“Inside or outside his [Durham] photo studio, Hugh Mangum created an atmosphere — respectful and often playful — in which hundreds of men, women and children opened themselves. Though the late-19th-century American South in which he worked was marked by disenfranchisement, segregation and inequality — between black and white, men and women, rich and poor — Mr. Mangum, who was white, portrayed all of them with candor, humor, confidence and dignity….
“The images that remain — about 700 glass plate negatives preserved in Duke University’s Rubenstein Library — were salvaged from the tobacco pack house on the Mangum family property where the photographer built his first darkroom. For decades, the negatives caught the droppings of chickens and other creatures living in the pack house. Today they are in various states of deterioration. Some are broken and the emulsion is peeling on others, but the hundreds of vibrant personalities in the photographs prevail, engaging our emotions, intellect and imagination.”
— From “A Penny Picture Photographer in the American South” by Sarah Stackein the New York Times (Aug. 27, 2013)