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Franklin Research Center Acquires the Celeste and Reggie Hodges Photograph Collection

Post submitted by John B. Gartrell, Director John Hope Franklin Research Center

Ceremonial maskThe John Hope Franklin Research Center is happy to share the acquisition of the Celeste and Reggie Hodges Photograph Collection. The collection documents nearly two decades of their life in West Africa, after they joined the Peace Corps in the late 1960s. While there, the Hodges’ worked as teachers and for international agencies but spent years applying their love of amateur photography to document the everyday life of their neighbors and friends with a unique look at the local customs from fishing, basket weaving, husbandry, religious and rites of passage ceremonies. Over that same time, they were also gifted a number of masks, instruments and other artifacts that have been donated to a number of museums over the last few years (https://nasher.duke.edu/stories/a-personal-gift-2/). Both Celeste and Reggie worked behind the camera and developed their film in a makeshift darkroom when they had access to electricity and water in their village. The photographs display African life before the devastation of wars and Ebola in the 1990s affected the people and places where the Hodges’ lived.  The materials now in the Franklin Research Center include their photo negatives, original prints and digital scans, along with printed materials including artwork done by their students. This body of materials provides an intimate, firsthand perspective of this period and people. The collection will be made available once processing is completed.

Woman cleaning fish

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