Roy DeCarava: A Retrospective

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9780870701276: Roy DeCarava: A Retrospective
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Featuring 200 superb plates spanning half a century, this book is the first retrospective of the work of Roy DeCarava, a great American photographer known for his brilliant photographs of Harlem and of jazz musicians such as Billie Holliday and John Coltrane. Published to accompany a major exhibition that opened at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in early 1996.

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From Booklist:

That DeCarava was a painter and graphic artist before turning to photography does much to explain the strong lines, extraordinarily rich tonality, and dramatic exploitation of light in his photos. Their emotional charge, however, arises from the social choices DeCarava made for his career. He has expended nearly his entire professional effort upon New York City's black communities. He cherishes the people, places, and events in his pictures and developed early the means to express his affection. He shoots using only ambient light, then prints so as to coax light expressively out of very dark images or, less often, to delineate darker detail in very light ones. The grays in his black-and-white pictures are velvety and warm--qualities he occasionally enhances by purposely shooting out of focus or exposing long enough to show movement. Whether a picture's immediate subject is documentarily realistic or, as in a photo such as Crushed Can, an abstract form bodied forth in a concrete object, the work is charged with earthy mystery, like a prime Rembrandt painting or a late Michelangelo sculpture in which, because of the artist's rendering of light and mass, life seems to be springing off the canvas, out of the stone, like Adam from the earth on the day of his creation. Like one of his favorite portrait subjects, John Coltrane, DeCarava is one of the transcendently great American artists. Ray Olson

From Library Journal:

This survey of a half-century of photographer Roy DeCarava's (b. 1919) drawings, serigraphs, and photographs accompanies a traveling exhibition. DeCarava, the first African American to win a Guggenheim Fellowship (in 1952), illustrated Langston Hughes's The Sweet Flypaper of Life (1955), yet the only previous monograph on his work is out of print. Here, his wife, art historian Sherry Turner DeCarava, provides a perceptive essay about his early life, his first drawings and serigraphs, and the emergence of his expressive, unsentimental, and sometimes abstract photographic style, which makes his work immediately recognizable. Galassi, chief curator of photography for the Museum of Modern Art, surveys DeCarava's career and influences and provides new information on one of the earliest photographic galleries in New York City, A Photographer's Gallery, opened by the DeCaravas in their home. The quality of the works reproduced here, which often focus on black life in New York City, is superb. Highly recommended for photography, black history, and music collections.?Kathleen Gail Collins, New York Transit Museum Archives, Brooklyn
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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