My City Charleston


My City Charleston is a photographic essay of Charleston, South Carolina’s unique aesthetic and history. Longtime photographer and Charleston native, Jack Alterman, offers a fresh perspective on the oft-pictured city and its sites. Jack explores the city from a bucket truck 30 feet in the air, on rooftops, or in a boat anchored in the harbor to capture more than 150 elegant and unprecedented views of the historic city’s iconic locations and hidden gems. With a foreword by Charleston’s longtime mayor, Joseph P. Riley Jr., and introduction by well-known author Josephine Humphreys- this book is truly a master work of art.

About the Photographer

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Photographer Jack Alterman is a native of Charleston, South Carolina. His viewfinder has been framing the faces, buildings, and landscapes of Charleston since the 1970s. He is an alumnus of the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. His book Cornices of Charleston was published in 2005 and he has contributed to many other books and publications. Jack’s images document the city and its inhabitants from every angle, and he’s still finding inspiration from this muse.

Jack is part of a distinguished tradition: artists who have made transcendent images of Charleston, South Carolina. Like Edward Hopper, Walker Evans, and Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, he is moved by the city’s blend of old and older and new, the colors of paint and stucco, water and clouds, creeping fig and cobblestones.

Alterman spends his days and nights—especially his dawns and dusks—standing in a bucket truck thirty feet in the air or steering a boat when the sun rises over Mount Pleasant. He listens for the city’s music and discovers her light and textures. People ask him, “How did you get that shot? I’ve lived here all my life, but I’ve never seen that.”

From river to river, from the Battery to the Neck, Alterman makes the familiar unique and the unique familiar. He illuminates a magical city, his city. Like DuBose Heyward, he can say of her: “She is the faith that tends the calling lights. Hers is the stifled voice of harbor bells Muffled and broken by the mist and wind. Hers are the eyes through which I look on life And find it brave and splendid. And the stir of hidden music shaping all my songs, And these my songs, my all, belong to her.”