Posts tagged: roy decarava

Friday Inspiration – Roy DeCarava 2

Roy DeCarava, one of my Friday Inspirations back in August passed away this week at the age of 89.

Roy DeCarava trained to be a painter, but while using a camera to gather images for his printmaking work, he began to gravitate toward photography, in part because of its immediacy but also because of the limitations he saw all around him for a black artist in a segregated nation. Over a career spanning almost 70 years, DeCarava came to be regarded as the founder of a school of African-American photography that broke with the social documentary traditions of his time. He turned his neighborhood of Harlem into his canvas and became one of the most important photographers of his generation by chronicling its people

The NY Times has a slideshow and more information.

Friday Inspiration – Roy DeCarava

Roy DeCarava was born in December 1919 in the Harlem section of New York City, where he was raised by his single mother. He began working at an early age to earn money, and continued to hold odd jobs throughout most of his career as a photographer. He eventually secured admission to The Cooper Union, but left after two years to attend classes at the Harlem Art Center.

In 1955, DeCarava and his wife opened a gallery in the front part of their brownstone apartment on 85th Street called, A Photographer’s Gallery. Although the gallery was only open for two years, it helped pioneer an effort to win recognition for photography as a fine art. Because he felt very strongly about maintaining the artistic integrity of his images, he eventually gave up magazine and freelance work in order to take on a job teaching at Hunter College, where he’s been for over thirty years.

DeCarava was the first African American photographer to win a Guggenheim Fellowship. His work has been the subject of 15 solo exhibitions, including the Museum of Modern Art in 1996. And in 2006 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

Roy DeCarava portrait by Kurt Fishback