Sheldon Statewide: James Alinder
Learn more about a work from the 2022-2023 Sheldon Statewide exhibition, “On The Road Again.” This photograph is titled "Mt. Rushmore, Black Hills, South Dakota" and was made by James Alinder in 1971. Sheldon Statewide is an annual program through which artworks from the museum’s collection travel to venues throughout Nebraska. Since its inception in 1987, the program has taken exhibitions to 25 communities, reaching more than 365,000 people. “On The Road Again” will be presented in Chadron, North Platte, McCook, Grand Island, York, Beatrice, Fremont, and Falls City.
icon search Searchable Transcript
Toggle between list and paragraph view.
[00:00:08.430]James Alinder grew up in Minneapolis
[00:00:10.680]and was already working as a freelance photographer
[00:00:13.110]when he was a teenager.
[00:00:14.760]He studied at Macalester College
[00:00:16.830]and the University of Minnesota,
[00:00:18.660]where he was involved with the Peace Corps.
[00:00:21.000]Through that organization, he spent time in Somalia working
[00:00:24.360]as the photography advisor to the Ministry of Information
[00:00:27.210]in Mogadishu from 1964 to 1966.
[00:00:31.590]He later earned an MFA at the University of New Mexico
[00:00:34.860]and then came to work as a photography professor
[00:00:37.140]at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
[00:00:39.090]where he led popular workshops and lectures.
[00:00:42.810]Throughout his career James Alinder created many series,
[00:00:46.200]including one that focused on panoramic photographs
[00:00:48.990]like "Mount Rushmore, Black Hills, South Dakota."
[00:00:52.080]These works feature of a variety of different subjects
[00:00:54.870]but often include Alinder's family as this photograph does.
[00:00:59.070]Another photograph in Sheldon's collection
[00:01:01.140]entitled "Neil Armstrong Space Center" shows
[00:01:03.990]a consistent interest in both style and subject matter.
[00:01:08.670]James Alinder had a close relationship with Ansel Adams,
[00:01:12.060]a well known photographer most famous for his images
[00:01:14.850]of the American West, specifically of the national parks.
[00:01:18.720]Sheldon has several photographs by Ansel Adams
[00:01:20.910]in its collection, such as this image
[00:01:22.860]from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
[00:01:25.860]Here we can see that, while Alinder and Adams
[00:01:28.290]share an interest in the natural world, their approaches
[00:01:31.170]to the scale and specifics of the subject matter differ.
[00:01:35.040]In "The Tetons and The Snake River,"
[00:01:37.140]Adams looks at the phenomenal, the fantastic,
[00:01:39.960]and we don't see any trace of humanity in the landscape.
[00:01:43.800]Another work by Adams in Sheldon's collection
[00:01:46.087]"Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico" does contain traces
[00:01:49.650]of human life in the landscape but still emphasizes the sky
[00:01:53.490]with the low horizon line and contrast of light and dark,
[00:01:56.730]aggrandizing nature over humanity.
[00:02:00.270]On the other hand, in "Mount Rushmore, Black Hills,
[00:02:02.910]South Dakota," Alinder pays closer attention
[00:02:05.820]to the everyday and the personal.
[00:02:07.530]He includes the soaring mountains that bear the faces
[00:02:10.740]of four US presidents, but he also includes his family
[00:02:14.490]and the recreational vehicles that ferry people
[00:02:16.770]to and from vacation destinations such as this.
[00:02:20.700]After developing a friendship,
[00:02:22.440]Adams invited Alinder to become the executive director
[00:02:25.320]of the Friends of Photography in Carmel, California.
[00:02:28.680]This organization is
[00:02:29.910]America's largest nonprofit photography organization,
[00:02:33.360]and Alinder led it for 12 years.
[00:02:35.940]Upon retirement from the organization in 1990,
[00:02:38.940]he returned to working as a full-time artist.
[00:02:42.000]He also runs a photography gallery
[00:02:43.740]in California with his wife, where they sell photographs
[00:02:46.740]by Ansel Adams as well as emerging artists.
[00:02:50.190]Now that you know more about James Alinder and his career
[00:02:52.590]in photography, do you view his work differently?
[00:02:55.620]What artistic priorities can you see and how do you think
[00:02:58.620]his life may have influenced this photograph?
Log in to post comments