Guide to the Kristin Bedford photographs, 1930s-2014 and undated
Collection consists chiefly of color photographs taken by Kristin Bedford from 2012 to 2013, deriving from two projects: Be Still: A Storefront Church in Durham, which consists of images of African American worshippers and their pastor in a storefront church in Durham, North Carolina; and The Perfect Picture, images of members of the multi-racial International Peace Mission Movement religious community, founded by Father Divine in the 1930s, and the community's estate, Woodmont, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The "Perfect Picture" prints are accompanied by a variety of related materials, including movement publications, print ephemera, historical photographs, memorabilia, and other papers. These materials speak to topics that include race relations in the 20th century, the civil rights movement, and African American religious experience. The color inkjet prints for both projects include large exhibit prints as well as a set of smaller reference prints for research use, and an essay written by the photographer for each project. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.
- Collection Number
- Kristin Bedford photographs
- 1930s-2014 and undated
- Bedford, Kristin
- 6 Linear Feet, 12 boxes
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Materials in English
The photographic work in this collection explores communities of faith and their expression of religious beliefs, deriving from two documentary projects undertaken by photographer Kristin Bedford from 2012 to 2013: Be Still: A Storefront Church in Durham, which consists of images of an African American community of worshippers of the Apostolic Deliverance Rebirth Outreach Ministries, in Durham, North Carolina; and The Perfect Picture, images of members of the International Peace Mission Movement, a multi-racial religious community founded by Father Divine in New York State in the 1930s, and the community's estate, "Woodmont," near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The "Perfect Picture" prints are also accompanied by a wide variety of related materials, including Father and Mother Divine's life stories; movement publications from the 1930s to the 1990s, print ephemera, historical photographs, correspondence, memorabilia, and other papers. These materials speak to many topics: race relations in the United States; African American religion; religious life in New York State and Pennsylvania; the 20th century civil rights movement; and the utopian philosophies of religious communities in the 20th century. The project title, "Perfect Picture," refers to Father Divine's use of photography as an analogy for creating a perfect life of faith and unity.
The color inkjet prints for both projects include large exhibit prints as well as a complete set of smaller 11x17 inch reference prints for research use. A short essay for each project written by the photographer as exhibition wall text is included in each box of reference prints.
Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Original audiovisual materials are closed to use. Use of these materials may require production of listening or viewing copies.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48-hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Kristin Bedford photographs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
This documentary body of work consists of 58 color inkjet photographic prints that portray African American worshippers and their pastor at the Apostolic Deliverance Rebirth Outreach Ministries, a storefront church in east Durham, North Carolina. The exterior and interiors of the building are featured in many of the images. Five of the photographs were taken as the congregation enjoyed a recreational swim at nearby Falls Lake.
There are 30 exhibit prints in two sizes: 21 prints measuring 18.25x24 inches, and 9 prints measuring approximately 28x32 inches. There is also a set of 28 reference prints measuring 11x17 inches. An information folder is located in the box containing the smaller reference prints; it includes the photographer's wall text from the "Be Still" exhibition at Duke University in 2013, and a printed list of thumbnail images, in color, with titles.
This box includes a folder with the artist's project statement.
Body of work consisting of 48 color inkjet photographic prints portraying male and female followers of Father and Mother Divine, founders of the multi-racial religious community called the International Peace Mission Movement. The images were taken by photographer Kristin Bedford at the community's estate, "Woodmont," in Gladwyn, a town near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during a five-week stay with the community in the summer of 2013, and depict the followers performing their many daily tasks and rituals, such as preparing meals, setting out the holy banquet table, gardening, and celebrating special holy days. Also featured in the photographs are interiors of rooms, objects such as reel-to-reel tapes of Father Divine's sermons, and the estate grounds.
There are 24 exhibit prints: 9 prints measuring 18.25x24 inches, and 15 prints measuring approximately 28x32 inches. There is also a set of 24 reference prints measuring 11x17 inches. An information folder is located in the box containing the smaller reference prints; it contains the photographer's wall text from the Perfect Picture exhibition, and a printed list of thumbnail images, in color, with titles.
Accompanying Bedford's photographs are a variety of historical and contemporary items related to her project, including The New Day, the International Peace Mission Movement's serial publication; pamphlets and other print ephemera; historical photographs and correspondence (some photocopied); and memorabilia. Also included are two book-length works about Father and Mother Divine and the International Peace Mission Movement.
This box includes a folder with the artist's project statement.
Consists of oversize color digital exhibit prints measuring 36 x 27.5 inches.
Comprises a complete or nearly complete run of issues from July through August, 1957.
Includes small volumes of published sermons and sayings of Father and Mother Divine, books, and numerous other small publications related to the International Peace Mission. There are two books on the International Peace Mission Movement and Father Divine, one published in 1954 by Sara Harrison, Father Divine: holy husband, and one from 1979 by Kenneth Burnham, God comes to America. There is also a volume written by Mother Divine on the history of Father Divine and the founding of his mission, published in 1992.
Folders house a variety of objects and papers related to the International Peace Mission Movement's history, Father and Mother Divine, and Kristin Bedford's photographic project. Includes but is not limited to: historical photographs of Father and Mother Divine, the International Peace Mission Movement's mansion (Woodmont), and followers (originals and photocopies); correspondence and papers (originals and photocopies); clippings (photocopies); tracts and pamphlets; ephemera such as postcards and stamps; hand-made decorative objects made of paper, fabric, and other materials; one CD-ROM of sermons delivered by Father Divine; and a list of questions for community members drawn up by producers working on a documentary film about the community.
Original audiovisual materials are closed to use. Use of these materials may require production of listening or viewing copies. Please contact Research Services before coming to use this collection.
Costume jewelry, watch, buttons, and other memorabilia given to Bedford as a gift during her stay with the Peace Mission community. The followers regard these objects as adornment that is worn for holy banquets and other celebrations of faith.
Kristin Bedford is a photographer who focuses on long-term visual studies of where we live – the streets we walk down, the places we worship in, the homes we create, and the spaces between them all. Her subjects have included religious movements, street culture in numerous urban centers, and the modern day legacy of historic African American communities.
Bedford holds a B.A. in Religion from George Washington University, with an emphasis on American Religious Traditions, and an M.F.A. in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Bedford resides in Los Angeles, California, and works on photography projects throughout the country.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Mother Divine
- Archive of Documentary Arts (Duke University)
- Bedford, Kristin
- Father Divine
- Peace Mission Movement
- African American clergy -- Biography
- African American churches -- North Carolina -- Pictorial works
- African American churches -- Pictorial works
- African Americans -- Religion
- African Americans -- Civil rights
- African Americans -- United States -- History.
- Communal living -- United States -- History -- 20th century
- Churches -- North Carolina -- Pictorial works
- Documentary Photography -- United States
- Religious communities -- New York (State)
- Religious communities -- Pennsylvania -- Pictorial works
- Utopias -- United States -- Religious aspects
The Kristin Bedford photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in December 2013.
Processed by: Levi Crews and Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, June 2014
Accessions described in this finding aid: 2013-0207