Down East: A Historic Review of Coastal NC from Five Different Photographers

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On Thursday [6/9/2011]I was given the opportunity to journey east, Down East. I accompanied my peers, in the underclass of the photo technologies program at Carteret Community College, to an exhibit in Harker’s Island, NC. Now Harker’s Island is a small community, part of an area that we locals to the coast call “Down East.”

The exhibit that I had the pleasure of visiting Thursday was located at the Core Sound Water Fowl Museum. It features five different artists/ photographers including Scott Taylor, Ann Ehringhaus, Jan Eason, Dylan Baker Ray, and Frances Eubanks as they each document, in their own artistic style, the history of the coast of eastern North Carolina.
While I was present for the exhibit I got to speak with Mrs. Eubanks in a short interview after her lecture where she, more than happily, explained her personal, sentimental, and methodic approach to her work. Frances Eubanks’ work centers around the area of Portsmouth Island, a place of great sentiment for Eubanks as she captures the area as it exists now that the people she once knew are gone. Her work is done using digital infrared photography to give the spaces she portrays a more ethereal feeling in her finished images, and the results are stunning!
In images such as ‘Autumn Breeze’, or Mrs. Eubanks’ favorite ‘Byrum Ruins’ (2007), you get a since that the life has just left the room. “Infrared allows me to capture the feeling of Portsmouth today, now that the people are no longer there, after having known the people while they were alive.” She told me as we reviewed the display of her work. Images such as these were shot using a camera adjusted to digital infrared, however during her lecture she did make a point to show us the difference in the appearance of digital verses film by showing us a few prints of her earlier work.
In addition to Frances Eubanks’ work, the museum is also exhibiting the infrared prints of Jan Eason. His prints are the result of his 4×5 infrared exposures that result in some of the clearest infrared prints on the east coast. Eason’s work captures Downeast in immense detail that feels as if it’s drawing you in to the history of the area captured within the frame.
The exhibit also includes color work from the photographers Ann Ehringhaus, Dylan Baker Ray, and Scott Taylor. Ann Ehringhaus’ work captures the energy of the people of Portsmouth Island while they were alive and carries their spirit on to this day and age. Dylan Baker Ray captures the unique landscapes of the North Carolina coast as it deals with the constant changes due to weather and human interaction. Some of Dylan’s work captures the desolation of change as the colors of life fade from what seems as though they may once have been vibrant scenes. Scott Taylor’s exhibit continues to lead you in to this feeling as the scenes in his prints display the wear on the old fisheries that time has taken as they begin to fall out of use, and the dust begins to overtake these areas that the workers have left behind.
All together, this gallery showing is a rare collection to have all in one place as well as a great tribute to the history of the area. So if you happen to be in eastern North Carolina, I highly suggest for you to stop by Harker’s Island and check it out. 🙂

Check out the gallery times at


About C.K. Davis

A photo student jus doin' her thing :) View all posts by C.K. Davis

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