Camera Man's Journey: Julian Dimock's South
Thomas L. Johnson, Nina J. Root
University of Georgia Press, 2002 - Photography - 191 pages
A poignant collection of 150 photographs, Camera Man's Journey takes us to a place at once familiar and foreign. Set in the South early in the twentieth century, these photographs bridge a distance not only of time but also of contrasting attitudes and customs.
The images show African Americans in or around Columbia, Beaufort, and Hilton Head, South Carolina. Some photographs were taken in surroundings where blacks might associate with whites--out of necessity and according to strict custom. Most of the images, however, are set in "colored sections" or other remote areas of town and country where blacks were obliged to fashion lives apart. Under segregation and disenfranchisement, men, women, and children are portrayed in ordinary occupations and pursuits: a peddler selling his wares, a woman tying a toddler's shoes, a barber and his young apprentice taking a break outside their shop.
Julian Dimock, whose works appeared often in major travel and nature magazines, took the photographs in 1904-5. So many photographers of the era tended to romanticize or politicize their African American subjects; Dimock was different. Signs of want and inequity are plain to see in these images, but Dimock portrays his subjects as they really were in all of their dignity, strength, and beauty.