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The Arts of Russell Autrey


Man with Corn.

Man with Corn.

Special exhibit of his photography and drawings to open Sept. 9 at George Memorial Library

Russell Autrey

Russell Autrey photo- Kathy Autrey

A special Fort Bend County Libraries’ exhibit, The Arts of Russell Autrey: Artist, Photo­grapher, Raconteur, will open on Sunday, Sept. 9 in the Boha­chevsky Gallery of the George Memorial Library, located at 1001 Golf­view in Richmond. The public is invited to attend the opening reception for the exhibit from 2-4 p.m on Sunday.

The exhibit will showcase Autrey’s pen-and-ink drawings and storytelling skills as well as his magnificent photography, and will continue through Oct. 31.

A long-time photojournalist for Hart­man Newspapers’ The Herald-Coaster (now the Fort Bend Herald and Texas Coaster), as well as for the Houston Chronicle, Autrey is best known for his photographs that caught snippets of the daily lives of Fort Bend County residents for more than 25 years, from 1983 until his retirement in 2009.

Denise Adams, a fellow reporter at The Herald-Coaster, once remarked that Autrey “captures the every-day in an extraordinary way.” Through the lens of his camera, Autrey documented wholesome Americana, from cotton harvests and livestock shows to children dancing through water puddles, creating masterpieces of art from simple, everyday life.

As the photography world evolved from manual film to digital images, Autrey’s skills also grew. Digital photography has enabled him to manipulate photographs and add imaginative elements for a new generation of artistic creations, often with humorous features that reflect his view of life with all of its quirks and idiosyncrasies.

A longtime fan of newspaper columnist Leon Hale, who is known for his folksy tales of country life, Autrey often shares stories and tidbits about the photos he takes. His simple observations of life have become as captivating as his artwork, and he tells his anecdotes in true Leon Hale style.

Visitors to the exhibit will have a unique opportunity to hear Autrey’s stories while they are viewing his works of art. Photos for which he had a description will have a coordinating QR code with an audio recording of Autrey sharing his memories of the photo and the story behind each one. This innovative element to the exhibit enables visitors to appreciate both the visual and aural talents of the artist.

To experience this multi-dimensional feature, visitors will need a smartphone that has Wi-Fi, active Internet access, and a QR reader (various free QR reader options are available for download from the Apple App or Google Play stores). George Memorial Library provides free WiFi access to the public throughout the building. For convenience, visitors may also wish to bring earphones for their smartphones.

While best-known for his brilliant photography, Autrey also enjoys expressing his creativity through pen-and-ink drawings. He credits an early art teacher for awakening his appreciation for all kinds of art, architecture, and music, and he initially began his artistic pursuits as a sketch artist. When a high school assignment placed a mail-order 35mm camera in his hands, his artistic eye became focused on photography, but his love of sketching has always continued in the background. The exhibit includes some of these lesser-known hidden gems that shine no less brightly beside their photographic counterparts.

The exhibit may be viewed during regular library hours: Sunday, 1-5 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit fortbend.lib.tx.us or call the library’s Communications Office at 281-633-4734.

Pelican Sunset.

Pelican Sunset.

Double-Crested Cormorant.

Double-Crested Cormorant.

Raindrop Hanging.

Raindrop Hanging.

Father and son Labor Day break, 1980s.

Father and son Labor Day break, 1980s

Glen Flora.

Glen Flora.

New Formation.

New Formation.

Super Moon.

Super Moon.


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