Ken Light's Publications

Individual books can be found at
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Valley of Shadows and Dreams
Heyday Books


Valley of Shadows & Dreams is a thoughtful and humane work, a new, sensitive reanalysis of our dependence on the Central Valley, told through elegant pictures and text. The pictures are personal; they recall the tradition of the documentary photographs of the region s artistic forebears, especially Dorothea Lang's, but they are new, and--if one can even hazard the word in such situations--very beautiful.


Coal Hollow
University of California Press


This remarkable book presents arresting black and white photographs and powerful oral histories that chronicle the legacy of coalmining in southern West Virginia. In Light's poignant images and Melanie Lights oral histories record the distinctive voices of the residents of Coal Hollow--a fictional composite of the communities the Lights surveyed and the book reveals how the intersection of mountain culture and the greed of the coal companies brought crushing poverty to a region of once-proud people.


Witness in Our TIme
Smithsonian Books

Illustrated with a compelling image from each photographer, Witness in Our Time traces the recent history of social documentary photography in the words of twenty-two of the genre's best photographers, editors, and curators, showing that the profession remains vital, innovative, and committed to social change. Featuring interviews with Hansel Mieth, Walter Rosenblum, Michelle Vignes, Wayne Miller, Peter Magubane, Matt Herron, Jill Freedman, Mary Ellen Mark, Earl Dotter, Eugene Richards, Susan Meiselas, Sebastião Salgado, Graciela Iturbide, Antonin Kratochvil, Donna Ferrato, Joseph Rodriguez, Dayanita Singh, Fazal Sheikh, Gifford Hampshire, Peter Howe, Colin Jacobson, and Ann Wilkes Tucker

Texas Death Row
University Press of Mississippi

The raw and austere photographs and the accompanying text of Texas Death Row reveal what we have created in the hopeless world of court-ordered death. Whomever opens this book will want to look away, for the pictures and words force us to gaze intimately into the eye of death. With 82 dutone images, Texas Death Row shows us how the men in America's most active death house eat, sleep, recreate, work, visit and exercise while waiting to die.
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Delta Time
Smithsonian Institution Press

A photographic journey through the poorest communities of the Mississippi Delta. The images show a passion for detail and compassion for the subjects in a land where times have brought little change. The legacy of sharecropping, racism and poverty in the Deep South are captured in more than 100 dutone images.
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To The Promised Land

To The Promised Land gives an intimate view of a situation of enormous and often tragic proportions. The photographic portraits and reportage of the long dangerous journey from Mexico to the United States is supported by a brilliant essay by Richard Rodriquez. The images take us from rural Mexico to the U.S.-Mexican Border and finally to the communities of Southern California, where these undocumented immigrants try to create a new life.
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With These Hands
The Pilgrim Press
1986 (out of print)

For generations, migrant workers have faced hard labor in horrible working conditions.With an introduction by Cesar Chavez and over 65 duotone images reveal their plight, the poor conditions, child labor and dilapidated housing conditions. But the book also shows the strength and dignity of these workers and the majestic beauty of America's agricultural
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All photographs ©2000/2005 Ken Light
All rights reserved, may not be reproduced without written permission