American Photographer 1877-1922
THE PHOTOGRAPHY TOURING EXHIBITION
In the late 1890s, self-taught photographer Hugh Mangum (1877-1922), born in Durham North Carolina, began riding the rails as an itinerant portraitist, traveling primarily in North Carolina and Virginia. Mangum worked during the rise of the Jim Crow era, a period in which laws were passed throughout the South to enforce segregation. He worked with the Penny Picture camera using glass plates. His portraits reveal a clientele that was both racially and economically diverse and show lives marked by notable affluence and hardship, all imbued with a strong sense of individuality and self-creation.
One of the profound surprises of Mangum’s photography is its artistic freshness. He had a charm and curiosity that is often reflected in the faces of his sitters. In other images, Mangum’s presence as a photographer is invisible and the sitters appear lost in their own private, interior worlds. Mangum’s ability to capture these moments of vulnerability and intense self-recognition lies at the heart of his gift as a photographer.
After his unexpected death in 1922, Mangum’s glass plate negatives were stored in a barn on his family’s farm in Durham. Slated for demolition in the 1970s, the barn was saved at the last moment, and with it, this surprising and unparalleled document of life during a turbulent time in the history of the southern United States. His negatives are not only images; they are objects that have survived a history of their own and exist within a larger political and cultural history. They hint at unexpected relationships and stories, and confirm how early photographs have the power to subvert common historical narratives.
Touring Exhibition Specifications
PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS: 42 (VARIOUS SIZES)
The Exhibit may be curated for the space
LINEAR FOOTAGE: 160 LINEAR FT.
AVAILABLE: DECEMBER 2022-2026
SHIPPING & INSURANCE:
Exhibitor pays prorated shipping & insurance (TBD).
Where We Find Ourselves, 2019
The Nasher Museum, North Carolina (Jan 1-Sept 9, 2019)
The DeLand Museum, Florida (April 9-June 12, 2022)
Press Release for The Van Gogh Affect/The Kennedy Museum