152 - Christian Patterson


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American photographer Christian Patterson was born in Wisconsin and lives in New York City. His conceptually grounded, narratively driven, visually layered work has been described as novelistic, subjective documentary of the historical past, and often deals with themes of the archive, authorship, memory, place and time. It includes photographs, drawings, paintings, objects, video and sound.

Christian moved from Brooklyn, New York to Memphis, Tennessee in 2002 to seek out his photographic hero William Eggleston. They became friends and Christian ended up working for him at the William Eggleston Trust, under the stewardship of William’s son, Winston.

In 2005, Christian completed his first project, Sound Affects, a collection of photographs that explore Memphis utilizing light and color as visual analogues to sound and music. In 2008, Sound Affects was published as a book by Edition Kaune, Sudendorf (Cologne). Christian’s second monograph the critically-acclaimed Redheaded Peckerwood was published by MACK in 2011 and was almost universally lauded as one of the best books of the year by numerous noted international photography critics. It was nominated for the 2012 Kraszna-Krausz Book Award and won the prestigious 2012 Recontres d’Arles Author Book Award. The book featured in The Photobook: A History, Volume 3, co-edited by Gerry Badger and Martin Parr.

Christian’s third book, Bottom of the Lake was published in 2015. He is a Guggenheim Fellow (2013) and winner of the Grand Prix Images Vevey (2015). His work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and J. Paul Getty Museum among others. Christian has lectured, mentored and taught widely and is represented by Robert Morat Galerie, Berlin.

On episode 152, Christian discusses, among other things:

  • His current project, Gong Co. and how it came about.
  • Discovering William Eggleston during his early years in New York.
  • Going down to Memphis to meet him and ending up working with him.
  • Addressing some of the myths and misconception around Eggleston.
  • Reheaded Peckerwood - Badlands as an influence.
  • Going to Nebraska where the original events occurred.
  • The influence and success of the book.


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“You’re expressing yourself and you’re taking part in the larger conversation that’s happening in your field. I wanted to take part in the conversation and I wanted to feel like I was influencing, shaping or expanding that conversation in a way.”

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