Jan 12, 2007

David, New York

David, New York


Roy DeCarava

(American, 1919-2009)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 31.6 x 25.5 cm (12 7/16 x 10 1/16 in.); Paper: 35.3 x 27.9 cm (13 7/8 x 11 in.); Matted: 55.9 x 45.7 cm (22 x 18 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1996.20



A Harlem native, Roy DeCarava photographed the joys and travails of everyday life there—people “going to work, coming home from work, at play, in the streets”—in order “to show the strength, the wisdom, the dignity of the Negro people.” DeCarava said, “I want a creative expression, the kind of penetrating insight and understanding of Negroes I believe only a Negro photographer can interpret.” In DeCarava’s book with Langston Hughes, The Sweet Flypaper of Life (on view in the middle of the room), the text is a fictional monologue. The caption for this boy’s image reads, “Rodney’s boy growed up like that little child down the street. Sad. He don’t never smile.”

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