Through the Lens of Great African American Photographers Essay

2404 WordsDec 15, 201210 Pages
Geraldyn Gomez January 25, 2012 802 Writing Through the lens of Great African American Photographer African American photographers, James Van Der Zee and Gordon Parks were both great photographers who each had their own unique style. James Van Der Zee was sometimes known as “The Eyes of Harlem” because he would take many pictures of African America’s. He would take many pictures of different things such as weddings, teams, clubs, and people who would be dressed very fancy like. James Vander Zee was born June 29th, 1886 in Lenox, Massachusetts, but moved to Harlem in 1905, and then in 1916 he opened his own studies. At the age of 82, he was “discovered”, because a man named Reginald McGhee saw his collection of over 70,000 photos of African American life. Gordon Parks was many things, including a writer and filmmaker, but he is better known for his powerful photography skills. Born into the unforgiving hands of poverty, Gordon Parks he managed to become a photographer for magazines such as Glamour, Vogue and etc. Gordon also, used his camera to show the hard truth which means, he would take pictures of the slums and poverty; he also had a knack for photojournalism. To begin with, James Van Der Zee was known as “The Eyes of Harlem” because he would take many positive photographs of African Americans in Harlem. Within the process of doing so, he also developed he showed American’s the lifestyle of African Americans who were middle-classed. For instance, on the Scholastics website, the author, Sean McCollum states “During the glory days of the 1920’s, hundreds of Harlem’s finest made the trip to James Van Der Zee’s studio for similar treatment. There, Van Der Zee took picture after, making sure that each one presented Harlem in the best light.” This quote, tells me that he noticed the fact that African Americans at that time were suffering

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