I attended Duke University to pursue my passion to become a writer and studied with the late Reynolds Price, and the late Dr. Blackburn. But by the time I had finished my studies in narrative writing, I became increasingly non-verbal as I had difficulty knowing what voice to use as there was not an androgynous voice. My script turned to photography a non-verbal way to express my emotions. Photography, or “writing with light” opened a passageway to express the emotional velocity of my thoughts by weaving both my male and female narrative voices into my images. This non-verbal medium of images tapped into my subconscious, and drove me to open myself up with less censorship to see what was inside of me. This clarified the people, places and objects that held special meaning to me, and resonated with my past experiences and dreams.
I have always been interested in the scars, lines and topography of the natural world as well as the human body; the face as it ages, how people’s hands inform us of their unique gestures, their signature style. Self-expression of the younger generation fascinates me: piercings and tattoos needled into the flesh of those who need to individualize themselves in a culture that is becoming increasingly more diverse.
This journey, with my camera as passport, has found me searching for places and people who have allowed me into their culture or private lives. That dialogue sustains me. Most of all, I need that connection to feel alive: to resonate with another form of energy and find the gift of equilibrium between myself and another.
While Caroline studied English at Duke there were no photography classes which 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. She studied with Minor White as the only female in a seven student graduate class from 1971-1972. Her 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.
Ms. Vaughan participated in Polaroid’s Young Artists’ Program from 1971 for about ten years and received additional support from Polaroid in 2007. She received a N. C. Fellowship in 1990, as well as a grant from The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke. In 1996, Duke Press, with an introduction by the late Reynolds Price, published her monograph, Borrowed Time: Photographs by Caroline Vaughan, Durham and London. She was also published in Quartet: Four North Carolina Photographers, by Safe Harbor Press in 2004. Museums that have collected Vaughan’s work include, among others: The Addison Gallery of American Art, MA; The Amon Carter Museum, TX; The Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX; The Polaroid Collection, MA; and The Gregg Museum, The North Carolina Museum of Art, The Cameron Museum, and The Mint Museum in North Carolina. Additionally, her work has been published in Camera(Switzerland); Zoom (France); and Aperture (USA). Retired from working in fund raising at Duke for 25 years, Caroline is learning digital photography and taught at Penland in 2007.