Tavern League: Portraits of Wisconsin Bars

By Carl Corey, Foreword by Vincent Virga, Introduction by Jim Draeger

Hardcover: $29.95

ISBN: 978-0-87020-478-4

136 pages, 60 color photos, 9.75 x 9.75"; E-book edition available

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With a view both familiar and undeniably unique, perceptibly eerie but somehow warmly inviting, photographer Carl Corey's pictures in "Tavern League: Portraits of Wisconsin Bars" capture the Wisconsin public house as it is today. The 60 pictures collected here are awash with a sense of place - the lingering tang of cigarette smoke, the feel of a gritty floor as a bar stool is pushed back, the ease of sinking into a dimly lit womb of good company and cold beer. Supernaturally vivid colors intertwine with distinctly average vignettes to reveal the magical, and fleeting, quality of these singular places and the people who love them.

A stunningly evocative collection of documentary pictures, "Tavern League" serves as a sociological snapshot. Our bars are unique micro-communities offering patrons a sense of belonging; many are the only public gathering place in the rural communities they serve. These simple taverns provide the valuable opportunity for face to face conversation and camaraderie, particularly as people become more physically isolated through the accelerated use of social networking, mobile texting, gaming, and the rapid-fire of email. The Wisconsin tavern presented here is an important segment of the Wisconsin community - one whose evolution, and even continued existence, stands in question in a young twenty-first century.

Carl Corey's work is exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide, as well as in numerous private and public collections. Corey has won more than 100 photography awards from such groups and publications as the New York Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, Bessies, Addys, and Gold Lions. He is also the author of For Love and Money: Portraits of Wisconsin Family Businesses.

To receive a review copy or press release, to schedule an author event, or for more information contact the WHS Press Marketing Department: whspress@wisconsinhistory.org.

Carl Corey has been interested in photography since he was a child growing up in Chicago. He has worked as an advertising still photographer and director and cameraman for advertising projects in Chicago and Los Angeles. He retired from the advertising business after 25 years and moved to Wisconsin to focus on documentary photography. He lives in Hudson.

Carl Corey's work is exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide, as well as in numerous private and public collections. Corey has won more than 100 photography awards from such groups and publications as the New York Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, Bessies, Addys, and Gold Lions. He is also the author of For Love and Money: Portraits of Wisconsin Family Businesses.

Visit Carl's website at http://carlcorey.com/

Wisconsin Historical Society Press: What inspired you to photograph taverns around Wisconsin and create "Tavern League?"

Carl Corey: "Tavern League" came from the Habitat series of pictures which I am always working on. I had photographed interiors of a couple taverns for Habitat and thought it would be interesting to explore this Tavern Culture a little further, incorporating portraits of the proprietors as well as interiors.

WHS Press: How did you select the taverns to photograph? Were they taverns you had visited before or ones you had heard about?

CC: I visited every tavern beforehand and requested permission to return to photograph. Very few were referrals most were scouted the day before I requested access. I would arrive in a locale set up a base camp and work for a few days.

WHS Press: You say in the book that tavern culture is transitioning with "this cultural and electronic bombardment." What is tavern culture like now and how do you see it changing?

CC: As people become more socially lazy, the effort to go out and visit is becoming less prevalent. People are socializing while they drive to work. The taverns in the book still offer an atmosphere for camaraderie and socializing.

WHS Press: Each tavern pictured in "Tavern League" is unique. How do you go about capturing the spirit of the place?

CC: I have been making pictures full time for 40 plus years. You learn to look and listen. I photograph only what interests me with the hope that I am not so unique that others find it boring.

WHS Press: What do you hope readers take away from "Tavern League?"

CC: This is a picture book which represents a body of work. This series of pictures was made to document, albeit very subjectively, a segment of society I find interesting. It is not a guide book, reference book or homage to tavern life. My intention was to share an experience and inform. I would hope that as a document it preserves in its small way a vanishing culture.

OTHER INTERVIEWS

Listen to Carl Corey's interview with Joy Cardin on Wisconsin Public Radio. This interview originally aired on July 8, 2011.

Listen to Carl Corey's interview with Cathy Wurzer on Minnesota Public Radio's "The Morning Edition." This originally aired July 13, 2011. Praise
Vincent Virga, renowned photo editor and author of "Eyes of the Nation: A Self-Portrait of the United States"

"Carl Corey's camera lens is a charmed circle. Once we enter its domain, he works his end upon our senses, and with his subjects we all stand spell-stopped. ...Yes, the mighty art of Carl Corey is to be treasured by all of us."