About the Digital Collection
Jesse Pyrant Andrews (b. 1949) has photographed the changing rural landscape of Southern Virginia since 1975. His work includes photographs of small southeastern towns, farm auctions, landscapes from train windows and, farming, including the effects of the industrialization of tobacco farming on communities that once depended on tobacco as their economic base. Andrews’ photographs of Latino H2A workers were chosen for inclusion in an exhibit at the International Center for Photography titled Only Skin Deep, Changing Visions of the American Self. He has also documented, with photographs and oral histories, the lives of disabled veterans. Andrews shoots 35mm black and white film which he prints in his traditional wet darkroom.
The Jesse Andrews Photographs digital collection consists of digitized black-and-white prints from several of Andrews' projects, including "13 Month Crop," an exhibit hosted by Duke University's Perkins Library; Bill Davis and the Davis family; portraits from North Carolina, Virginia, and New York City; photographs of Halifax and Pittsylvania counties; and a series of photographs from Andrews' Train Project, featuring images taken from train windows.
This digital collection comprises selected materials from the following archival collection at David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library:
Collection #RL.00043 | 8.2 Linear Feet; 11 boxes; 10.21 Gigabytes; 27 digital audio files; 198 prints; 27 CD-Rs; 27 digital audio files
Jesse Andrews is a documentary photographer and oral historian working primarily in Virginia and North Carolina. The collection comprises 198 black-and-white photographs dating from 1973 to 2017, documenting through images and detailed captions rural and small-town life in the Piedmont plateau of southern Virginia and northern North Carolina. There are portraits of farmers, their families, Hispanic workers and other immigrants, former textile industry workers, war veterans, musicians, and other local people, with scenes from homesteads, farms, grave sites, and other chiefly rural locations. Oral history interviews conducted by Andrews accompany many of the portraits. Themes include farming, tobacco cultivation, and tobacco auctions; the social life of former war veterans and laid-off workers; traditional folk activities such as dancing and music-making, hunting, making handmade firearms, and working with leather. Many of the images and oral histories speak to changes in regional economies, businesses, and social life in rural and small-town Virginia and North Carolina in the late 20th century. Additional projects include views from an Amtrak train during a trip from New York City to Lynchburg, Virginia, and street scenes and portraits taken in New York City, California, and Massachusetts. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.