Zachary Norman - The Ballad of Tom Dooley (2009-11)
“The Ballad of Tom Dooley, popularized by The Kingston Trio’s 1958 recording, is a ballad that describes the 1866 murder of Laura Foster by Tom Dula (Dooley).
Tom Dula was tried and hanged for the murder but it is widely believed, especially by residents of the area where the murder occurred, that Tom was innocent and that his lover, Anne Melton, was responsible for Laura’s death.
These photographs represent an attempt to understand the roots of this ballad and the effect it has had on nearby communities in Western North Carolina, namely Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro, NC.
My intent when beginning this project was to document artifacts and locations significant to the story behind the song; to give dimension and depth to an otherwise casually understood artifact of American culture.
The scope of the project gradually expanded to include my growing interest in the way and for what reasons a community claims its connection to a history as significant and popular as the one I was attempting to record. The photographs, in addition to providing depth to a well known folksong, represent an attempt to determine the role photography plays in the creation of history.”
1. Cot in Tom Dula’s Jail Cell
2. Anne Melton’s Jail Cell
3. Dramatic Reinterpretation of the Ballad of Tom Dooley
4. Path Along the Yadkin River that Laura Foster Walked on the Morning of Her Murder
5. Near Where Tom Dooley Was Hanged for the Murder of Laura Foster
6. Imogene’s Basement
8. Girls Sitting on the Back of a Car
9. Bridge Spanning a Tributary of the New River
10. Seven Shot Rimfire Deemore .32 Caliber Revolver Used by Col. Grayson to Arrest Tom Dula