One Photographer, One County, Half a Century....
In 1926 Herbert Lee Waters purchased a photography studio at 118 ½ South Main Street in Lexington, North Carolina. The Davidson County Historical Museum has preserved his still image collection, and established the H. Lee Waters Photography Gallery. Together with this website, the public can access an unprecedented set of images made by one photographer, in one county, for over half a century.
H. Lee Waters' pictures often told the story of an entire life. In addition to studio portraits, he photographed countless graduations, weddings, and reunions. His collection shows people doing jobs that no longer exist, in local mills and plants that are now shuttered. He covered routine events like company dinners, where everyone has a bottle of Coke at their plate, almost every man is holding a cigarette, and seating is racially segregated. His work allows us to better understand the world of our parents and grandparents.
The dynamic prints on display in the Waters Gallery are made from his original negatives. Please visit to better appreciate the clarity and composition of his work. Images will be added to this website as cataloging continues. If you are interested in keeping track of our progress, please subscribe to receive updates!
The H. Lee Waters Photography Collection is copyright protected, and permission must be obtained for all uses. Please contact the Museum for more information.