Over the course of six decades, American artist Roy DeCarava (1919-2009) produced a singular collection of black-and-white photographs of modern life that combine formal acuity with an intimate and deeply human treatment of his subject matter. Grounded by a unified theory of the visual plane, his work displays a subtle mastery of tonal and spatial elements and devotion to the medium of photography as a means of artistic expression. DeCarava created images that carry an emotional impact in their immediate relationship to the viewer, while also revealing less-than-visible terrains. DeCarava's pioneering work privileged the aesthetic qualities of the medium, carrying the ability to reach the viewer as a counterpoint to the view of photography as mere chronicle or document and helping it to gain acceptance as an art form in its own right. Langston Hughes (1902-1967) was a poet, novelist, playwright, and social activist. Known worldwide as a key figure of the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes's work has been significant in introducing black history and culture into the corpus of American cultural history as well as inspiring with his humanistic concerns, writers in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and South America. While living in Harlem, Hughes's dispatches for the New York newspapers raised quotidian reportage to an art, filing moving descriptions of the famed Harlem Brigade who were martyred during the Spanish Civil War. Sherry Turner DeCarava is an art historian, curator, and independent scholar in the fields of traditional arts and contemporary American photography. Serving as the executive director, the principal focus of her professional career has been the development of The DeCarava Archives, which supports exhibition and scholarly research projects related to the work of her late husband Roy DeCarava. In 2014 she initiated First Print Press, beginning a process to republish classic Roy DeCarava books, while bringing new photographic projects into print.
"The Sweet Flypaper of Life is the story of Black love: of
family and community, of life and death, of the rich textures in
the tapestry of daily life that forms our sense of self and the
bonds we bear on this earth."--Staff "Miss Rosen Feature Shoot"
"The Sweet Flypaper of Life remains a lauded title that conveys Harlem as a microcosm within the larger city."--Dani Issler "The Brooklyn Rail"
"The Sweet Flypaper of Life is an incredible wonder that is so compact you can almost cradle it in your palm. A sense of humanity permeates the black-and-white photographs...And DeCarava's narrow range of deep tones breathes beautiful life into the black faces of the young and old."--Nicole Herrington "The New York Times"