Guide to the Henry Horenstein photographs, 1971-2013
Collection comprises black-and-white and color photographic prints by Henry Horenstein, selected from major bodies of work created from 2017 to 2013. Most series are represented by one to three prints. Subjects in this collection range widely: portraits of Horenstein's family; studies of the human body; portraits of dancers, burlesque and drag performers, and blues and country musicians; street scenes, storefronts, highways, and nightlife in various locations; and images from horse races, including a portrait of jockey Steve Cauthen. Locations include Los Angeles; Louisiana; Maryland; Massachusetts; New York City and Saratoga, N.Y.; Texas; and Caracas and Buenos Aires, Venezuela. Branson is a town in Missouri. "Wesorts" refers to a documentary project about unique tri-racial communities in Maryland; the single print in this series is of a barbershop storefront. Formats include chromogenic, pigment inkjet (giclee), and gelatin silver prints, sized 16x16 to 16x23 inches. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.
- Collection Number
- Henry Horenstein photographs
- 1.5 Linear Feet, 2 boxes
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Materials in English
Collection comprises black-and-white and color prints by photographer Henry Horenstein, selected from bodies of work created from 1971 to 2013. Subjects range widely: studies of the human body; portraits of dancers, drag and burlesque performers in Los Angeles, New York City, and Caracas and Buenos Aires, Venezuela; portraits of country and blues musicians, including Dolly Parton and Doc Watson; and portraits of street musicians and people in bars. "Wesorts" refers to a project to document small, unique communities in and near Marbury, Maryland; the term is said to have been coined from the phrase "we sorts of people") in Maryland; the single image in this series is of a barbershop storefront. Other images include portraits of Horenstein's family; street scenes and nightlife in various places; a highway in Louisiana; a historic theater in Branson, Missouri; and images from horse races, one of which is a portrait of noted jockey Steven Cauthen.
The prints are sized from 16x16 to 16x23 inches and are unmatted; formats include chromogenic, pigment inkjet (giclee), and gelatin silver prints. The prints are all signed, and some are marked with limited-edition numbers and other information.
With only a few exceptions, the images in this collection have been published in Horenstein's photobooks, including Honky Tonk, Humans, and Shoot What You Love, and have been exhibited widely.
Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.
The prints are organized by body of work, in alphabetical order: Branson; Close Relations; Honky Tonk; Humans; Louisiana; Margins; Racing Days; Shoot What You Love; Show; Venezuela; and Wesorts.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research. Images may only be used for educational, non-commercial purposes; any other use requires the photographer's permission.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Henry Horenstein photographs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Images were taken in the historic Sons of the Pioneers Theater in Branson, Missouri. They were both published in Branson and Shoot What You Love.
Mural of celebrities at the Sons of the Pioneers historic theater in Branson, Missouri.
Two portraits of Horenstein family members, and one of a pet dog in the family bedroom, all taken in Massachusetts. All three images were published in Close Relations, and one each in Shoot What You Love and Histories.
These photographs belong to a project by Henry Horenstein to document American music traditions through images of performers, local bars and music festivals, and the people who frequent these venues. The images in this series feature photographic portraits of country and bluegrass musicians Dolly Parton and Doc Watson, and blues musician Mance Lipscomb; a portrait of a street musician in Texas; and an individual drinking beer in a bar in Baton Rouge.
Marks: No. 293, #12
Edition: 7 of 25. Marks: 388
Edition: 15 of 25. Marks: 288 / #7 / AMC 11 '07
4. Humans, 2003
Images are selected from a 2003 project to photograph features of the human body from a very close-up, intimate perspective. All were published in Horenstein's photobook, Humans.
Edition: 1 of 25. Marks: 04-103 #24 / GH 13
Edition: 2 of 25
This print was published in the photobook Shoot What You Love.
The image of Falcone was published in Shoot What You Love.
Prints belong to an older project documenting the culture and surroundings of horse racing in New York State, Maryland, and other localities. These three images were published in photobook Racing Days, and one each in Histories and Shoot What You Love.
Marks: 772-11 / 1 of 4
Title of this series refers to advice Horenstein received from a photography mentor; it is also the title of Horenstein's 2016 visual memoir, Shoot What You Love: Tips and Tales From a Working Photographer in which many of the images of this collection appear.
Prints belong to a documentary project in which Horenstein photographed cabaret and drag performers in Los Angeles, New York City, and other places. All four images in this series were published in the photobook Show, and two in Shoot What You Love.
Marks: 3/15 AC print '09
Marks: 4/15 AC '09
Marks: 2/15 AC print Feb 2012
10. Wesorts, 2006
This single print is part of a project in the mid-2000s to document small, unique communities in central Maryland in which the majority of inhabitants are of mixed race, frequently tri-racial. The name of the series and project refers to a term, "we sorts," used by locals to describe themselves.
American-born photographer, documentary filmmaker, author, and teacher based in Boston, Henry Horenstein is noted for his portraiture and documentary projects on a wide variety of subjects. Horenstein studied history at the University of Chicago and received a BFA and MFA at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he is currently professor of photography. He studied photography with Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and Minor White. His work has been widely exhibited at hte Smithsonian, J. Paul Getty Museum, the High Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and published in collections such as Racing Days (1987); Humans (2004); Animalia (2008); Honky Tonk: Portraits of Country Music (2012); and Shoot What You Love (2016).
From the artist's own statement about his work:
"Over the years I've photographed many different types of subjects, even animals and the human form. But I've always returned to my roots as a documentary photographer. More than anything, I like a good story. And I try to tell one in a direct way, with humor and a punch line, if possible. With this in mind, I have photographed country musicians in Nashville, my family and friends in Massachusetts, horse racing at Saratoga, nightlife in Buenos Aires, old highways everywhere, everyone in Cajun Louisiana, South American baseball, camel breeding in Dubai, tri-racial families in Maryland, and much, much more."
"For subjects, I prefer older cultures and places, especially disappearing ones. That's what my history teachers, Jesse Lemisch (at University of Chicago) and E. P. Thompson (at University of Warwick), taught me to do. These cultures and places might vanish, but it is a historian's righteous duty to make sure that they leave a trace. I also was very influenced by another teacher in Chicago, John G. Cawelti, who taught me (and doubting historians predating him) that popular culture should be taken seriously. One other great influence for me was my teacher at Rhode Island School of Design, Harry Callahan. Harry encouraged me to 'shoot what you love,' and to pay no attention to what others are doing. "Even if you make bad pictures," he said, 'you'll have a good time.' Thank you for that, Harry."
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Burlesque shows -- Photographs
- Dancers -- Portraits
- Documentary photographers -- Massachusetts
- Drag shows -- Photographs
- Female impersonators -- Portraits
- Horse racing -- Photographs
- Musicians -- Portraits
The Henry Horenstein photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 2017.
Processed by Yunqiao Cao and Paula Jeannet; encoded by Paula Jeannet, December 2017-January 2018.
Accession(s) represented in this collection guide: 2017-0204