Iris BookCafé & Gallery

1331 Main Street
Cincinnati (Over-the-Rhine), OH 45202
Iris BookCafé & Gallery


Top: Guy Mendes, Wendell Berry, with Nip & Jed, Henry County, KY (2012) , and Carey Gough, Rosine Barn Jamorbee, Ohio County (2011), 2014, Inkjet print
Courtesy of Guy Mendes and Carey Gough

Blue Roots and Uncommon Wealth: The Kentucky Photographs of Carey Gough and Guy Mendes

Oct. 3, 2014 – Jan. 25, 2015
Mon–Thurs: 8 am–9 pm | Fri: 8 am–7 pm | Sat: 10 am–7 pm | Sun: 11 am–9 pm | Final Fridays: 8 am–10 pm

Guy Mendes’ photographs are landscapes and portraits, often of authors and musicians, gathered from his life in Kentucky from the 1970s to the present. Carey Gough photographs the sites of Kentucky’s rich heritage of old time and bluegrass music. Blue Roots and Uncommon Wealth: The Kentucky Photographs of Carey Gough and Guy Mendes is a visual homage to the Commonwealth of Kentucky — also called the Bluegrass State — by two generations of artists.

Guy Mendes arrived at the University of Kentucky from his native New Orleans in 1966, intending to become a journalist. An anti-war rally speech by Wendell Berry led to a friendship and visits to Ralph Eugene Meatyeard’s Eyeglasses of Kentucky shop and gallery, where he also saw photographs by Emmett Gowin and Bill Burke, becoming a student and photographic companion of Meatyard’s. For 40 years he has worked as a writer, director and producer for Kentucky Educational Television, winning several Emmy awards. Along the way he has become one of Kentucky’s best known and respected photographers, as drawn to the remarkable people of his state as to its compelling landscapes.

Originally from the great state of Kentucky, Carey Gough currently calls Shrewsbury, England, home, though she frequently returns to Kentucky to visit family and friends and photograph the region her heart truly loves. She considers Guy Mendes her teacher and mentor, and credits him with being “ the man who started this project; he gave me a book when I was 17 that got me interested in the areas from which Kentucky music came and the rest is history.” She has frequently titled the work, "A Music So Subtle and Vast" (from a poem of Wendell Berry’s). Her photographs of Kentucky are evocations, laced with an emigrant’s longing, rooted in a still present past. She recently received her MFA in Documentary Photography from the University of Wales. 


Oct. 19, 2014
Iris BookCafé & Gallery, 1331 Main Street | Over-the-Rhine 45202


Photographic presentation and Artist Talk by Guy Mendes (with a musical performance by Jay Bolotin) on Sunday, October 19, at 2 pm.

Reservation Information:

Free and open to the public.