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



In 1952, DeCarava was the ninth photographer and first African American to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. The prestigious award enabled him to document the people and life of Harlem, which resulted in his 1955 book, The Sweet Flypaper of Life. This image, included in the publication, illustrates DeCarava's ability to balance artistic elements with his depiction of the African-American social experience. The child's open stance and direct gaze imply the comfortable nature of his relationship with the photographer. The picture's blurred background creates the stillness necessary for an introspective look at the subject. The boy stands alone, and his penetrating eyes and pensive facial expression elicit empathy from the viewer.

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