MANTEO, N.C. -- A 1963 sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Charlotte; Richard Petty and Miss Winston celebrating a mid-1970s victory at North Wilkesboro Speedway; destruction at Kitty Hawk following the March 1962 Ash Wednesday Storm — these are only a few of the myriad of photographs featured in a new exhibit at the Outer Banks History Center. “Bruce Roberts Photojournalist: 50 Years of Capturing Change” will be on display in the History Center Gallery March 5 through Dec. 31.
New York native Bruce Roberts began his love of photography as a teenager when he set up a makeshift darkroom in his family’s basement. After graduating from New York University and serving two years in the U.S. Air Force, he came to North Carolina to take photographs for the Hamlet News-Messenger. Roberts’ photographs were published in national publications such as “Life,” “Look,” “Time” and “Saturday Evening Post.” He also contributed many cover photographs to “The State” magazine, now known as “Our State.” In 1958, venerable editor Pete McKnight hired Bruce Roberts at the “Charlotte Observer,” where he became part of a legendary team of young and talented photographers who pioneered the use of 35-millimeter cameras in photojournalism.
Roberts has written or had his photographs published in more than 50 books, most recently “Just Yesterday: North Carolina People and Places” (North Carolina Office of Archives and History, 2008). His accolades are numerous – twice named Southern Photographer of the Year, three-time winner of the National Press Photographers Association News Photographers competition and notably, he was named the first recipient of “Our State” magazine’s Carl Goerch Award, established to honor its founder.
“Bruce Roberts Photojournalist: 50 Years of Capturing Change” features black-and-white and color images of Roberts’ work from his prolific career, including topics such as desegregation, commercial fishing, changing rural landscapes and the Blue Ridge Parkway. An opening reception will be held Friday, March 5, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
The Outer Banks History Center Gallery is located in Manteo at Roanoke Island Festival Park. For additional information call (252) 473-2655.
The Outer Banks History Center (http://www.obhistorycenter.ncdcr.gov/default.htm), within the Office of Archives and History, is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future. Information about the Department of Cultural Resources is available 24/7 at www.ncculture.com.
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