The work of a photojournalist with local roots, a man who has covered some of the key events in American history, will be available to the public later this month.
The Pleasant Prairie History Museum presents a free special exhibit called “Over a Thousand Words: The Photography of Al Fredrickson”.
The public opening is scheduled for 5:30-6:30 p.m. on February 17 at the museum, which is located in the recently restored historic Dublin School Building, 3875 116th St. Thereafter, the free exhibition is open to the public. and visits by school groups from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Fredrickson, who grew up in Pleasant Prairie, worked for the Kenosha News, the Journal Times in Racine, the Waukegan News-Sun, the Waukesha Freeman newspaper and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also served for a decade as special photo correspondent for the British international news agency Reuters and also contributed to the work of The Associated Press and Universal Press International.
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Fredrickson has covered national news events like the launches of six NASA space shuttles between 1977 and 1986 and the destructive aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which crippled New Orleans in 2005. His sports photography includes stunning action shots of some of the greatest players from the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks.
His early black-and-white photos include notables like 15-year-old superstar Michael Jackson in 1974 and television’s “Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling. It featured close-up views of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and civil rights leader Julian Bond.
About the exhibition
Featuring 54 of his photos, the exhibit showcases Fredrickson’s unique 45-year career of photojournalism and his own life, beginning at his childhood home in Pleasant Prairie. Most of the photos have never been publicly displayed.
The exhibit also includes Fredrickson’s iconic black and white photos taken in Kenosha County in the 1970s and 1980s, capturing the lives of local residents.
“Al was considered by his professional colleagues to be one of Wisconsin’s finest photojournalists,” says museum curator Kate Bennett. “It is an honor and a pleasure for us to celebrate his unique accomplishments as a former resident of Pleasant Prairie.
The exhibit distinctly focuses on 15 rediscovered photos submitted by Fredrickson with his own original captions to Reuters, many of which have been released in the United States and around the world.
Born August 23, 1951, Al Fredrickson died April 9, 2021 in Waukesha. He attended local Kenosha public schools and was the principal photographer for the Tremper High School Tempest student newspaper and the Classic student yearbook. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in 1975, where he also worked as one of the first campus photographers. He served in the United States Army as a military police officer in the early 1970s.
For more information about the exhibit, contact Bennett at (262) 577-5115 or visit the museum’s website at www.pleasantprairiehistoricalsociety.org.