Renowned photographer, James Archambeault has the rare ability to capture the historic, archival, and artistic aspects of his photographic subjects. His award-winning craft is evident in the careful selection of time, season, and subjects in his beloved Kentucky. In his new book, he preserves the landscapes, buildings, and sights of old Kentucky as many of them fall into neglect, become irreversibly altered, or disappear completely. For each of the full-color photographs, Archambeault explains the historic and cultural significance of the scene he depicts. Some of these subjects are well-preserved historic landmarks, such as White Hall in Madison County and Federal Hill Mansion, also known as "My Old Kentucky Home," in Bardstown. Others support the daily life and work of Kentuckians, such as a Sunday afternoon baptism on Jessamine Creek or friends sharing their thoughts on a warm February day in Sharpsburg, Bath County. The passing of a different way of life echoes in photographs of a drive-in theater, mom-and-pop grocery stores, covered bridges, and old farm houses.
Archambeault also captures the friction between the historic and future Kentucky, such as grain silos from the early 1930s within view of a new subdivision in Shelby County, or the Joseph Ewing log cabin in Scott County standing on the site of a future industrial park. "James Archambeault's Historic Kentucky" is a photographic elegy to the scenic treasures of our culture. Including a foreword by Wendell Berry, the book reminds us of our responsibility to serve as stewards for Kentucky's rich history and historic places.