Copyright 1964 Lyle Bonge. Untitled gelatin silver print.
" If you can kill a snake with it, it aint art." -- Lyle Bonge
Photo by David Houston.
Lyle Bonge started taking photographs in his hometown of Biloxi, Mississippi. In the late 1940s, Bonge studies at the short-lived but highly influential Black Mountain College, where he roomed with famed essayist/poet/publisher Jonathan Williams. Since 1955, Bonge has amassed over 40,000 negatives of Mardi Gras, some of which were published in Jargon Press' 1977 publication of his photographs, The Sleep of Reason: Lyle Bonge's Ultimate Ash Hauling Photographs. His works are contained in private and public collections, including the Mississippi Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Houston Museum of Fine Art, Pensacola Art Museum and, of course, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. He still lives in the Biloxi house built by his mother and father, artists Dusti and Archie Bonge. Dusti was Mississippi's first true Modernist, showing at Betty Parson's Gallery in the late 50s. Beyond his career as a photographer, Lyle has been a boat builder, bank director and tree topper.