Roy DeCarava – Photos and Artwork

About Roy DeCarava

Roy Rudolph DeCarava is a distinguished American artist and photographer who made a name for himself through his impactful images of African Americans and jazz musicians in Harlem. Born in 1919 during the Harlem Renaissance, DeCarava attended Cooper Union and the Harlem Community Art Center to hone his craft. He went on to dedicate his 60-year career to capturing everyday life in the Black community, often using a 35-millimeter camera to develop and print his images.

DeCarava’s distinct aesthetic approach set him apart from other photographers of his era. His work chronicled not only famous jazz musicians but also daily life struggles such as poverty and discrimination faced by African Americans living in predominantly white neighborhoods. DeCarava’s portrayal of Blacks was uncommonly honest; he shone light upon often-overlooked characters without focusing on stereotypes or clichés.

Throughout his illustrious career, DeCarava won numerous awards for photography, including Guggenheim Fellowships, a National Medal of Arts Award from President Barack Obama, and Lifetime Achievement Awards among others. With such recognition from peers and respective professional institutions globally as well as during an ever-changing world, Roy Rudolph DeCarava’s legacy sets forth by displaying the breadth of black creativity that took hold during America’s period of Civil Rights struggle until today’s challenges endures up until this day upon met with dignity reflected on film forever.

Photographs from Roy DeCarava

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