Photography

Flickr/Fredrik Rubensson

Media consumers now have more information at their fingertips than ever before, and there is far more news available than any one person could possibly absorb. Writers and journalists are pushed to communicate more succinctly and shorten stories in order to pique readers’ attention.

But a group of artists are trying to buck this trend with an online venue that encourages writers to do exactly the opposite. At Length is a forum for long-form, in-depth writing, art, music and photography.

Every place holds stories—of people who lived there, died there, or passed through at some point in their life. 

Family Secrets is a new song cycle performance debuting this weekend that explores the relationship among places, people and secrets.

Sarita and her family arrived from Nepal in 2008, where they had lived in a refugee camp for many years after fleeing political instability in Bhutan.
Andrea Patiño Contreras

The economy can have a major influence on the history of a city.

Factories once brought folks from the world over to new places with a similar goals in mind - to prosper and make a better life. That is the story of Lynn, Massachusetts. Once the home of General Electric and the countless shoe factories, the city was home to immigrants from Canada, Ireland, Greece, Italy and Armenia. Now, Lynn bears only the vestiges of its industrial success and is economically depressed. Immigration continues but from new areas of the world.

James Longley's exhibit is showing through Feb. 20 at the Power Plant Gallery in Durham.
James Longley

  Filmmaker James Longley is known for his portrayals people in politically volatile countries in the Middle East. 

His films seek to deepen an understanding of the historical and cultural dimensions of the region’s conflicts. For his low-budget, self-financed films, Longley has lived among ordinary families, gaining access to people in places rarely chronicled on film by Westerners. 

Center for the Study of the American South

  

Anne Spencer's Lynchburg, Virginia house was a sanctuary for African-American artists, writers and intellectuals during the Harlem Renaissance. 

A selection of images and poems by husband and wife artist team Michael Platt and Carol Beane. Their  exhibit “Ritual + Time Travel=Rebirth” is on view at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.
Michael Platt and Carol Beane

Husband and wife artist team Michael Platt and Carol Beane co-create work that explores rites, rituals and the lives of people living on the margins of history.

Looking At Appalachia

Jan 22, 2015
Ronald Sowder cuts Tom Fitzsimmons hair in Hinton, Summers County, West Virginia .
Ryan Stone / Looking at Appalachia

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared war on poverty. The images of the Appalachia region from that period created stereotypes of its people and land for the rest of the country.

Update January 7, 2015:

In the summer of 2014, we heard about a vintage photo that was found tucked away in one of the books at the Chapel Hill Public Library. No one knew how long the picture had been there, but the photo caught our imagination. Who was this Duke Blue Devil?

For a time, the mystery appeared to be solved.  The son of a Duke alum, Donald Brandon, wrote to say, "It looks like Bill Werber."

Roadside meeting with Durham County farmer. North Carolina. He gives road directions by drawing the dirt with a stick. July 1939
Dorothea Lange / Library of Congress Call Number LC-USF34-020259

During the Great Depression, the federal government sent photographers around the country to meet Americans and document their lives. Those photographers took some 170,000 photographs throughout the latter half of the 1930s and into the 194os. The images they captured are among the most iconic of the era.

There's a new way to browse the images by state and even by county. The site is called Photogrammer and it was created by a team at Yale University.

Tamaulipas, Mexico, 1996 – Marisol daydreams at dusk while anticipating the arrival of more garbage trucks at the municipal dump
Janet Jarman

Immigration has taken center stage this week with President Obama's announcement of protection for some  children and families who entered the country illegally. In North Carolina, some area teachers have recently been trained to better understand the experience of such undocumented immigrants. The training is based on an extraordinary set of photos, taken over two decades, on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border.

WUNC's Carol Jackson tells the story:

Ruins in Charleston, S.C., from the album Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign
George N. Barnard / David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Duke University recently acquired two stunning sets of photographs of the Civil War. Now, Duke Performances has commissioned a leading guitarist to set the images to music. The result is an intimate perspective on the cost of war.

The cover of Anna Quindlen's novel Still Life with Bread Crumbs
Random House

  

As a reporter, columnist, mother, coveted commencement speaker, and novelist, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times Bestselling author Anna Quindlen has never been afraid of redefining herself.

A few years ago, award-winning animal photographer Seth Casteel became an overnight sensation when his photos of dogs underwater went viral. What followed was a book deal that resulted in the New York Times best-seller Underwater Dogs.

Casteel's new book, out Sept. 16, is possibly the only thing cuter than Underwater Dogs: Underwater Puppies.

Durham Bulls stadium
Frank Hunter

Last year more than a dozen creative types - writers, photographers and filmmakers descended on the Durham Bulls Athletic Park for an unprecedented in-depth look at minor league baseball. Someone was at the stadium for every inning -- of every game -- all summer long. All of the work of Bull City Summer has been reviewed and now the very best is on display at several area locations.

WUNC's Carol Jackson has the story:

Michelle Bowers

Home is where the heart is and for many abandoned homes and barns around Franklin County, the echoes of these past lives is what prompted Michelle Bowers to start a photo collection which documents the abandoned homes of North Carolina.

“I’ve always hated history in school but this seems like a way to get back into history,” Bowers said.

Rachel Boillot

Although some regard the United States Postal Service as a beloved American icon, technological developments and budget concerns have taken a toll on the institution. Recent funding issues, competition and the rise of email have transformed the postal service into an endangered species. Thousands of post offices have closed their doors in the last three years. 

black book cover with neon lighting lettering and Eiffel Tower in background
harpercollins.com

  

It was a photograph of two women at a table, one in a dress and one in a suit, that inspired Francine Prose's latest novel. The suited woman is Violette Morris, a French athlete turned Nazi collaborator. Mixing history with fiction, "Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932" (HarperCollins, 2014), imagines Morris' life through multiple narrators.

My White Friends

Apr 8, 2014
Myra Greene

Photographer Myra Greene spent years taking self portraits exploring her own black identity. But after sharing these photographs with a friend, she realized that not everyone thinks about race as much as she does. 

Kristin Bedford

Photographer Kristin Bedford spent five weeks living with the followers of Father Divine and learning about their religion. She photographed their lives. Her exhibit, The Presence of Father Divine, has been postponed.

Phyllis Galembo / Phyllis Galembo

When people don masks and costumes in the United States, it is often for Halloween or to root for their favorite sports team. But in Africa and the Caribbean, masking carries a much deeper meaning.
 

Lawrence Earley Photography

For decades the primary industry of the Core Sound was the fishing industry which used workboats. Although the fishing business in the area has declined, workboats remain a source of social memory for residents there. 

Brian Ulrich

  In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, then-President George W. Bush gave a speech encouraging Americans to boost "participation and confidence in the American economy."

Have you ever thought of Jay-Z having multiple personalities? There's Jay-Z, Sean Carter, Hova, and Jigga. And they're all wrapped up inside one black man. In Mark Anthony Neal's latest book "Looking For Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities," he explores the complex identities of figures like Jay-Z, Avery Brooks and Luther Vandross (NYU Press; 2013).

The cover of One Place: Paul Kwilecki and Four Decades of Photographs from Decatur County, Georgia.  Edited and with an introduction by Tom Rankin, coedited by Iris Tillman Hill.
http://documentarystudies.duke.edu

Audio Pending...

Many photographers in this day and age seek to capture as many worlds as they can in their lifetime. Paul Kwilecki did all of this while staying in Decatur County, Georgia for over four decades.

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