The North Carolina at Work exhibit consists of portraits by acclaimed photographer Cedric Chatterley and highlights some of the traditional ways people in the state have made their livings, from apple harvesting in the mountains to fishing on the coast. Other photograph subjects include a barber, preacher, musician, rodeo rider, and potter. Photographer Cedric Chatterley is known for his use of light, his attention to detail, and his honor of local people. Light streaming in to a tobacco barn, the contents of a scrapbook – little escapes Chatterley’s gaze. The exhibit is presented by the North Carolina Folklife Institute, in partnership with the North Carolina Arts Council. The photographs are drawn from the archive held by the Folklife Institute, formed from projects commissioned by it and the North Carolina Arts Council since the 1970s.
Some of the photographs – like that of the Drexel Barbershop — come from documentation for the North Carolina Arts Council’s Blue Ridge Music Trails project. A Blue Ridge Music Trails guidebook has been published, helping travelers in North Carolina find the best traditional music spots to visit, including the weekly music jam in the back of the barbershop. Other photographs honor past North Carolina Folk Heritage Award winners, artisans and craftspeople at the pinnacle of local artistic traditions, such as Cherokee potter Amanda Swimmer.
The Institute designed this exhibit to honor work traditions in the state and to encourage conversations about work’s connection to land, economy, and community. These photographs are part of a larger exhibit originally made possible by the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation and a grant from Resourceful Communities, a program of the Conservation Fund.
North Carolina at Work: Cedric Chatterley’s Photos and Landscapes of Traditional Labor is available for installation as well. The photographs highlight the diversity of the physical landscapes and traditional labor in North Carolina, and honor people throughout the state’s strong sense of connection to place. The North Carolina Folklife Institute offers this traveling exhibit to interested communities, as well as work with local groups to create programming that connects the content to local issues of work and environment. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to bring this exhibit to your community!
Read about the inaugural installation here.