Oral history interview with Billy E. Barnes, November 6, 2003

Oral history interview with Billy E. Barnes, November 6, 2003

 Click here to view the item
Creator:Barnes, Billy E. (Billy Ebert), 1931-
Creator:Gritter, Elizabeth
Title:Oral history interview with Billy E. Barnes, November 6, 2003
Date:2003 Nov. 6

Billy E. Barnes became a photographer during the late 1950s, following a tour of duty in the Korean War and his return to college in North Carolina. Barnes begins the interview with a brief discussion of his initial interest in photography and his first job with McGraw-Hill Publishing Company in New York City and in Atlanta, Georgia. After working for McGraw-Hill for several years and establishing a reputation for himself as a documentary photographer, Barnes returned to North Carolina to work for the North Carolina Fund (1964-1968), an offshoot of Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty. Barnes argues that as a photographer for the North Carolina Fund, he was able to lend a human face to the Fund's more impersonal collecting of statistics about the experiences of impoverished people in North Carolina. According to Barnes, his photographs documented the lives of impoverished people as part of a larger effort to debunk negative myths and stereotypes about welfare and poor people. He explains that he always strove to depict the strength, dignity, and pride of his subjects, and offers several anecdotes about some of his favorite photographs, which he explains told stories about the private, everyday lives of poor people. In addition, Barnes speaks at length about the widespread dissemination of his photographs in both local and national media, as well as its use by the Office of Economic Opportunity. Most of the interview focuses on Barnes's work with the North Carolina Fund, but he also discusses changing technologies for photography, the influence of other photographers, and his broader views on the principles of photography.

The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the aggregation and enhancement of partner metadata.

Types:Transcripts | Sound recordings | Oral histories
Subjects:Barnes, Billy E. (Billy Ebert), 1931- | Photographers--North Carolina | North Carolina Fund--Employees | Documentary photography--North Carolina | Photojournalism--North Carolina | Poor--North Carolina | Ku Klux Klan (1915- ) | North Carolina
Institution:Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Contributors:Southern Oral History Program | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Documenting the American South (Project) | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library | Oral histories of the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Documenting the American South (Project))
Online Publisher:[Chapel Hill, N.C.] : University Library, UNC-Chapel Hill. | 2008
Original Material:

Title from menu page (viewed on Nov. 10, 2008).

Interview participants: Billy E. Barnes, interviewee; Elizabeth Gritter, interviewer.

Duration: 02:38:13.

This electronic edition is part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South. It is a part of the collection Oral histories of the American South.

Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner. Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers.

Related Materials:

Forms part of Oral histories of the American South collection.

Persistent Link to Item:http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/O-0038/menu.html