Meet the Photographer

Artist Wendel A. White photographed the historical sites and objects related to the 7 Steps to Freedom stories. White is known for taking photographs that evoke African American history.

See Wendel A. White’s 7 Steps to Freedom photographs.

Watch a video story showing the photographer on location in Salem County. Also interviewed for the story is historian James Turk of the Salem County Cultural & Heritage Commission. The story was produced by Susan Wallner.

Wendel A. White, photographer

Wendel A. White was born in Newark, New Jersey and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. He was awarded a BFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York and an MFA in photography from the University of Texas at Austin. White taught photography at the School of Visual Arts, NY; The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, NY; the International Center for Photography, NY; Rochester Institute of Technology; and is currently Distinguished Professor of Art at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

He has received various awards and fellowships including a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Photography, two artist fellowships from the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, a photography grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and a New Works Photography Fellowship from En Foco Inc. His work is represented in museum and corporate collections including: the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL; Haverford College, PA; Johnson and Johnson, New Brunswick, NJ; Chase Manhattan Bank; the Paul R. Jones Collection of African American Art at University of Delaware; Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, WI; and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NY. In January 2003 the Noyes Museum of Art mounted a retrospective exhibition of the Small Towns, Black Lives project, including 13 years of images and an exhibition catalogue of the same title. The exhibition traveled to various venues through 2007.

Wendel has served on the board of directors for the Society for Photographic Education and was elected board chair from 1996 to 1999. He has served on the Kodak Educational Advisory Council and NJ Save Outdoor Sculpture. He is currently a board member of the New Jersey Black Culture and Heritage Foundation and in November of 2010, began a term as board chairman of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

His interest in electronic media led to the creation of a web-based presentation of the Small Towns, Black Lives project that went on-line in 1995 as a web site called The Cemetery (the images are now included in Small Towns, Black Lives at blacktowns.org). His current projects include: Schools for the Colored, Manifest, and 7 Steps to Freedom (a public art commission).

The 7 Steps to Freedom Photographs


Col. Robert Johnson House Where Amy Hester Reckless Lived as a Slave
Salem, New Jersey, 2011
22” x 28”
Pigment Inkjet on Paper


Freedom Fighters, US Colored Troops, Spencer UAME Cemetery
Woodstown, New Jersey, 2011
22” x 28”
Pigment Inkjet on Paper


Goodwin Sisters Home, Underground Railroad
Salem, New Jersey, 2011
22” x 28”
Pigment Inkjet on Paper


Harriet Martineau’s “Retrospect of Western Travel,” 1838, Owned by Abigail Goodwin
Salem, New Jersey, 2011
22” x 28”
Pigment Inkjet on Paper


Hetty Saunders Delaware River Landing
Elsinboro Point, New Jersey, 2011
22” x 28”
Pigment Inkjet on Paper


John Stewart Rock Office
Salem, New Jersey, 2011
22” x 28”
Pigment Inkjet on Paper


John Whittier’s “The Stranger in Lowell,” 1845, Owned by Elizabeth Goodwin
Salem, New Jersey, 2011
22” x 28”
Pigment Inkjet on Paper


Slave Catcher’s Trial, Sherron’s Hotel
Salem, New Jersey
22” x 28”
Pigment Inkjet on Paper


Thomas Clarkson’s “Abolition of the Slave Trade,” 1808, Owned by Elizabeth Goodwin
Salem, New Jersey, 2011
22” x 28”
Pigment Inkjet on Paper


Thomas Clement Oliver and the Camp Meeting, Mt. Pisgah Cemetery
Salem, New Jersey, 2011
22” x 28”
Pigment Inkjet on Paper