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The Neugents by  Jonathan Williams David M. Spear - First - 1993 - from Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center Bookstore and

The Neugents: "Close to Home"

by David M. Spear, Jonathan Williams

Condition: Fine/Good

Jargon 111.
Gorgeous full-page black-and-white photographs. Photos, introduction, texts, and chronology by David M. Spear, with afterword by Jonathan Williams. Bound in brown cloth with gold foil stamped title, and photographic dust jacket. [98] pages, [66] plates. The dust jacket of this one has a little wear & some curling at edges, but still a fine copy with perfect interior.

"I began photographing the Neugents in 1987. I had chosen them as subjects because of the uniqueness of their lifestyle. What I found fascinating about them was their stubborn commitment to the attitudes more reminiscent of tobacco farmers of the early part of this century. They were throwbacks who continued to struggle with a system that had been replaced by agribusiness and industrial development.

When I began photographing, my approach, as a documentary photographer, was fairly typical of the American genre. that is to say, they were treated as objects to be photographed by my camera. This is the tradition of photojournalism. Since I had been a photojournalist, I thought about what I might do to change this approach. I wanted to make these images more intimate,more empathetic...more into their world. Time seemed to be the primary ingredient. By allowing more time, trust developed and the door eventually opened to more intimate photo possibilities.

I have been told that these images resemble Depression photographs. The Neugents are, in fact, nothing like the people photographed during the Depression. Those images were of dispirited people, who were hungry and depressed because they had no work and no hope for a future. The Neugents, by contrast, are spirited, able-bodies, and they have work when they want it. It should be plain to the viewer that there is real vitality in these people."

-David M. Spear


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