Charles Graves’ passion for photography began as a teenager and was further developed at the College of Art in Memphis, TN where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Sculpture in 1972. Although Charles’ interest in art and photography never diminished, his career track took him on a venture into marketing, merchandising, creative direction, and licensing down a variety of avenues including a museum, social expressions companies, and iconic brands such as National Geographic, Better Homes and Gardens, and HGTV and DIY Network.
A native Southerner, Charles spent his time growing up in and around Tennessee and lived in Memphis from high school through his mid-adult years. The child of a TVA father, Charles lived in the East Tennessee towns of Kingston, Chattanooga, and Cleveland as a youngster. Memphis is where he met his wife, Kathy, and where his children were born. Charles’ connections to Tennessee are deep. No matter where they lived, he and Kathy continuously returned to Tennessee, traveled the State to vacation, and repeatedly visited one of their favorite places, Roan Mountain State Park to relax and enjoy the beauty of the mountains and surrounding nature. Many of his photographs have come from those Tennessee travels.
In addition to his classic training as an artist and photographer, Charles also is a schooled and participating musician in classical as well as jazz and blues venues. Charles relates strongly to music and visual art in their many forms. The years spent in Memphis taught him an appreciation for the Mississippi River, art, music, and historical tradition. His background in art and photography allows him to look at the world around him in a unique way. Charles is personally drawn to our collective heritage and to the essence of exploration, human expression, social consciousness, preservation of history, and conservation philosophies. Whether in the mountains, on a river, at the ocean, at a musical venue, or in his own back yard, “I enjoy taking photographs of my surroundings and the way that light plays with the natural beauty and human interests that I find there.”
Charles and his wife, Kathy, greatly enjoyed life in the Knoxville, TN area and as of May 2013 moved back to the Washington, DC area in Fairfax, VA. After a nine year absence, Charles rejoined National Geographic as Director Brand Licensing, Marketing & Creative. Their son, Seth, lives in Brooklyn, NY where he is pursuing a PHD in rhetoric and composition.
While in Knoxville, Charles had the following photography shows:
Unarmed Merchants, N. Gay Street – Feb – Mar 2011
Schilling Gallery, Westminster Presbyterian Church – Jan-Feb 2012
University of Phoenix, Sherrill Blvd – Sep – Nov 2012
Plum Gallery, 5609 Kingston Pike – Nov 2012 – Jan 2013
For a retrospective of images by Charles Graves, click here: