Please check out some of James Van Der Zee works in Metropolitan Museum of Art Collections. And the exhibit in Naratives in African American Art and Identity. James Van Der Zee (June 29, 1886 – May 15, 1983) was an African American photographer best known for his portraits of black New Yorkers. He was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Aside from the artistic merits of his work, Van Der Zee produced the most comprehensive documentation of the period. Among his most famous subjects during this time were Marcus Garvey, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and Countee Cullen.
At age fourteen he received his first camera from a magazine promotion. His interest with the toy camera led him to getting a slightly better camera with which he would take hundreds of photographs of the town and his family. He was only the second person in Lenox to own a camera, and he developed the images himself. This early start led him to a vast and prolific career documenting each decade in his unique style of photography. He was a skilled pianist and an aspiring professional violinist. After moving to New York with his brother and father, music lessons were a prime source of income for Van Der Zee. At one point, he co-created and performed in the five-piece Harlem Orchestra… – from Wiki: James Van Der Zee
…After World War II VanDerZee’s fortunes declined with those of the rest of Harlem. He made ends meet with occasional commissions and with a side business in photo restoration. By the time his collection of negatives and prints was discovered by a representative of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1967, the VanDerZee were nearly destitute. In early 1969 his photos were featured as part of the museum’s successful “Harlem on My Mind” exhibition, which showcased life during the Harlem Renaissance in a variety of media… – from Encyclopedia Britannica James Van Der See
- Naratives in African American Art and Identity
- James Van Der Zee on Biography.com really.
- Quote of the Day: James Van Der Zee (theroot.com)