photo essay ...................... Sam F. Vance, Jr., "Character-Taker" The Faces of Small-Town and Rural North Carolina, 1930s1940s by Rah Bickley Photographer Sam F. Vance, Jr. of Kernersville, North Carolina, late 1940s or early 1950s. I came upon the pictures about fifteen years ago. I was searching for something in my parents' guest room in High Point, North Carolina, sitting on the wooden floorboards and peering under the dust ruffle of a high, old-fashioned bed. In the gloom were stacks of assorted cardboard boxes. Curious, I slid one out and lifted the crumbling lid. Inside, hundreds of black and white prints were scattered, stacked, dumped. Some were the size of a postage stamp; others were almost as big as posters. Some bore no identification; others had been carefully matted, signed, titled, and sent off to photo contests in New York. I found a picture of my mother as a young girl, wincing as her mother tugged a comb through her wavy hair. Here was a shoe shine boy, whipping his cloth into a blur across someone's leather dress shoe. And here was a clown in front of a toy store in a stuffed polka-dot suit, caught with a cigarette
Southern Cultures – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jun 19, 2007
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