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Library Shines Spotlight on Noted Photographer Bob Williams

Click here to see a list of prominent people Williams photographed!

By: Marcey Wright

Memphis Public Libraries are shining the "Spotlight on Bob Williams" at Central Library!Although renowned photographer Bob Williams spent his career behind the camera, his life and contributions will be spotlighted Saturday, May 10, 2014, 2 pm at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Avenue). This program, held in the Memphis & Shelby County Room (4th floor), will offer Library customers a nostalgic look back at Memphis history through the lens of Bob Williams.

“The mission of the Memphis Room is to tell Memphis’ story,” explained Central Library History Department Manager Wayne Dowdy. “We think Mr. Williams should be recognized as one of the greatest photojournalists of our time. His photographs are unique. Very few photographers could set a scene and tell a story like he did.”

A longtime photojournalist for The Commercial Appeal, Williams told the story of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., former Presidents Lyndon Johnson’s and Richard Nixon’s visits to Memphis, and rock and roll legend Elvis Presley, to name a few. Through his camera lens, Williams captured the nation’s news from Memphis’ point of view. “One of the fascinating things about Bob Williams’ photos is that he would tell a little story that revealed a lot about how Memphians lived at that time (latter part of the 20th century),” Dowdy commented.

During the program, Library customers will see an exhibit of carefully-selected photos from the Library’s collection of Williams’ work. Several speakers will take customers on a trip through Memphis’ history, using the photographic display. Bob Williams will attend also.

Dowdy concluded, “Doing programs like this, we can – in a short time – introduce Memphians to a hidden part of their culture. Bob Williams is a part of that culture. With his photographs, he tells everyone’s story.” Click here to see a list of prominent people Williams photographed!

For more information about the “Spotlight on Bob Williams” program at Central Library, call (901) 415-2742.