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Clay Lancaster's Kentucky: Architectural Photographs of a Preservation Pioneer

by James D. Birchfield

Availablecloth$50.00s 978-0-8131-2421-6
144 pages  Pubdate: 03/30/2007  8.5 x 11  photos

With a Foreword by Roger W. Moss Although Clay Lancaster (1917-2000) established himself as an expert on New York brownstones and California bungalows, the nationally known architectural historian also spent four decades photographing architecture in his native Kentucky. Lancaster had no flash bulb, no tripod, no close-up or wide-angle lenses, but he had a good eye and a love for his subject, producing photos that are works of art as well as documents of local history. Many of the buildings he photographed have been demolished, while others have been restored. Displaying over 150 starkly beautiful black-and-white images alongside James D. Birchfield's insightful commentary, Clay Lancaster's Kentucky not only reveals the architectural treasures found in the Bluegrass State but also demonstrates the vision of an artist.

James D. Birchfield, curator of rare books at the University of Kentucky, is former president of the Warwick Foundation, which promotes the Clay Lancaster legacy through education, preservation, and facilitation of cross-cultural understanding.

Clay Lancaster, an architectural historian and native Kentuckian, was known for his work on nineteenth and twentieth-century American architecture. After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Kentucky, he did post-graduate work at Columbia University, New York University, and the Asia Institute, where he established himself as an outspoken advocate of historical preservation. Also a writer and teacher, Lancaster published several books on architecture and art in addition to lecturing across the country. Lancaster returned to Kentucky in 1978 to continue his work and remained there until his death in 2000.

Like peering into an album filled with photos of dear old relatives, this collection contains snapshots of historically significant architectural structures from around Kentucky. . . . [T]he images were beautifully restored and printed on satin-gloss paper, which adds a touch of luxury to the publication. -- Lexington Herald Leader

Even those less prone to nostalgia will find much to enjoy in this book . . . [which] is, at times, quite funny. -- Louisville Courier-Journal

Lancaster left behind a vast and important collection of his architectural field photographs. Intended as pure documentation, his photographs capture what the purist, in Lancaster's words, 'cannot avoid recording.' -- Pitch

Awarded 2nd place in Overall Excellence in the Southern Books Competition.

awarded 2nd place in Overall Excellence in the Southern Books Competition presented by the Southeastern Library Association