North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
Office of Archives and History
Division of Historical Resources
State Historic Preservation Office




TOBACCO BARN PHOTOGRAPHS BY NANCY O. ALBERT


Nancy O. Albert has documented the built environment for over thirty years. Now based in Charlotte, NC, she holds degrees from Trinity College (Hartford, CT) and Wesleyan University. Inspired by Walker Evans and the great documentarians of the 1930’s she began photographing the old textile mills that lined New England's rivers, shooting in black and white, using a medium format film camera. Feeling that her work was often a race against time to make a visual record of endangered historic structures, she compiled a large collection of images of textile mills and mill villages  On several occasions she was commissioned to record structures about to be demolished, including Long River Village, Middletown, CT's oldest housing project. She also photographed asylums and state mental hospitals and worked with Trinity College students to document Hartford neighborhoods. She curated several exhibitions of historic images, was Photo Editor for a regional history magazine, and had photo essays published in Connecticut History and Northeast Magazine. Her photographs were exhibited in museums and galleries including the Connecticut Historical Society and the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum.

All of her New England images are now housed at Wesleyan University's Special Collections and Archives in Middletown, CT. The Nancy Ottmann Albert Photography Collection may be viewed by researchers, students and the general public. A retrospective exhibition, Documents in Black and White, was mounted there in October, 2016. 

After moving to Charlotte in 2006 she continued her photographic documentation, now shooting primarily in digital color. She began to explore North Carolina's back roads, seeking out country stores, abandoned homesteads and other vernacular structures. She also started to focus her attention on tobacco barns, idiosyncratic structures that have a grace and simplicity that appeal to her photographic eye. Once important to the state's economy, the barns, like the New England mills, are rapidly disappearing.

Her images have been exhibited in galleries in both North and South Carolina. Since 2015 she  has been affiliated with Ciel Gallery of Fine Art in Charlotte, where she teaches monthly Photography and the Art of Seeing workshops. Rust Revival, a featured artist exhibition of photographs of abandoned and industrial sites, was mounted there in September, 2016. In 2017 she was awarded an Individual Artist grant from Charlotte’s Arts and Science Council, her second from that organization.

More of her work can be seen on her website: www.noalbert.com.

Funding for the Tobacco Barn Documentation project came in part from a grant from Charlotte's Arts and Science Council.


Users may download and use the images for non-commercial use only, such a school reports, historical society websites, and similar purposes. If the images are printed or posted on other websites, please credit Nancy O. Albert as photographer in this manner: "Photograph(s) by Nancy O. Albert."

Users who intend to use the images for commercial purposes, or who desire full-resolution versions for larger prints or other purposes, should contact Nancy directly at noalbert@carolina.rr.com.


Click on a thumbnail to view a higher-resolution image.

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8/25/2017