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Phil Dunn to give talk at Arts on Main

Mathews photographer Phil Dunn will give a gallery talk on the life and work of photographer Richard Samuel Roberts from 7–8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27, at Arts on Main in Gloucester.

Roberts was one of South Carolina’s most famous photographers in the 1920s and 1930s, but for more than 40 years after his death in 1936 his work remained virtually unknown to all but his family and those who had been his closest friends, said a press release.

A self-taught photographer, Roberts opened a studio in Fernandina, Florida, where he gained a reputation as a portrait maker. After he had finished his day’s work as a stevedore and later as a fireman laborer, he worked at perfecting his photography.

Roberts moved to Columbia, South Carolina, where he worked as a post office custodian and opened another studio in 1922. For the next 14 years, the thousands of pictures that Roberts took created a visual history of every aspect of the African-American community in South Carolina’s capital city.


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