 2014 February
James Karales (1930-2002) was a photojournalist whose career of providing pictures for magazines lasted almost until his death. A onetime assistant to W. Eugene Smith, he worked for Look magazine during its last ten years. In that capacity, he covered the turbulent decade of the 1960s, including Vietnam and the civil rights movement. This book brings together 93 images made in the American South between 1960 and 1965, most especially of the Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights in 1965. Many of these photographs have never been published before. Karales befriended Martin Luther King Jr. early on, and through this association had unusual access to him, his family, and his colleagues. Andrew Young, one of the latter, contributes a foreword. Rebekah Jacob is a Charleston gallery owner who, together with the photographer's widow, selected the pictures. The critical and biographical text is by Julian Cox, curator of photography at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Included are reproductions of the proof sheet for Karales's most famous picture and a King essay from Look. This collection is an affecting and candid portrait without the forceful hype of news photography. Chronology and selected bibliography. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers. General Readers; Lower-division Undergraduates; Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty; Professionals/Practitioners. P. C. Bunnell emeritus, Princeton University Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 September #1

Ohio-native and Look photojournalist James Karales (1930-2002) was among the press corps covering the now-famous Alabama civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. That seminal event focused on demands for voting rights and included most of the major figures of the movement. What makes Karales's photos stand out is his ability to find the emotional core and humanity in the images, whether they are of seemingly ordinary activities, of tense moments fraught with danger, or of famous figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his family, to whom Karales had unparalleled access as a photographer. Cox (Spirit into Matter: The Photographs of Edmund Teske) provides a thorough chronicle of Karales's personal life, education, career, and involvement in the civil rights movement. The text is followed by 92 of his photographs, most from the march to Montgomery, that record a crucial period in the civil rights movement. VERDICT Recommended for anyone interested in photojournalism and modern American history.--Eugene C. Burt, Seattle

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 April #3

Selected by curators Cox and Jacob, and Karales's widow, Monica, this collection features 93 of veteran photojournalist James Karales's (1930-2002) images. Karales apprenticed with legendary photojournalist W. Eugene Smith, who had a "transformative" effect on him. The book provides a timeline of Karales's life and career and delves into his work capturing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.--including candid pictures of King relaxing at home with his family. The collection centers on Karales's coverage of the five-day, 54-mile, Selma-to-Montgomery March for Voting Rights in 1965. His most famous shots retain their potency: a line of marchers below a gathering storm cloud; a man partially shaded by the U.S. flag that drapes him; a white amputee crutching the route with determination. There is a remarkable intimacy and spontaneity to Karales's photographs; those of students training with SNCC are especially moving. Several joyful images show black onlookers waving as if at a heroes' parade. The specter of violence looms in certain images, including a man taunting marchers with a Confederate flag. Featuring a foreword by civil rights leader Andrew Young, a preface by Jacob, an afterword by the photographer's widow, and an essay by Cox, the book paints a picture of the photographer's life and his incredible legacy. 121 illus. (May)

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