Guide to the Rachel Boillot photographs, 2014-2018
Collection comprises two portfolios by documentary photographer Rachel Boillot: "Después del dia: Migrant Farmworkers in North Carolina," portraits of farmworkers from across the state of North Carolina, their families, and their residences, and a few shots of workers in the field; and "Moon Shine," portraits of traditional musicians and their families from the eastern Tennessee Cumberland Mountains region, along with images of their residences, interior settings, towns, and natural landscapes. The "Después del dia" work forms part of the multi-artist project "Where we live: a North Carolina portrait." There are 116 color pigment inkjet prints in the collection as a whole, ranging in size from 23x27 to 14x19 inches. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.
- Collection Number
- Rachel Boillot photographs
- 6.5 Linear Feet, 4 boxes
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Materials are in English.
Collection comprises two portfolios by documentary photographer Rachel Boillot: "Después del dia: migrant farmworkers in North Carolina," and "Moon Shine," formerly titled "Silent Ballad," an exploration of Tennessee Appalachian mountain life, culture, and musical traditions. The two series comprise 116 color pigment inkjet prints, 54 in "Después del dia" and 62 in "Moon Shine," scanned from 4x5 inch and 120mm negatives. They range in size from 14x19 to 23x27 inches, with the majority measuring 20x24 or 21x25 inches.
The images in "Después del dia" were taken from 2014-2015 as part of the "Where We Live: A North Carolina Portrait" project. They document the lives of migrant farmworkers and their families across the state of North Carolina. Most were taken at their homes, and feature interior as well as exterior settings, but there are a few images of workers in the field. As the photographer writes, "This look at the dwelling places of migrant farmworkers is ultimately my exploration of how one creates a home while residing in a transient state of being." The "Where We Live" Photographic Fellowship was funded by the Annenberg Foundation and directed by photographer Alex Harris.
In "Moon Shine," Boillot turns her focus to traditional musicians living in Tennessee's Cumberland Mountains region. The original title of this project was "Silent Ballad." While the majority of the images are portraits of fiddlers, banjo players, guitarists, ballad singers, and their families, there are also images of towns, roads, theaters, markets, cabins and houses, interiors of rooms, and natural landscapes, including some taken in state parks. Most of the images were taken in Tennessee, but there is one portrait of noted fiddler Clyde Davenport taken in Monticello, Kentucky, near the Tennessee border, and several taken near the Virginia border.
"Moon Shine" was supported by a post-graduate fellowship by the Riverview Foundation of Chattanooga, Tennessee, in partnership with Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies, the Friends of the Cumberland Trail, and Cumberland Trail State Park's Music Heritage Project. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.
The collection is arranged into two photographic bodies of work, Después del dia and Moon Shine. Después del dia is further subdivided into exhibit prints and master prints.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Use & Permissions
The "Después del dia" project participant consent forms stipulate that individual names of participants may not be published.
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], Rachel Boillot photographs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
"Moon Shine," formerly known as "Silent Ballad," comprises 62 images taken by Rachel Boillot of old-time musicians and their families living in or near the Cumberland mountains of Tennessee.
The photographs, taken with a large-format 4x5 camera, were made along the mountain roads between Signal Mountain and Cumberland Gap, tracing the Cumberland Trail corridor in East Tennessee. Subjects include fiddlers and a fiddle maker, banjo players, guitarists, ballad singers, and musicians' spouses. One image captures participants in a Cherokee song ritual performed at the Fall Creek Falls Festival near Spencer. Settings include old homesteads and new residences, interiors, a music hall and a theater. There are also landscapes of the tri-state area of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, including several of Sequatchie State Park near Pikeville. Tennessee communities pictured include Knoxville, Harriman, Harrogate, Jamestown, Oak Ridge, LaFollette, Lenoir City, Rockwood, Spencer, Norris, and Whitleyville. Later prints include images taken on the Virginia border. There is one portrait of noted fiddler Clyde Davenport at his home in Monticello, Kentucky, near the Tennessee border.
The project also inspired a photobook, to be published in 2019, and a documentary film titled In that Valley of Gold.
The color pigment inkjet prints measure 20x24 and 21x25 inches (image size approximately 16x20) and were created in 2016 from scans of 4x5 inch and 120 mm color negatives. They were printed on Museo Silver Rag paper.
This body of work features images of migrant farmworkers and their families and residences from across the state of North Carolina, and forms part of the Where We Live Photographic Fellowship project. There are two sets of color inkjet prints: a set of 37 21x25 inch prints, followed by a set of 17 prints created for the "Where we live" exhibit, in varying sizes ranging from 14x19 to 17x25 inches, and three 23x27 inch prints. The photographs in this project were taken with a large-format view camera. All prints were created in 2016 from scanned 4x5 negatives.
Folders house 37 archival color pigment inkjet prints measuring 21x25 inches, with image dimensions of approximately 16x20 inches. The prints were made by scanning 4x5 inch color negatives, and were printed on Museo Silver Rag paper in 2016.
Folders house a total of 17 prints: 14 in various sizes ranging from approximately 14x19 to 17x24 inches, and three 22x27 inch prints. The prints were made from scans of 4x5 inch color negatives, and were printed on Museo Silver Rag paper in 2016 as part of the "Where we live: a North Carolina portrait" exhibit.
Rachel Boillot is a photographer, documentary artist, and educator currently based in Tennessee. She holds a BA in Sociology from Tufts University, a BFA in Photography from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and an MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University. She has recently worked as a Visiting Lecturer in Photography at Duke University, Assistant Producer at Sandrock Recordings, and Multimedia Documentarian for the Friends of the Cumberland Trail.
Boillot's photography has been acquired for several permanent collections worldwide. Recent work was funded by the Annenberg Foundation of Los Angeles and the Riverview Foundation in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She is currently an Art Department faculty member at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee, while continuing audio production work at Sandrock Recordings alongside her own photographic practice.
Master of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts collection, Duke University Rubenstein Library (Rachel Boillot's MFA thesis)
Amanda Berg photographs, Duke University Rubenstein Library. (Photographs form part of the "Where we live" project)
Alex Harris photographs and papers, 1970-2015, Duke University Rubenstein Library. (Director of "Where we live" project)
Looking at Appalachia photographs project, 2014, Duke University Rubenstein Library
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Agricultural laborers -- North Carolina
- Folk music -- Tennessee
- Folk musicians -- Portraits
- Migrant agricultural laborers -- Housing -- North Carolina
- Migrant agricultural laborers -- North Carolina -- Pictorial works
- Migrant laborers' families
- Musicians -- Tennessee -- Portraits
- Old-time music -- Tennessee
- Appalachian region -- Photographs
- Appalachian region -- Social life and customs
- North Carolina -- Photographs
- North Carolina -- Social conditions
- Tennessee -- Photographs
The Rachel Boillot photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2016 and 2019.
Processed and encoded by Paula Jeannet, February 2016.
Addition processed by Rachel Jessen and encoded by Paula Jeannet, June 2019.
Accession(s) described in this collection: 2016-0008; 2019-0084.