Viewing Room Main Site
Skip to content

Baldwin Lee Black Americans in the South

An Online Exhibition

Columbia, South Carolina, 1984

Columbia, South Carolina

1984

​vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Vicksburg, Mississippi - Young Man and Boy at Dusk, 1983

Vicksburg, Mississippi - Young Man and Boy at Dusk

1983

​vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

DeFuniak Springs, Florida, 1984

DeFuniak Springs, Florida

1984

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Georgetown, Georgia, 1984

Georgetown, Georgia

1984

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Lula, Mississippi - Woman in Hat, 1984

Lula, Mississippi - Woman in Hat

1984

​vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Hughs, Arkansas, 1984

Hughs, Arkansas

1984

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Columbia, South Carolina, 1984

Columbia, South Carolina

1984

vintage gelatin silver print

20 x 16 inches

Monroe, Louisiana - Basketball Players, 1985

Monroe, Louisiana - Basketball Players

1985

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1986

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

1986

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Walls, Mississippi - Flare, 1984

Walls, Mississippi - Flare

1984

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Plain Dealing, Louisiana - Baby in Lap, 1984

Plain Dealing, Louisiana - Baby in Lap

1984

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Monroe, Louisiana - Mother and Children, 1985

Monroe, Louisiana - Mother and Children

1985

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

New Orleans, Louisiana - Grandfather, Daughter, Grandson, 1984

New Orleans, Louisiana - Grandfather, Daughter, Grandson

1984

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

 

Monroe, Louisiana - Consecutive Twins, 1985

Monroe, Louisiana - Consecutive Twins

1985

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

New Orleans, Louisiana, 1984

New Orleans, Louisiana

1984

​vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Vicksburg, Mississippi - Alan Pulling Friend, 1983

Vicksburg, Mississippi - Alan Pulling Friend

1983

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Mobile, Alabama, 1984

Mobile, Alabama

1984

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Bessemer, Alabama, 1985

Bessemer, Alabama

1985

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Vicksburg, Mississippi - Children Holding Hands, 1984

Vicksburg, Mississippi - Children Holding Hands

1984

​​vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Vicksburg, Mississippi - Alan's Living Room, 1983

Vicksburg, Mississippi - Alan's Living Room

1983

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Rosedale, Mississippi - Hanging Baby, 1985

Rosedale, Mississippi - Hanging Baby

1985

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Charleston, South Carolina, 1984

Charleston, South Carolina

1984

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Garnett, South Carolina, 1985

Garnett, South Carolina

1985

vintage gelatin silver print

20 x 16 inchs

Mobile, Alabama, 1985

Mobile, Alabama

1985

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Rosedale, Mississippi - Screen, 1986

Rosedale, Mississippi - Screen

1986

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Vicksburg, Mississippi - Big Letters, 1984

Vicksburg, Mississippi - Big Letters

1984

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Tunica, Mississippi, 1984

Tunica, Mississippi

1984

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Boyle, Mississippi - Whispering, 1985

Boyle, Mississippi - Whispering

1985

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Walls, Mississippi - Bicycles, 1984

Walls, Mississippi - Bicycles

1984

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Richland, Georgia, 1984

Richland, Georgia

1984

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Shreveport, Louisiana, 1986

Shreveport, Louisiana

1986

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Vicksburg, Mississippi - Barber, 1983

Vicksburg, Mississippi - Barber

1983

​​vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Norcross, Georgia, 1986

Norcross, Georgia

1986

vintage gelatin silver print

16 x 20 inches

Press Release

When Baldwin Lee first arrived in the south, he did not know what he would photograph. He took a 2,000-mile exploratory trip on the back roads photographing anything that interested him with his 4 x 5-inch view camera. "My subjects included landscapes, cityscapes, close-up details, night studies, interiors of commercial and residential buildings, and portraits of people—white and black, old and young, rural and urban, well-to-do and poor," he writes in his manuscript, In Consideration of Photographing in the South. "Upon proofing the film, I saw that the suspicion I had had while making the photographs was confirmed—what interested me most were the pictures of black Americans who lived in poverty." Lee was surprised by the strong empathy he found he had for the subject.

Lee studied photography with Minor White at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in 1972. Lee then continued his education at Yale University, where he studied with Walker Evans. He received a Master of Fine Arts in 1975. After school, Lee began teaching photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and then at Yale, while creating his photographs, which at the time were rooted in the exploration of the contemporary built environment. Lee's later work from the early to mid-1980s entitled, Black Americans in the South is a compelling and empathic portrait that represents its subjects within their rural environments, expressing the joys of childhood, the gravity of adult life, and the places in between.  

Baldwin Lee's work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Chrysler Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. His photographs are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the University of Kentucky Art Museum, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Museum of the City of New York. He has been honored with fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (1984) and the National Endowment for the Arts (1984 and 1990).