Biography and History

Douglas Kent Hall was born on December 12, 1938, in Vernal, Utah, a rural community approximately two hundred miles from Salt Lake City. Hall spent his youth in Utah on a family farm where he developed a deep interest in the world of cowboys and rodeo from a very young age. He began writing while in high school and went on to study Creative Writing at a number of institutions before earning his BA in English at Brigham Young University in 1960. Hall then received his MFA from the Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1964, and began teaching.

In 1965, Hall began experimenting with photography and he studied technique for the next two years. Some of Hall's earliest work is the result of his photographing his poet and writer friends while teaching at the University of Portland from 1964-1967. Freelance photography soon proved lucrative and in 1967 he began photographing for promotional and advertising companies and contributing text to magazines. That same year, Hall left academia and began a tour of Europe, later residing in London. He returned to the United States in 1969 and settled in New York City in 1971, where he had his first photography exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1974.

Hall's continuing interest in creative writing defined most of his early career and he published four novels and six photography books in the 1970s. Not limited to books, Hall also wrote an Academy Award-winning documentary about rodeo (his longtime interest) and a number of other unproduced screenplays. His novels from this time were often autobiographical and centered around his rural Mormon-influenced childhood, while the photography books explored subcultures to which Hall found himself drawn or incidentally introduced as an adult, such as rock and roll, bodybuilding, and prison life.

In 1977, Hall relocated from New York City to New Mexico, a move that would influence the next thirty years of his work. His subsequent proximity to the American southwest and border region, with its local environs and people, resulted in at least ten major publications and projects from the 1980s through the 2000s. As many if not more unpublished photography projects were also developed in this time, often based on travel to Russia, Japan, England, Brazil, and Australia.

Hall continued to photograph, travel, write, and exhibit up until his death. Douglas Kent Hall died on March 30, 2008. He was survived by his wife Dawn and son Devon.

Source: From the finding aid for C1384

  • Douglas Kent Hall Papers. 1950s-2011 (inclusive), 1970-2000 (bulk).

    Call Number: C1384

    Douglas Kent Hall was an American writer and photographer active from the 1960s until 2008. This collection contains manuscripts, negatives, contact sheets, prints, transparencies, notes, research files, and correspondence relating to a number of published and unpublished writings and photography projects spanning Hall's entire career.

  • Douglas Kent Hall Papers. 1950s-2011 (inclusive), 1970-2000 (bulk).

    Call Number: C1384

    Douglas Kent Hall was an American writer and photographer active from the 1960s until 2008. This collection contains manuscripts, negatives, contact sheets, prints, transparencies, notes, research files, and correspondence relating to a number of published and unpublished writings and photography projects spanning Hall's entire career.