Closer to Home (Hardcover)
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For over seventy years, Tony King attentively observed the world around him, capturing it with rare artistry as a photographer and elevating the ordinary in a way that can make anyone see their everyday world with fresh eyes. Known particularly for his iconic pictures of wildlife and the New England landscape, King's greater breadth is definitively clear in Closer to Home. There are factories here as well as hawks; portraits of the memorable and less memorable as well as rolling pastures; yawning kindergartners as well as early snowfall on toppled fence posts.
In addition to its topical breadth, Closer to Home reveals more clearly than his other books just how central Worcester and its environs had been not simply to his work, but to the most intimate aspects of King's life. The humor, vitality, repose, pathos, charm, intellect, affection and disarmingly complex simplicity of the images reflect King's own spirit and character. There is a beguiling seamlessness between person, habitat and picture.
There are more than photographs here—King has been fascinated with words his whole life. Modestly, he called his poem-like prose 'fragments' and his maxims 'sardines'. They reflect King's conversation with the world around him. Paired with his pictures, that conversation is the richest art imaginable as it reminds us that the world around us has its own magic. King's "pioneering in place"—discovering for himself how central greater Worcester had been throughout his well-travelled life—works for us all, at any moment, anywhere in the world.
About the Author
Tony King was born in Toronto, Ontario. He went to Massachusetts as a boy to visit his grandparents and later began a career in his grandfather's business. Maintaining both US and Canadian citizenship, he made his home near Worcester, Massachusetts, with his wife Judith Stoddard King and four children. He died in 2017. King cast his thoughtful eye on a wide range of subjects and places and created photographs with honesty and grace. Always inspired by the natural world, he spent his life telling stories in words and photographs. These images have illustrated countless books, including poetry collections and children's stories. His photographs are included in numerous public collections including the Worcester Art Museum, National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Photography Institute, New York's Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
“In Closer to Home, Tony King's Worcester and its environs offer moments alive to a present that is now lost to us. Perfectly composed in black and white, the cumulative effect of these photographs is an almost mournful fleetingness, reminding us of an earlier America at the tail end of our industrial age. Before virtual realities and chain stores, it's a time when if you blinked you missed it. Tony King didn't blink.”—Carol L. Bundy, author of The Nature of Sacrifice: A Biography of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., 1835-64
“Photographer Tony King, the soft-spoken observer of New England, knew his subjects well. His photographs made in Worcester County convey a profound sense of place and time. They capture the life and character of those who, like him, made Worcester, Massachusetts, their home. Closer to Home is a rich compilation of King's images and writings that takes us into his world and teaches us the joy of seeing and learning from everyday life.”—James A. Welu, Director Emeritus, Worcester Art Museum