Caroline Hickman Vaughan

AMERICAN, B. 1949-

Caroline Hickman VaughanCaroline Hickman Vaughan grew up and attended public schools in Durham, North Carolina and spent four summers at Western Carolina College in a class for the gifted child taking language and advanced classes to supplement her public education. In 1967, her first year of college, Vaughan was admitted to the course of study in the Duke University creative writing program, where she studied narrative writing with Reynolds Price and the late William Blackburn. During her college experience she continued to major in English but added more photography to her course curriculum in an independent study format. This additional challenge, since the school offered no photography classes, allowed her to seek out the mentorship of John Menapace, and to become one of three co-founders of the first student publication dedicated to photography as a fine art. Latent Image I was produced in her senior year when she and her co-founders invited Minor White to campus.

web_portrait_2Her study in photography also allowed her to work with Murray Riss at the Penland School in North Carolina in 1970 and John Menapace in 1974. Vaughan graduated from Duke in 1971 and immediately traveled to San Francisco to meet Imogen Cunningham, her heroine. They struck up a friendship, which involved correspondence and a return trip. Vaughan balanced the influence of Imogen Cunningham and her complete opposite, Minor White, during the next years of her study. During 1971-72 she participated in a program of intensive study with Minor White at M. I. T. She was the only female among his seven students for that academic year and received what was to be her must influential instruction in the technical and spiritual nature of her chosen art form. In 1977, she was nominated by a panel of photographic experts from Europe, North American and Australia, as one of 43 young, promising photographers as listed in the Time Life PhotographyYear–1977 edition.

Her highly personal history of making photographic images includes traversing North America, logging more than 75,000 miles to capture the vastness of natures space. At the other extreme, she has worked quietly, very close to home, photographing members of her own family for more than twenty years, as if the universe could be found in their faces and their gestures, in her attempt to interpret the natural world and its human inhabitants. In 2007, she returned to the Penland to teach a course in the portrait, the self-portrait, the psychological portrait in landscape and the portrait as metaphor. Currently she is learning digital photography and made an Apple book titled Fire Drill !documenting a Durham Fire Department live training burn.