The Life and Times of William Callahan

William CallahanChris Taylor
The Life and Times of William Callahan

67 pages
22 x 27.9 cm
Edition of 500
Published Canada, January 2013
ISBN: 978-0-9917687-0-7

In an era of networked immediacy, when everything is both obvious and ephemeral, the concept of myth in celebrity culture seems to have been replaced by buzz. Bill Callahan, one of the great songwriters of his generation, nevertheless, remains a mythic figure.

In 2008, Chris Taylor sent an unsolicited email to record label Drag City with a proposal: a book of photographs of and around Bill Callahan. Taylor found himself driving 658 miles east, from his home in Victoria, B.C. to meet Callahan and discuss the idea: that he would travel to Callahan’s home in Austin, TX, and photograph him every other day for a month. Along the drive, Taylor shot Polaroids — one of which, a picture of horses in the mist, was chosen as the cover for Callahan’s album Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle.

A book of photos titled The Life and Times of William Callahan is the result of his time in Austin, and is as much a portrait of Callahan as any of Callahan’s songs. In these pictures, the surfaces of things are still and separate, crisp and peaceful in their individuality. Shirts, walls, and trees seem to have faces, but as with people, their depths and secrets remain hidden.