Milton Rogovin: The Forgotten Ones

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A celebration of the career of Milton Rogovin, the photographer whose sensitive portraits of working people have inspired generations.
After his refusal to answer absurd questions before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee ruined his optometry business, Rogovin began a new life with a camera. In the early 1970s, documenting lives on the Lower West Side of Buffalo, New York, he gave dignity to resident African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Native Americans, and poor whites. He ...

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Overview

A celebration of the career of Milton Rogovin, the photographer whose sensitive portraits of working people have inspired generations.
After his refusal to answer absurd questions before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee ruined his optometry business, Rogovin began a new life with a camera. In the early 1970s, documenting lives on the Lower West Side of Buffalo, New York, he gave dignity to resident African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Native Americans, and poor whites. He has returned to photograph many of the same people in each of the following three decades. The remarkable results are in this book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rogovin's career as a documentary photographer began after he was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1957. Shunned by his home city of Buffalo, N. Y., Rogovin's optometry business foundered. Since his political voice as a citizen "was essentially silenced," a now 93-year-old Rogovin notes in an interview at the end of the book, he "decided to speak through photographs," documenting what working and street life do to people and families over time-and the ways in which people's joyous resiliency and intelligence come through nevertheless. Full-page black-and-white shots of Buffalo's "forgotten ones" from 1957 through 1984 take up more than half this collection, but 18 quartets of the city's Lower West Side area residents (1972-2002) stand out: in this remarkable series, Rogovin documents his subjects over four decades, photographing each person or family again every 10 or so years. The resulting quartets, printed over two-page spreads, are enhanced by interviews conducted by noted radio journalists Isay and Miller; one quartet subject, Johnny Grant, reflects how Rogovin's work challenges the cult of celebrity; Rogovin himself notes, "My photographs are rather straightforward. I don't try any monkey business-don't tell them where to sit, what to do. The only thing I do ask them is that they should look at the camera." Published in conjunction with an exhibit at the New-York Historical Society, this book shows nearly 50 years of that technique's amazing results. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Rogovin began his photography career in 1958 after his optometry business was decimated as a result of his questioning by the House Un-American Activities Committee. His documentary photographs have since been published in nine monographs and can be found in publications such as Aperture and the New York Times Magazine. At the age of 97, he presents this new collection, a look at Buffalo, NY's Lower West Side, a neighborhood inhabited by poor and working-class African Americans, Native Americans, and Puerto Ricans. The highlight of this title is 18 series, each with four photographs, that depict the same individuals over a 30-year period. While the photographs speak volumes for themselves, short oral history transcripts enhance their impact. Taken from interviews by Sound Portraits founder Isay and fellow radio documentary journalist David Miller, who accompanied Rogovin while he took the last round of photos for the series, these transcripts allow many of the individuals to tell touching stories about the effect of Rogovin's photographs on their lives. Published in conjunction with an exhibit at the New York Historical Society, this title is recommended for public and academic libraries.-Valerie Nye, New Mexico State Lib., Santa Fe Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780971454859
  • Publisher: Quantuck Lane Press
  • Publication date: 5/19/2003
  • Pages: 127
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

David Isay is an award-winning radio producer and regular contributor to National Public Radio. He lives in New York City.

J. David Miller, a former editor at SPORT magazine, is the author or co-author of ten books and thousands of articles. A recipient of the coveted “Page One” award from the New York Newspaper Guild for his outstanding investigative journalism.

Harvey Wang is a professional photographer living and working in New York City. His work appears in many magazines and periodicals and in Rock Wives and Where Have You Gone Vince Dimaggio?

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