Wednesday, February 23, 2011

James Van Der Zee

Photographer of the Harlem Renaissance James Van Der Zee was born in 1886 in Lennox, Massachusetts. Van Der Zee was self-taught photographer made famous by capturing the African American in a state of transition. He took pictures of such people as pan-African creator Marcus Garvey,neo-expressionist Basquiat. He moved to Harlem in 1905 to make a better life for himself.He took pictures of celebrities and of every day folk as well. He was very well known around the city but sadly he and his wife fell into poverty, and obscurity. Van Der Zee was nearly forgotten until someone decided to exhibit his work in a 1969 in a show titled Harlem on My Mind. This breathed new life into his career and brought his work back into the public. He passed away in 1983 at the age of 96. James Van Der Zee captured life as we lived it. He captured the beauty of life and death. We will always remember him for his talent as it will live on through his pictures.

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