“Pride in Tobacco”: Roycroft’s Warehouse, 1982

Photo by John T. Jones.

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“Pride in Tobacco”: Roycroft’s Warehouse, 1982

by John T. Jones
Southern Cultures, Vol. 21, No. 4: Winter 2015

“[T]he sweaty, aromatic ‘Bull Durham’ of old . . . existed even as today’s ‘City of Medicine’ was emerging.”

The old saying “f/8 and be there” applies to these photos. In the early to mid 1980s, I was doing street photography in downtown Durham. Especially compelling was the warehouse district, home of the muscular, oversized tobacco auction warehouses and their supporting businesses. In August 1982, I serendipitously came upon an auction about to begin at Roycroft’s Warehouse on Rigsbee Avenue. The folks in charge graciously let me photograph the event, and these images are the result.