The Dakota Photo Documentary Project (D.P.D.P.)

D.P.D.P. group picture
The Dakota Photo Documentary Project photographers in 1976.
From the left: Todd Strand, Fred Schumacher, DuWayne Rude, Bruce Severy, Jerry Anderson, Ken Jorgensen, James R. Dean.
Click on picture to see larger size of photo.
The D.P.D.P. photos can be seen at
The Dakota Photo Documentary Project involved seven photographers, two lab technicians, and a project director, who photographed the state of North Dakota throughout most of the year 1976.

The project was funded with a federal grant which paid salaries for the photographers and lab technicians from March 1 to July 1, 1976. The photographers and director financed all field and darkroom expenses as well as public exhibitions of the group’s work. Some of the members continued to work well into 1977. The primary aims of the project were to provide the State Historical Society with a photograph of every location in North Dakota with a place name and to present each of the state’s 53 counties with photos representing a cross section of life in that county.

The prints in this folio are by James R. Dean who was assigned seven counties in the north-central and north-eastern parts of the state. They included, from west to east, Renville, Bottineau, Towner, Cavalier, Pembina, and Walsh counties.

While working in these counties Mr. Dean traveled 10,699 miles, visited 126 places with names, exposed 17,352 negatives, and earned $2710.76. He produced eight folios (seven counties and one state-at-large) containing a total of 450 photographs. They are the result of eight intensive weeks of editing, printing, and compiling during March and April of 1977.

Each of the state’s 53 counties received a set of photographs representing a cross-section of life in that county. Mr. Dean presented each of his counties with six 20” x 24” prints, copies of which follow. Each print was mounted, labeled, dated, signed, and sealed. They were intended to be hung in their respective county courthouses.

The Dakota Photo Documentary Project awarded to the State Historical Society’s Photography Archives in Bismarck about 1000 photographs of the nearly 800 locations in North Dakota with a place name. Mr. Dean provided 150 photographs of 126 locations from his seven counties.

Bottineau County
Cavalier County
Pembina County
Renville County
Rolette County
Towner County
Walsh County
State Wide Photos

Email James R. Dean at

All photographs © James R. Dean.
No reproductions of any kind may be made without the photographer's written permission.

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