Freezing Time

November 30, 2005
Lost in Translation, the late William Vaughan '30, the photographer's father

Lost in Translation, the late William Vaughan '30, the photographer's father.
© 2005 Safe Harbor Books. Used with permission. safeharborbooks@aol.com

In the context of digital media, manipulated images, and fast effects, a simple but elegant book of photography is a restful contrast. "Quartet is a throwback, an endangered art form," writes Georgann Eubanks '76 in the introduction to this collection of thirty-four images from four North Carolina photographers. She describes the compilation as "refreshing in the quiet pace required to absorb them. Such a contemplative venture is the same process that these prints required of their makers: a slow dance in near dark."

Caroline Vaughan '71 is one of those four artists.

Quartet: Four North Carolina Photographers

Eight of her images, both color and black-and-white, are featured in Quartet, along with the works of Rob Amberg, Elizabeth Matheson, and John Rosenthal.

Eubanks writes that "Vaughan often speaks in metaphor because she sees in metaphor.... [She] always seeks out the most transient elements in a landscape, 'things that took a shorter time to be created and that require non-discovery by humans to survive, like the mud dauber's nest. These fragile things I try to photograph in the most noninvasive ways,'"she says.

"At least once a year over two decades, Vaughan made a series of portraits of her father, a skilled woodworker. This longitudinal study demonstrates the fine patina of human aging, sturdy and burnished as the oak cane that William Vaughan ['30] refused to carry for walking but used to steady his hands for his daughter's camera. Indeed, all of Caroline Vaughan's work aims to freeze time in order to distill its effects."

An earlier book, Borrow Time: Photographs of Caroline Vaughan, was published by Duke University Press. Amberg's Sodom Laurel Album was published by Duke's

Center for Documentary Studies and the University of North Carolina Press. The Jargon Society published Blithe Air: Photographs of England, Wales, and Ireland by Matheson, who once worked for Duke's publications and bulletins offices. In 1998, a Rosenthal collection, Regarding Manhattan, was published by Safe Harbor Books, which printed Quartet.