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|Conversations With Roy DeCarava||Share:|
Conversations With Roy DeCarava
Biographic Narration By Alex Haley
0:02 - Roy DeCarava is a photographer. For 36 years he has created images that have earned him the title of a master.
2:35 - On the 9th of December 1919, Roy DeCarava was born in New York's Harlem. In the 1920s, Harlem was optimistic. This optimism was shattered with the Great Depression.
3:58 - In 1938, Roy was working full time while studying art at Cooper Union.
4:40 - Roy's strongest influence was the artist, Charles White.
5:19 - Roy kept working days. At night, he worked on his art. To save time with his sketching, Roy turned to photography.
9:40 - Roy married art historian, Sherry Turner in 1970. Soon after, she began a critical analysis of Roy's work.
11:10 - Roy's photographic career began in 1950 with his first one man show. Edward Steichen, America's Dean of Photography, was very impressed. He bought Roy's prints and included his work in the classic exhibition The Family of Man. Years later Steichen would call Roy DeCarava one of the world's ten best photographers.
12:24 - Edward Steichen also sponsored Roy for a Guggenheim Fellowship. He became the first black photographer to receive the award. It finally gave Roy the opportunity to work uninterrupted on his art.
14:03 - In the early 1950s, Roy's portfolio was rejected as too Negro. Frustrated, he showed his work to the writer, Langston Hughes.
16:03 - Roy decided to freelance in 1958. For the next eighteen years, he was a black pioneer in commercial photography working for clients like Sports Illustrated and Harry Belafonte. ~ Alex Haley.
Note: Photographer Roy DeCarava has consistently explored one subject: Harlem, New York City. Director Carroll Parrott Blue uses DeCarava's images to tell his story—which is the story of a practitioner of a specific aesthetic—that presented a positive, beautiful image of African Americans, in terms of family, work, and entertainment. Through interviews with contemporaries and scholars, accompanied by a lush jazz score, this précis portrait of DeCarava is a comprehensive introduction to this justly celebrated yet neglected photographer. Awards: Blue ribbon winner, American Film Festival 1984.
(The above narration by Alex Haley is presented under the Creative Commons License. © 1984, 2003 Icarus Films. All Rights Reserved.)
Conversations With Roy DeCarava • Reviews
"Roy DeCarava's sensitivity to the urban landscape and its people is vividly portrayed in this award-winning documentary... Highly recommended for academic and public libraries with collections in the arts, photography, and black studies." - Annette Salo, Library Journal.
"[A] provocative and substantial investigation which successfully blends DeCarava's art with his experience as a black photographer... Fascinating document of a unique black photographer and his struggle for professional acceptance and recognition." - EFLA Evaluations.
"As unpretentious and sensitive as the black artist whose story it so eloquently tells... An important record of a quietly influential life in art." - Suzanne Muchnic, Los Angeles Times.
"[An] evocative examination... This 1984 American Film Festival Blue Ribbon Winner combines fast pacing with aurally and visually melded images to enrapture viewers in public libraries, classrooms, and photography groups." - Sue-Ellen Beauregard, Booklist.
"This was an enjoyable documentary displaying the life and work of Roy DeCarava. This piece was an introduction to the celebrated photographer that I was previously unfamiliar with. This film features the narration of Alex Haley and a lush jazz score that moves the story seamlessly through the interviews with contemporaries and scholars that add subtle nuances to this film. Despite the films length, 28 minutes, I felt as if I saw more than a snapshot of the amazing career of Roy DeCarava. One of the most amazing things about this film is displayed by the director Carroll Parrot Blue. She uses expert camera work to bring DeCarava's still photography to life and uses these images to tell the story of the artist." - Portland, Oregon.