Since the 1970s, color photography has been gaining legitimacy in an art world previously dominated by the black-and-white print. Through April 23, the Colby College Museum of Art will exhibit color photographs including images ranging from William Christenberry’s small-scale photographs of Alabama gas stations to Elke Morris’s recent shots of run-down Maine tenement buildings. COLORS: Contemporary Color Photography includes 29 works by 12 American photographers.

Elke Morris, Domicile I
Iris Print, 30 X 40″
Courtesy of the artist

Several works by Christenberry present a unique vision of the American South. An Alabama native, Christenberry’s photography is marked by a contrast between the old, mundane subjects he chooses and his use of saturated color. The Washington Post has described his art as “tinged with regret, a song set to the music of a world that is most beautiful when it is falling apart.”

Elke Morris, a Bates College professor, creates photographs of aging buildings in Maine’s industrial towns. Her large-scale prints capture these decaying architectural sites with the precision of a scientific specimen, while her purposefully blurring of parts of the scene gives her photographs a surreal quality.

“It is a pleasure to be able to bring together some of the strongest photography being done in the state today and show it alongside photographs from the museum’s permanent collection,” said the exhibition’s curator, Lunder Curator of American Art Sharon Corwin. Colby’s collection includes prints from the promised gift of Dr. William Tsiaras ’68 and Nancy Meyer Tsiaras ’68, and recent acquisitions in the medium.

Among other artists included are Maine-based Thomas Birtwistle; painter, photographer and printmaker Chuck Close; photojournalist and chronicler of youth culture Lauren Greenfield; Portland landscape photographer Scott Peterman; Robert Polidori, who focuses on urban architecture; and William Wegman, creator of recognizable Weimaraner portraits.

The Colby College Museum of Art is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, and the museum is accessible to people with disabilities.