Friday, December 2, 2022

Two Views of William Faulkner — Same Photography Family

william faulkner
Faulkner the striving young writer. Faulkner the mature artist. Photo by J. R. Cofield (c) The Cofield Collection – 1931, Oxford
Photo by Jack Cofield (c) The Cofield Collection – 1962, Oxford

William Faulkner was photographed 1000’s of times during his life.
From Paris (not Misssissippi) to Rowan Oak to Stockholm to West Point (not Mississippi) to Tokyo and beyond. But Mr. Faulkner never sought out the flash bulbs. In fact, it’s pretty well known that he disliked the lime light. Considered it an invasion of his privacy and could be angered when his personal space was entered by the uninvited.

So, I’ve always liked the idea that when Mr. Faulkner actually wanted his picture taken, he came to Cofield’s. And I truly believe that his comfort with Grandad, and later with Dad, is largely responsible for the results. Am I partial? Aw yeah, you bet, I sure am. For me, there are all the rest of the 1000s of Faulkner photos taken through his life…and then there are the Cofield portrait settings.Through a 34 year friendship with their friend, Bill, and all the Faulkner ‘clicks’ taken, here is Granddad’s very first shot and Dad’s very last.

John Cofield is a writer and one of Oxford’s leading folk historians. He is the son of renowned university photographer Jack Cofield. His grandfather, Col. J.R Cofield, was William Faulkner’s personal photographer and for decades was Ole Miss yearbook photographer. Cofield attended Ole Miss as well.
Contact John at