Terry Manning began his photographic journey in Memphis in the mid 1960s. He made friends at that time with several Mid-South and acclaimed photographers, including William Eggleston, William Christenberry, Lee Freidlander, Ernest C. Withers, Diane Arbus and others. Manning’s friendship with Eggleston was especially close, as the two photographer/musicians often shared darkrooms, swapped chemicals, and generally “hung out” with each other.
Manning’s photographic tools began with his beloved Leica IIIf rangefinder cameras, although over time he also acquired and used many other types and formats, including Nikon F and Nikkormat, Pentax 45 mm and 645, Olympus, Canon (both rangefinder and SLR), Hasselblad C 6x6, Fujica 45 mm and 690, and eventually in more recent years leaping into the digital realm with Leica, Olympus and Fuji digitals.
Although Manning was equally consumed with music…which became his primary source of earning a living at the time…he was never out of the photographic realm.
As the 1960s progressed, Manning became a photojournalist, acting as a photographer/writer for The NME newspaper from London, shooting album cover photographs for various artists, and generally photographing “what he saw and liked” for himself. He was also able to capture political, musical and other newsworthy personages, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just hours before the assassination. In fact, Manning’s images of Dr. King are among the last (and the best) still photographs taken of the great man.
Manning's photographic work, although inspired by his prime influences (Cartier-Bresson, Eggleston et al) is his own, derivative of none…it is the world as he views it, captured on image. Some are older (from the 1960s onward), many newer. Some are black and white, some colour. Some analogue film, some digital. The medium is unimportant to Manning; it is the vision that counts.
Over the years, as Manning’s music career flourished, his mind was never far from the hundreds of personal “art” photographs he continually amassed. After threatening for many years to push ahead with gallery and museum showings, in 2013 he finally took the time away from his other business and music pursuits to dig deep into boxes of film negatives and computer files, purchase the finest printing capabilities available, and set upon a new course of action in presenting his personal photographic vision to the public for the first time.
Terry Manning’s first ever Gallery show opened at The Boston CyberArts Gallery in August of 2015, and was an immediate success. Attendance more than doubled their average, and The Boston Globe gushed in their praise of the exhibit, calling Manning’s work “…evocative urban landscapes.” More shows ensued, including highly successful showings at The Stax Museum in Memphis, The Dean Gallery in Providence, RI, The Germantown Performing Arts Center, and The University of Texas at El Paso Library Special Collections.
At that point, given the great popularity, success, reviews and sales of prints these exhibits generated over a two year period, Manning made the decision to stop all gallery showings as he prepared for a truly massive exhibit. His printing capabilities were further enhanced with the purchase of very-large-scale equipment (Manning prints ALL of his own work himself…everything is done strictly by the Artist himself, to his exacting specifications…no work is performed outside of his direct involvement). At great personal expense of both money and time, Manning has spent the last year and a half preparing a totally new large scale Museum presentation of his best work. It is planned for opening at a well known Museum in a major city in 2020 (when lockdowns permit).