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KFAC to host ‘James Archambeault: Appalachian Kentucky Landscapes’

Morehead State University’s Kentucky Folk Art Center has announced its upcoming exhibition, “James Archambeault: Appalachian Kentucky Landscapes.”  The opening reception will be held on Thursday, Sept. 28, from 6 until 8 p.m.  The exhibition presents 50 of the artist’s iconic photographs of eastern Kentucky.

During the past five decades, Archambeault came to be the preeminent photographer of Kentucky’s varied landscapes and quintessential places. Since the 1970s, he has produced thousands of photographs, six large format books, 34 Kentucky calendars and countless postcards. He also has produced 21 calendars featuring Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, where he owns a vacation home. His work has appeared in Architectural Digest, National Geographic, Time-Life Books and many other publications.

Archambeault was born in Flint, Michigan in 1943. At the age of seven, his family moved to Pittsburgh, where he would later attend Duquesne University and receive a degree in journalism. He spent two years (1966-67) working with the Peace Corps in the Philippines, and another two years working as a Peace Corps site manager at the University of Hawaii.

Archambeault moved to Kentucky in 1969 after accepting a job with United Press International (UPI) as a writer. During his first year in the state, he moved to Lexington. He had visited Kentucky once with a friend during the winter of 1965. He recalls from that early trip, “There was no snow, and the river valleys were filled with haze.”

He soon found himself irresistibly drawn to the landscape around him, which he found “overwhelming” at the time. Having no previous experience as a photographer, he bought a camera and began to take photographs, which he developed in his bathroom.  During this time, he also was vigorously researching the art of photography, teaching himself as he went along. In 1979, Archambeault put everything else aside, and began to pursue a career as a full-time photographer. In 1982, his first, exemplary coffee table book, “Kentucky” was published, and ever since, his books could be found in homes and offices across the state and nation. His wife of 27 years, Lee, is a retired attorney. The couple live on a piece of land in rural Scott County and he maintains his original home in Lexington as a studio facility. This exhibition of Archambeault’s photographs featuring Appalachian Kentucky is his first solo museum exhibition.

Kentucky Folk Art Center is a cultural, educational and economic development service of MSU. The center is open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, call KFAC at 606-783-2204 or visit