Glenn Scarboro photographs, 1962-1976
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- Archive of Documentary Arts (Duke University) and Scarboro, Glenn, 1945-
- This collection of 166 black-and-white inkjet 13x19 inch photographs by Glenn Scarboro explores through street photography, landscapes, and portraits the social life and culture of southern Virginia in the 1960s and 1970s. About half of the photographs were taken in Danville, the photographer's hometown, while other images were taken in Richmond, Blacksburg, Roanoke, and other towns of the region. A dozen or so photographs were taken in other states such as Georgia and North Carolina, and there are a few from Rhode Island and New York. The street scenes in Danville and other towns include images of white and African American residents, small businesses, houses, and churches; rural themes include horse shows. county fairs, and country landscapes. There is also a series of family portraits taken in the 1960s. Collection includes one handmade photobook by Scarboro containing eleven photographs and handwritten text. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.
- 1.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes)
- Materials in English
- Collection ID:
- Scope and content:
This collection of 166 13x19 inch black-and-white inkjet prints by Glenn Scarboro explores through street photography, landscapes, and portraits the social life and culture of southern Virginia in the 1960s and 1970s. About half of the photographs were taken in Danville, a small town with industries linked to tobacco, railroads, and textile mills, and the artist's hometown. Other images were taken in Richmond, Blacksburg, Roanoke, and other towns of the region. A dozen or so photographs were taken in other states such as Georgia and North Carolina, and there are a few from Rhode Island and New York.
The street scenes of Danville and other towns include images of white and African American residents of all ages and backgrounds, chiefly from the 1960s; small businesses; people and their cars; house exteriors and interiors; churches; and outdoor advertising and logos. One photograph is of the house of free black craftsman Thomas Day, in Milton, NC.
Rural themes include portraits of country people, barns and tobacco warehouses, livestock, and rural landscapes, with a large series of images particular focused on southern Virginia horse shows and county fairs.
There are no photographs of the social protests and political activities that took place in small towns such as Danville at that time, but the street photographs do speak to social culture and conditions in southern Virginia during the 1960s, and some, as the photographer notes, allude to the sense of social disruption and alienation in small-town Southern society.
The series ends with a series of portraits, chiefly of Scarboro and his immediate family, taken in the 1960s. One portrait of Scarboro in New York City was taken by photographer, instructor, and friend Emmet Gowin.
The collection also includes a 15-page handmade artist's book by Scarboro containing eleven black-and-white photographs taken in 1963 and printed from original negatives in 1965. The book was assembled in 1972 and is number six of a limited edition of seven, and features a unique cover with a pen-and-ink drawing.
A print inventory created by the photographer contains additional biographical narrative and commentary, and is available in the first box. The photographs are arranged in original order as received.
From the artist's statement: "There was a photograph in The Family of Man made by Jerry Cooke (originally published in Life magazine) of a woman sitting quite forlorn on a bench in a very dark place that gave no clues as to time, place, person or situation...which are the four psychiatric attributes of reality. She was alone. The quote under the photograph read, 'I am alone with the beating of my heart.' (Lui Chi) Making photographs in the streets of my hometown in the 60/70s calmed the beating of my unsettled heart and gave a face to the feelings of social alienation endemic to that time. Danville streets were the places of my earliest identity. In the process of becoming a close observer of ordinary lifeâ€¦I had become an artist.
Anxiety is always at the edge of identity."
Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.
- Biographical / historical:
Glenn Scarboro was born in January 1945 in Danville, Virginia, several months before the end of World War II. He learned to make photographs at age seventeen when a family friend who was a photographer for the local weekly newspaper asked him to cover an assignment for him.
Continuing his photography as he pursued a career in social work, Scarboro was particularly influenced by Emmet Gowin at the Fine Art Department at Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth University), and by the work in Family of Man, edited by Edward Steichen, and The Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier-Bresson.
The Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History (DMFAH) has twice featured Scarboro's work in solo exhibitions: "The Views of Silent Space" in 2001, and in 2010, an exhibition titled "One Boy's Story: 35mm Street Photography and Other Ephemeral Moments." This work was later expanded to a collection of 166 photographs made from 1962 to 1976 and is the foundation of Scarboro's gift to the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.
- Acquisition information:
- The Glenn Scarboro photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift in 2017.
- Processing information:
Processed by Yuqiao Cao and Paula Jeannet, November 2017.
Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2017-0159.
Photographs are arranged and numbered in original order as received from the artist.
- Physical facet:
- 168 items
- Rules or conventions:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
- African Americans -- Virginia
African Americans -- Virginia -- Social life and customs
City and town life -- Virginia -- Photographs
Country life -- Virginia -- Photographs
Documentary Photography -- Virginia -- Pittsylvania County
Fairs -- Virginia
Horse shows -- Virginia
Portrait photography -- United States
Artists' books (books)
- Black-and-white photographs
- Archive of Documentary Arts (Duke University)
- Danville (Va.) -- History
Danville (Va.) -- Photographs
Danville (Va.) -- Social conditions
Pittsylvania County (Va.) -- Photographs
Virginia -- Photographs
Virginia -- Social conditions
Virginia -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
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[Identification of item], Glenn Scarboro photographs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.