The images above and in the photo gallery are copyrighted by Joy D. Barnes and used with her permission. Prints of these images may be obtained by contacting Ms. Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More of Joy D. Barnes’ photographs can be viewed at www.jdbarnesphoto.com.
Special thanks to Merle Johnson of Bennington for identifying the subjects of these photos for the web gallery.
Green Mountain Furniture Company operated the former H.T. Cushman Furniture factory on Water Street in the Village of North Bennington during most of the 1970s.
Green Mountain maintained the Cushman standard of quality but developed its own product line. Many of the workers at Green Mountain were formerly employed by Cushman.
The working environment at Green Mountain Furniture — office and factory floor both — was photographed in 1977 and 1978 by Joy Davis Barnes, then a student at Bennington College. She recalls her work at Green Mountain below:
In September 1977, I sought permission to photograph the employees of the Green Mountain Furniture Co. in North Bennington as a project to fulfill my major in photography at Bennington College.
With stipulations (I could use not artificial lighting or flash that might distract or endanger workers), I loaded up my gear weekly for eight months and headed down to the factory. After shooting portraits of the friendly office staff, I headed out to the shop and yard where I was not quite so welcome, at first. The older guys mostly laughed at me, although I really think it was their unease at being photographed. So, I photographed the gals and the younger employees first.
As the weeks went by, I posted 8 x 10 photos in the lunch room on a regular basis and gave out free copies. Eventually, they all seemed to warm up to the idea of being photographed and even began to show off a little. All the apprehension seemed to dissolve and the project became terrific fun.
It was truly an experience to see the factory from the inside out. I drove by that building every day for three years and rarely thought twice about all the people behind the walls.
The final show of 82 images was held in the spring of 1978 in the Barn Gallery at Bennington College. I was happy to see the attendance of so many people from Green Mountain Furniture.