Roy DeCarava, Famed Photographer, Dies at 89

DeCarava made a name for himself depicting Harlem life in the 50s and 60s...

Posted:
 
roydecarava

Roy DeCarava, legendary art photographer best know for his black-and-white everyday depictions of life in Harlem has died. He was 89. From the LA Times:

DeCarava (pronounced Dee-cuh-RAH-vah) photographed Harlem during the 1940s, '50s and '60s with an insider's view of the subway stations, restaurants, apartments and especially the people who lived in the predominantly African American neighborhood.

He also was well known for his candid shots of jazz musicians -- many of them taken in smoky clubs using only available light. Shadow and darkness became hallmarks of DeCarava's style.

...

Using a small, 35-millimeter camera that allowed him freedom to roam, DeCarava captured spontaneous moments. He shot in black and white, creating highly impressionistic images, and printed in a style that produced velvety shades of gray and black.

Some of his earliest photos show young couples dancing in their kitchen on a Saturday night, and a father and his children dressed in their Sunday best, watching the Harlem River go by. He photographed men talking together in a basement that doubled as their clubhouse.

DeCarava told National Public Radio in a 1996 interview that when he started taking pictures "there were no black images of dignity, no images of beautiful black people. There was this big hole. I tried to fill it."

Peep the game of a legend here.

Comments
The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.