A critic’s view of photographer Roy DeCarava


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Art photographer Roy DeCarava, known for his black-and-white images of everyday life in Harlem and jazz musicians of the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, died Tuesday, Oct. 27, in New York City. He was 89.

In 1996, when a retrospective of DeCarava’s work was exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Times art critic Christopher Knight called it ‘the most important exhibition of photography to have been seen in L.A. this year.’ Knight goes on to describe the photographer’s work:


The earliest pictures show an exquisitely refined sensitivity that is sustained throughout the exhibition, whether DeCarava is photographing the ordinariness of street life in Harlem, friends at home, the greats of New York jazz, humdrum activity in the subway or civil rights demonstrations in the South. His photographic constancy may be a result of his own relative maturity when he began to use the camera in earnest.

The rest of the review is here.

A news obituary written by former Times staff writer Mary Rourke is here.

— Claire Noland