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The Appalachian Urban Folk Photography

Isaiah Rice (1917 – 1980)

“The depth of Rice’s passion for photography is evidenced in his choice of camera equipment and a body of work totaling well over 1,000 prints, slides, and negatives. In an era of Brownie instamatics, Rice owned several cameras and favored German cameras produced in the 1950s and 1960s.

Isaiah Rice took slides and prints with a Zeiss/Ikon Ikoflex Ic 886/16, a twin lens reflex camera that was produced from 1956 to 1960 and cost $146 when it was first introduced. Rice also owned an Ansco Speedex 4.5 (which retailed for about $47 in 1955), a Kodak Duaflex, and a Polaroid camera.

Perhaps the most intriguing camera was his Minox-B subminiature “spy” camera, which was produced from 1958–69 and cost around $160 in 1969. It is approximately 3 ¾” x 1″ x ½”—about the size of a pack of gum—and the negatives were a tiny 8mm x 11mm. Its diminutive size made it perfect to carry in a pocket or small pouch, and made it easy to take photos without drawing attention to the photographer.

Excerpt from the text published here:

Isaiah Rice (1917 – 1980) was an African-American photographer whose photographs document the people and neighborhoods of Asheville in western North Carolina. Rice is credited with providing some of the few known representations of Black Appalachian communities from a Black Appalachian perspective.

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