Barns of the Palouse: A Photography Exhibit

Barns of the Palouse: A Photography Exhibit.  April 03-27, The Center at the Colfax Library

Barns of the Palouse, a photography exhibit comes to The Center April 3-27 in downtown Colfax. The show features photographer George Bedirian’s breathtaking collection of black and white images contrasted by beautiful color images from Ken Carper and Steve Van Vleet.

George Bedirian chose the images for this exhibit from photos he took during the 1980s. He found the eighties to be a time of intense photographic exploration. George was enthralled by the beauty of the Palouse and made it his mission to document not just the landscapes, but also the built environment, which included towns, grain elevators and barns. This effort culminated in the publication of Palouse Country: An Essay in Photographs in 1987, followed by a revised WSU Press edition in 2000.

Of the 18 barns George will include in the show, at least half have disappeared. Another is on the verge of collapsing. Seven of the images have appeared in one or both editions of Palouse Country while eight are being shown for the first time.

Most of Ken Carper’s photographs feature the unique landscapes found in the Palouse, a place he sees as one of the world’s most beautiful environments. For this exhibit, Ken has selected images of some of his favorite agricultural structures because they have been integral to the region’s economy and history. Unfortunately, many of these historic agricultural buildings are being lost each year to deterioration, and are being replaced by pre-engineered metal and reinforced concrete buildings that are totally lacking in character. It is costly to preserve our heritage so Ken hopes the images that he and George present for this exhibit will contribute to the legacy of Palouse memories.

As a bonus, Steve Van Vleet will exhibit a number of the barn images he’s taken, some of which have been included in the popular Barns of Whitman County calendars that have sold out for the last 7 years and raised funds for the Friends of Whitman County Library.

George Bedirian has been photographing the Palouse since 1969 with a goal of revealing the uncommon in the commonplace, or in the words of Joseph Conrad, "to make you see." George has exhibited throughout the Pacific Northwest, on the East Coast, and as far afield as the Republic of Armenia. His photographs have appeared in The Living Wilderness, Landscape Journal, American Land Forum, Incredible Idaho, Northwest Edition, Washington Magazine, and other journals.

Ken Carper is a registered Architect and Professor Emeritus of Washington State University, where he taught students in Architecture & Construction Management for 38 years. He has always enjoyed photography, especially of Palouse landscapes and barns, where the changing colors and shadows offer unlimited opportunities throughout the year. Ken’s work has been featured in regional publications, calendars, and in international travel websites. He has received regional awards, and in 2014 his photograph, “Palouse Falls: Early Spring Sunset,” took first place in an international competition with more than 3,000 entries. Ken’s photography website is:

Steve Van Vleet is the WSU / Whitman County Extension Educator in Agriculture & Natural Resources. Steve has photographed most of the county’s barns while traveling hundreds of thousands of miles around the region for work.

The Center is an annex of the Colfax Library at 102 S. Main Street. Exhibit hours are Monday through Wednesday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursdays through Fridays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Whitman County Library at 509-397-4366.

For more information, contact:

Kristie Kirkpatrick at 509-397-4366

For a complete list of events and programs happening in all fourteen Whitman County Library branches, visit the Whitman County Library website or our Blog at, the library's events calendar, Facebook, Twitter,  or call the library at 397-4366 or 877-733-3375 toll-free.