The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Thursday, December 18, 2014


Social Documentary Photographer Milton Rogovin Dies at Age 101 in New York
Photographer Milton Rogovin in the subway station where several of his photos hang in Buffalo. AP Photo/David Duprey.

By: Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press

BUFFALO (AP).- Milton Rogovin, a social documentary photographer who built a life's work by looking through a lens at people who were invisible to others, died Tuesday at age 101.

Rogovin was in hospice care after a brief illness and died at his home in Buffalo surrounded by family, said his son, Mark.

After being blacklisted in the communist scare of the 1950s, Rogovin dedicated his life to photography. His pictures documented the lives of the poor, the dispossessed, the working class — in particular those living in a six-square-block neighborhood in Buffalo near his optometry practice.

"He referred to these people as the 'forgotten ones,'" his son said. "These were poor and working people who were not ever in the limelight."

Rogovin found "forgotten ones" on New York Indian reservations and in far-flung corners of China, Zimbabwe, France, Scotland and Spain.

His first project was a documentary series on Buffalo's black churches. Living on his wife's schoolteacher salary, he traveled to Appalachia, Chile and Mexico to take portraits of working people — always using a vintage Rolleiflex, a bare bulb flash, occasionally a tripod, and black and white film.

Born in New York City in 1909, Rogovin moved to Buffalo in 1938 to practice as an optometrist. He married Anne Setters in 1942, the same year he bought his first camera and was drafted into the U.S. Army. After returning from the war, he organized an optometrists' union in Buffalo and served as a librarian in the city's Communist Party. In 1957, he was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

"Rogovin, named as top red in Buffalo, balks at nearly all queries," read the headline the next day in the hometown Buffalo Evening News.

With his optometry business sliced in half because of negative publicity, Rogovin turned to photography — although he never studied it formally.

"The rich have their photographers," Rogovin often said. "I photograph the forgotten ones."

In 1972, Rogovin turned his lens closer to home — the Lower West Side of Buffalo, one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the state, a place where Italian-Americans had been replaced after World War II by Puerto Ricans, blacks, American Indians and poor whites.

Although he was first suspected of being a police officer or FBI agent, Rogovin eventually gained their trust, shooting 1,000 portraits over three years and always making sure to get a copy back to the subject.

In 1984, he returned to the neighborhood, tracked down his original subjects and rephotographed as many as he could. He did the same in 1992 when he was 83 and recovering from heart surgery and prostate cancer. He remained working until 2002.

"Never ever once did he start a project thinking, 'Ahh, this is historic,'" said his son, a mural painter. "It was all because he saw a face of a Native American woman with all her lines and age and white hair as a beautiful face, a face he wanted everybody to witness.

"I think the thing that he would say is, 'I want people to use my photographs.' He wants his work to be used in a million educational ways. His desire was that these works would be learned from and enjoyed in the communities that he photographed in. It's beginning to happen."

Rogovin's wife, who taught mentally disabled children, died in 2003 at 84. Along with her husband, she protested the trial and sentencing of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

"She was his PR agent," Mark Rogovin said. "My father was really an activist since the Depression. My mother got involved in activities around the conclusion of the Spanish Civil War when, as my father says, he started to politicize my mother."

Rogovin also is survived by two daughters, Ellen Rogovin Hart and Paula Rogovin; five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

A master collection of 4,000 of his images are stored at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson. In addition, all his negatives and contact sheets, plus 1,300 prints and 20,000 pieces of correspondence, are kept at the Library of Congress.

___

Associated Press writer Ben Dobbin in Rochester contributed to this report.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.





Today's News

January 20, 2011

Sensual Portrait of Muse by Lovestruck Pablo Picasso Up for Auction at Sotheby's

Old Dog, New Tricks: Researcher from University of Maine's Study IDs 9,400-Year-Old Mutt

Sotheby's to Sell Rare Prints by Paul Gauguin from The Collection Of Stanley J. Seeger

London Art Fair Opens Biggest Show to Date with Over 100 Galleries and Political Tinge

The Famous Thames Whale Goes on Display at the Natural History Museum at Tring

Seattle Art Museum's Picasso Exhibition Surpasses 400,000 Visitors, Breaks Record

The World's Greatest Toy and Train Collection Now on View for the First Time at Sotheby's

Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough Defends Decision to Remove Controversial Video

John Beech: The State of Things on Display at Peter Blum Gallery in Chelsea

Pilar Luna, Pioneer of Mexican Underwater Archeology, Given J.C. Harrington Award

Exhibition of Photographs by Dorothea Lange at Brigham Young University Museum of Art

Rosenbach Museum & Library to Deaccession Paintings by Walter Greaves

Cain Schulte Contemporary Art Starts the New Year with Exhibitions by Matthew Barney and Sandra Munzel

Baltimore Museum of Art Presents Seeing Now: Photography Since 1960

Association of Photographers in London Celebrates Kodachrome with Exhibition

Fry Art Gallery Buys Striking Eric Ravilious Watercolour with Art Fund Help

A Special Exhibition on the Phenomenon James Dean Opens at the Kennedys in Berlin

Scale Model of the Warsaw Ghetto at the "From Holocaust to Revival" Museum

Adjunct Curator at ICP, Okwui Enwezor, Appointed as Director of Haus der Kunst

First British Portrait of a Black African Muslim and Freed Slave Goes on Display

Social Documentary Photographer Milton Rogovin Dies at Age 101 in New York

John Hancock Tower in Boston Selected to Receive AIA Twenty-Five Year Award

The Wallace Collection Announces the Appointment of Dr. Christoph Vogtherr as New Director

Artists, Designers Join Forces for the Second Annual Green Auction at Christie's

Just a Few Months Before Opening, Minefields Circle Jesus' Traditional Baptism Site

Burton Morris Shows His Style of Pop Art at Pop and Contemporary Fine Art in Singapore

Texas Foundation to Sell Matisse Set 'The Backs'

Phillips de Pury & Company Announces the Highlights from Valencia Contemporary Art Collection

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- 'Stuart Little' helps lost Hungarian painting come home after nine decades

2.- 23,000 year-old limestone statuette of a woman found by archaeologists in France

3.- 42-year-old Russian tourist fined 20,000 euros for defacing Rome's Colosseum

4.- Archaeologists find ancient coins in enormous tomb at Amphipolis in northern Greece

5.- World's richest resource of Japanese stencils for dyeing samurai kimonos rediscovered

6.- Khan Academy to carry extensive content created by Met Museum based on its world-renowned collection

7.- The Weston Cast Court: Victoria & Albert Museum opens refurbished Italian Cast Court

8.- Six final concept designs for Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition unveiled

9.- France returns 250 illegally imported antiquities seized by customs officials to Egypt

10.- Exhibition at the Prado Museum explores Goya's extraordinary series of tapestry cartoons



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site