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Guide to the Camilo José Vergara Photographs, 1977-2009

Abstract

Camilo J. Vergara is a documentary photographer, focusing on the evolution of urban spaces.

Collection of color prints from Vergara's 2009 National Building Museum exhibit Storefront Churches, with photographs of urban churches, pasters, and murals from cities around the United States. This exhibit was part of a larger collection featured in Vergara's book, How the Other Half Worships.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Vergara, Camilo J.
Title
Camilo José Vergara photographs 1977-2009
Language of Material
English, Spanish
Extent
5.0 Linear Feet, 87 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Collection consists of 85 color prints, ranging in size from 11x14 inches to 20x24 inches, as well as two 30x30 color transparencies. These images were all part of the National Building Museum's 2009 Vergara exhibit, "Storefront Churches," and many are also featured in his recent book, How the Other Half Worships (2005).

Subjects include urban churches in cities throughout the United States, in particular New York City and its neighborhoods (such as Harlem, Brooklyn, and the Bronx), Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Gary, and Camden. Vergara's photographs vary in what part of each church is highlighted: some are simply the church's exterior, offering a glimpse of the neighborhood and condition of the building; other images are taken inside the church, whether it be an abandoned sanctuary or an active praise service. The collection also contains, to a lesser extent, photographs of religious and spiritually-inspired murals and artwork from different urban environments; cemeteries and outdoor worship spaces; and some portraits of different pastors and preachers, including street preachers. Most of the churches represented in the collection are Pentecostal, Baptist, or some other branch of Evangelical Protestant Christianity.

The collection documents the evolution of church structures, such as the series of rephotography of a Chicago building that evolved from the Holy Raiders Revival Church in 1981 to the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in 2009. Vergara rephotographed the building six times during that period, and each time the building's facade and surroundings had changed significantly. Vergara's photographs also offer one-time glimpses of abandoned and decaying buildings, as well as documentation of reclaimed and re-used urban structures, such as the former Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant that is now a worship center in Newark.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is restricted to educational, non-commercial use.

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.

warning Use Restrictions

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.

Contents of the Collection

Greater True Friendship Baptist Church, 2002

1842 W. Vernon, Los Angeles, California

Box 1
Mount Gaza Baptist Church, 2003

1004 Whitemarsh at Raymond, Compton, California

Box 1
Iglesia de la Profesia, 2003

11th St. at Linden, Camden, New Jersey

Box 1
St. Martin Morning Star, 2006

3416 W. 29th St., Gary, Indiana

Box 1
Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal la Senda Divina, former Kentucky Fried Chicken, 2003

585 Broadway, Newark, New Jersey

Box 1
Moorish Science Temple of America No. 25, 2008

Grand River Blvd. at Hudson

Box 1
Gospel Church According to Christ Ministries, 2002

E. Monument Ave. at N. East Ave., Baltimore, Maryland

Box 1
General Assembly Church/House of Mercy Mission, 2002

Springfield Ave. at Pierce Street, Newark, New Jersey

Box 1
Pastor Green's church, Rev. Denson by the entrance. Fellowship M.B.C. Church, 2002

410 E. 31st St., Los Angeles, California

Box 1
Congregation Ahawath Joseph, 1977

Paterson, New Jersey

Box 1
Pastor Gloria Lawton, New Life in the Great I Am Church, 2004

Bostwick Ave., Jersey City, New Jersey

Box 1
Mother Downs, House of Blessings, 1991

5440 S. State St., Chicago, Illinois

Box 1
Evangelista Martin Capeles, 2004

Southern Blvd., Bronx, New York

Box 1
Church sign with missing letters, 2000

2291 Ersbine St., Detroit, Michigan

Box 1
Little Widow's Mite B.C. Church sign, 2004

E. 147th St. at Willis Ave., S. Bronx, New York

Box 1
Home of Life Missionary Baptist Church, 2003

4650 W. Madison St., Chicago, Illinois

Box 1
Sam preaching, 2003

5th St., Skid Row, Los Angeles, California

Box 1
Iglesia Evangelica de Jesucristo Betania, 2003

1219 E. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, California

Box 1
Iglesia Pentacostal Jehova Jreh Inc., 2003

2842 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Box 1
St. Martins Spiritual Baptist Church, 2002

162A Utica Ave., Brooklyn, New York

Box 1
Red building with cross window, 1979

S. Camden, New Jersey

Box 1
Hermanas Pura y Juara, Dominican, Iglesia Sen da de Bendecion, 2001

506 Brook Ave., S. Bronx, New York

Box 1
Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, 2006

Grand River Blvd. at Dexter, Detroit, Michigan

Box 1
Jesus Christ Saves, Heals, Delivers truck, 2006

Grant St. at N. 6th St., Camden, New Jersey

Box 1
Lawrence Moore preaching on the corner, 2004

6th St. at San Pedro, Skid Row, Los Angeles, California

Box 1
Mision Cristiana Pentacostes el Amor de Cristo, 1999

6419 S. Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, California

Box 1
Triumph: The Church and Kingdom of God in Christ, 2004

824 W. 25th St., Gary, Indiana

Box 1
Iglesia Pentacostal Sendero de Luz, 2002

612 Union Ave., Bronx, New York

Box 1
Pure in Heart, 2000

14849 Livernois Ave., Detroit, Michigan

Box 1
When Everything Fails Try Prayer sign, 2003

5258 S. Indiana Ave., Chicago, Illinois

Box 1
If You are Going to the Jail Court or Hospital Call for Prayer sign, 2004

W. Lake St., Chicago, Illinois

Box 1
God Tabernacle of Faith, 1996

65th St., Los Angeles, California

Box 1
Sacred Heart Garden, Missionaries of the Charity, 1989

E. 167th St., Bronx, New York

Box 1
Sacred Heart Seminary, 2003

2701 Chicago Ave., Detroit, Michigan

Box 1
Zion Lutheran Church wall, 2008

4305 Military St., Detroit, Michigan

Box 1
Una Luz en el Cavino, 2004

Concord Ave., Bronx, New York

Box 1
Harvest Crusade billboard, Greater St. Paul Baptist Church, 2004

International Ave. at 5th Ave., Oakland, California

Box 1
Mural by Elliott Pinkney, 1987

Compton Ave. at 36th St., Los Angeles, California

Box 1
St. Cyril and St. Methodius Church, 2003

St. Cyril St., Detroit, Michigan

Box 1
Deacon E.M. McGee, New Jerusalem Baptist Church, 1998

3123 Halsted, Chicago, Illinois

Box 1
Holy Raiders Revival Church, 1981

4344 W. Madison St., Chicago, Illinois

Box 1
Holy Raiders Revival Church, 1983

4344 W. Madison St., Chicago, Illinois

Box 1
Holy Raiders Revival Church, 1988

4344 W. Madison St., Chicago, Illinois

Box 1
Holy Raiders Revival Church, 1989

4344 W. Madison St., Chicago, Illinois

Box 1
Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 2003

4344 W. Madison St., Chicago, Illinois

Box 1
Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 2009

4344 W. Madison St., Chicago, Illinois

Box 1
International Christian Lifestyle, 2004

1585 Fillmore St., Gary, Indiana

Box 1
Thank God for Jesus Church, 2002

1600 N. Bond St., Baltimore, Maryland

Box 2
Street Evangelist, 2008

Adam Clayton Powell at W. 116th St., Harlem, New York

Box 2
Prayer Tabernacle of the Apostalic Faith, 2000

9101 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, California

Box 2
Everlasting Church of God in Christ, 2002

12107 Kinsman Rd., Cleveland, Ohio

Box 2
Greater Love Christian Center Church, 2001

514 W. 71st St., Chicago, Illinois

Box 2
Former City Methodist Church, 1998

6th Ave. at Washington St., Gary, Indiana

Box 2
Tree of Life mural (12x12 print), undated
Box 2
New Creation Ministries, 2003

Sutter at Sheffield Ave., Brooklyn, New York

Box 3
Rock Church, 2007

Broadway at 8th Ave., Gary, Indiana

Box 3
Anthony Ray, The Greater Temple of Praise, 2002

153 Snediken, Brooklyn, New York

Box 3
New Jerusalem Baptist Church, Christ from the Apocalypses, 2002

4923 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, California

Box 3
Mural of Jesus and his disciples, over a doorway, 1992

Garfield Ave., West of Normal, Chicago, Illinois

Box 3
Mt. Paran Baptist Church, 2008

Corner of Broadway and Shaffer, Brooklyn, New York

Box 3
Inner City Gospel Ministry mural, 1994

Cari Ave. at Temple St., Detroit, Michigan

Box 3
Supernatural Deliverance Revival Tabernacle, 2003

70 1st St., Newark, New Jersey

Box 3
Mural of crucified Jesus, 2003

Evergreen St. at Menahan St., Brooklyn, New York

Box 3
Life of the Valley Spiritual Church, 2002

257 W. 48th Place, Chicago, Illinois

Box 3
Pastor Ashford, True Gospel Church of the Living God, 2004

1855 Third Ave., Richmond, California

Box 3
Tabernaculo de fe Iglesia de Dios en Cristo, 1996

Hoover St. at 65th St., Los Angeles, California

Box 3
Dorian at New Friendship M.B. Church, 2003

3620-3622 139th St., Harvey, Illinois

Box 3
Anointment by Bishop Wallace Furns, America Come Back to God, 2004

Rockaway Ave. by Gutter, Brooklyn, New York

Box 3
Wooden cross, 2006

Chloe Ave. at Frederick St., Detroit, Michigan

Box 3
Christ Temple House of Prayer Deliverance Church, after Sunday service, 2007

405 Malcolm X Blvd., Harlem, New York

Box 3
New Testament Baptist Church, 2002

13311 Mack Ave., Detroit, Michigan

Box 3
New Jerusalem Baptist Church, 1992

7133 S. Halsted, Chicago, Illinois

Box 3
Church of Gospel Ministries, 2000

S. Main St. at 70th St., Los Angeles, California

Box 3
Praises of Zion Baptist Church, 2006

1722 55th St., Oakland, California

Box 3
View North towards Florence, 2005

7th St., Camden, New Jersey

Box 3
Devil's Juice mural by John B. Downey, Emmanuel Baptist Rescue Mission, 2003

Crocker at 5th St., Skid Row, Los Angeles, California

Box 3
Pentacostal House of Prayer, 2004

4143 W. Madison St., Chicago, Illinois

Box 3
St. James Apostelic Church, a former Broadway Trust, 2003

Broadway at Walnut St., Camden, New Jersey

Box 3
St. Francis of Assisi R.C. Church, built in 1903. View East, 2009

Hammond at Buchanan, Detroit, Michigan

Box 3
True Vine Temple of Christ, 2000

4155 St. Aubin, Detroit, Michigan

Box 3
Evergreen Cemetery, tombstone photographs of Rev. William H. Rozier, founder of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church (died 1937), May 1985

Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, California

Box 3
Emmanuel Baptist Rescue Mission mural by John B. Downey, 2003

5th St. at Crocker St., Skid Row, Los Angeles, California

Box 3
Former Werth's Appliance Center, 2000

State St., Hammond, Indiana

Box 3
Antioch Independent Church of God in Christ sign, 2003

547 S. 19th St., Newark, New Jersey

Box 3

Consists of 2 oversize transparencies. These are not labeled or dated.

Jesus Never Fails neon sign
Box 4
Stained glass cross
Box 4

Historical Note

Camilo José Vergara is a New York-based photographer documenting the changing urban landscape of inner cities throughout the United States. He began focusing on urban neighborhoods in the 1970s, and since then has published numerous photography compilations and essays. Vergara is known for his ability to capture transition within a city and its structures, such as the re-use of buildings and their eventual abandonment and reclamation by nature. His titles include Silent Cities: The Evolution of the American Cemetery, The New American Ghetto, American Ruins, Twin Towers Remembered, and How the Other Half Worships.

Vergara earned a B.A. in sociology from the University of Notre Dame (1968) and a M.A. in sociology from Columbia University (1977). He has received several awards for his work, including a 2002 MacArthur Foundation genius grant.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Camilo José Vergara Photographs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Camilo José Vergara Photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2010.

Processing Information

Processed by Meghan Lyon, April 2010

Encoded by Meghan Lyon, April 2010

This collection is minimally processed: materials may not have been arranged and described beyond their original condition.

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2010-0010

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.