Guide to the Wendel White Photographs, 2009-2015
Wendel White's portfolio "Manifest" contains images of photo-based representations of objects, documents, photographs, and books made in various public and private collections throughout the U.S. These repositories encompass elements of material culture such as diaries, slave collars, human hair, a drum, souvenirs, and other objects, some with great significance and others simply quotidian representations of daily life, from the history of the African American community. The portfolio consists of thirty 24"x30" color inkjet prints created from a 4"x5" film-based camera. White's "Manifest" is the 2015 winner of the Archive of Documentary Arts Collection Award for Documentarians of Color.
- Collection Number
- Wendel White photographs
- 3.0 Linear Feet, 1 flat box
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Materials in English
Wendel White's series Manifest was the winner of the 2015 Archive of Documentary Arts Award for Documentarians of Color. The ADA Collection Awards were established to diversify the ADA’s collection in order to better reflect the multitude of viewpoints and communities from which work is being made in the documentary arts today.
White included the following abstract about his work:
The Manifest portfolio images are photo-based representations of objects, documents, photographs, and books made in various public and private collections throughout the U.S. These repositories encompass elements of material culture such as diaries, slave collars, human hair, a drum, souvenirs, and other objects, some with great significance and others simply quotidian representations of daily life, from the history of the African American community.
This project (Manifest) is an effort to seek out the cultural artifacts of the American concept and representation of race. The histories of slavery, abolition, segregation, the U.S. Civil War, and the Civil Rights Era are a few of the narratives that emerge in these photographs.
I am increasingly interested in the residual power of the past to inhabit these material remains. The ability of objects to transcend lives, centuries, and millennia, suggests a remarkable mechanism for folding time, bringing the past and the present into a shared space that is uniquely suited to artistic exploration. While the artifacts are remarkable as visual evidence of lives and events, I also intend the viewer to consider this informal reliquary as a survey of the impulse and motivation to preserve history and memory.
Several projects that have occupied my attention during the past two decades are, in retrospect, part of a broader effort to seek out the ghosts that continue to haunt the remnants of the past. I am drawn to the stories that dwell within these objects.
The photographs are made with a 4”x5”, film-based camera. The prints are pigment-based inkjet on paper. A recent book based on this work was published by Chroma (California Institute of Integral Studies) as Manifest and is available through the Chroma website.
Prints are sleeved in protective mylar and are housed unfoldered in an archival acid-free flat box. Captions are included on the back of each print. Please exercise caution when using this collection as the digital color printing process may be easily scratched.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
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], Wendel White Photographs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
White's images often include two dates. The first documents the date the photograph was taken. The second documents the date the print was created.
Wendel A. White was born in Newark, New Jersey, and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. He was awarded a BFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York and an MFA in photography from the University of Texas at Austin. White is currently Distinguished Professor of Art at Stockton University in New Jersey.
He has received various awards and fellowships including a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in photography, three artist fellowships from the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, a photography grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and a photography fellowship from En Foco Inc.
His work is represented in museum, library, corporate, and private collections. White's work is included in numerous publications including two books about his work, Manifest (published in 2014 by Chroma) and Small Towns, Black Lives (published in 2003 by the Noyes Museum of Art).
White has served on the board of directors for the Society for Photographic Education, the Atlantic City Historical Museum, New Jersey Black Culture and Heritage Foundation, and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
The Wendel White Photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2015.
Processed by Beth Weiss and Meghan Lyon, Sept. 2015.
Accessions described in this collection guide: 2015-0118.