Images Worth Remembering

Image courtesy of the Estate of James Karales

A look at the Civil Rights Movement through the lens of James Karales

>Click here to see the photos

Set against a stormy sky, James Karales’s iconic photograph of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march hardly needs words to communicate the weight of the historic moment. On assignment for Look magazine in the 1960s, Karales captured the photo above along with many others that remain some of the most intimate and powerful images of the Civil Rights Movement.

Marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Charleston’s Gibbes Museum of Art debuts Witness to History: Civil Rights Era Photographs by James Karales (January 11–May 12). The new exhibit will showcase forty vintage Karales prints that include everything from quiet moments at home with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to indelible images of persecution and protest that became touchstones for the movement. In addition to the exhibition, two Karales compendiums are set to hit bookshelves this spring—Controversy and Hope: The Civil Rights Photographs of James Karales (University of South Carolina Press) and James Karales (New York City-based Steidl and Howard Greenburg Gallery)—underscoring the lasting power of Karales’s work.

“His photographs are not only special because they document the movement’s significant people and events but also because his images capture the very essence of these moments,” says exhibit curator Sara Arnold. “The tension, frustration, passion, or determination associated with each scene is palpable to the viewer even now.”

>Click here for a look at more of the acclaimed photographer’s work.