Brenda Scott

Photographer & Cellist



Stagville: Black & White


Here is the most recent draft:


Thanks for the advice!  I have reworked the sound.  I experimented with moving the images and video around, but for now, I am going to leave it just for logistics of the length, etc.  I do like the idea though.  Thanks, Michelle!.  I think this might work better in a longer version.  I plan to have a better version of the video on YouTube tonight.  Kat, I can send the revised version if you like. 

Any last minute ideas before I re-render & upload?  My little rural internet speeds make this a very slow process.


Here is the first draft of my project:

Suggestions & ideas on editing GREATLY appreciated.

I am still trying to work out how to include this image, plus I need to add to the credits.  I still feel like I'm leaving out lots . . .

Here are the credits in their modified form:

In order of Appearance
Historic Stagville
Lauren May
Jeremiah DeGennaro
Ricky Hart
The Chickens of Stagville
Angela Russell

Video & Still Photography
Brenda Scott

Brenda Scott

Rix Cycle Shack & Bistro

Created in Katrina Tan-Conte's
Absolutely Wonderful Class
"Muse: A Video Portrait Workshop"
via Skillshare

With Many Thanks to

Stagville Descendants, in Particular
Ricky Hart
Charlene Justice-Bass
Angela Russell (nee Hart)
All of the family members whom I have met and
with whom I have corresponded

My Mentors
Katrina Tan-Conte
Laura Kurtenbach
The Spindlers
Scott Faber

Stagville Staff Past & Present
Stephanie Hardy
Jeremiah DeGennaro
Lauren May
Kimberly Puryear
Alton Mitchell
Tony Rocha

The Folks at the NC Museum of History, Especially
Emily Grant

The Neeces

"Niel Gow's Lament for his Second Wife," Niel Gow
"Go Down, Moses," Traditional Spiritual
"Steal Away," Traditional Spiritual

Brenda Scott Photography
Durham, NC

Historic Stagville
5828 Old Oxford Highway, Durham, NC

North Carolina Museum of History

The Chickens of Stagville

Copyright Brenda Scott 2013

Here is a blurb on my project so far:

In 2011 I began to study ways that the past lives on today in many aspects of our society, both physical and social, through a photographic exploration of Historic Stagville in Durham, NC.  Stagville was part of the plantation estate of the Bennehan and Cameron families - the largest plantation in North Carolina and one of the largest in the South. At the height of its operations it encompassed about 30,000 acres and was home to approximately 900 enslaved people. Many of these structures still stand, and one can see evidence of the great skill of the enslaved people who built them.  One can even see some of their finger- and toeprints. 

Initially I worked exclusively with the surviving buildings, but one day at the site I met a descendant of people from Stagville.  This was an incredible revelation.  Where I thought I would find anger and bitterness, I found dignity and pride.  I knew then that I wanted to learn about the people of Stagville as well its structures.

In all of my Stagville work, my images aim to remind us that everyday we live on a foundation built by those who preceded us – and that at present we are leaving our own legacy for future generations.


Pressing reason for wanting to work with video :

More recently I have been planning a six month (or more!) exhibit at the NC Museum of History.   This will show up to 50 of my prints of Stagville plus video footage about Stagville, about my project, and about the lives of Stagville descendants.  I have been tracing Stagville families and am organizing video interviews with as many as are willing.

My background (almost none, but):

Although I have a degree in fine art photography, I have no formal training in video.  This class along with an internship in Durham are the beginnings of my journey in video.

Proposed class project:

For my project in this class, my goal is to complete a short portrait of Stagville to help introduce Stagville to viewers of my exhibit (which thankfully does not open until March 2014) as well as to those who visit the historic site itself.


Some of my images can be seen here.


For this project I've got my usual lenses, a D7000, a 12' jib, wheels for my tripod, and . . . I'm looking at getting some kind of small track system that can be put on a tripod or other surface, and possibly some other kind of stabilization rig.  (Suggestions?)  I've got a couple of 1000w continuous light softboxes (and stands), and a small LED light to use with the jib.  My sound recorder/mic is an old but trusty H2 Zoom.  


I am working with vocal artist Yolanda Hall to make recordings of her performing traditional spirituals in the spaces at Stagville.  These will serve as a soundtrack under narration and on their own.  I am planning several short videos from our sessions as well.


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