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
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.
'It is a book, then, that continues to fascinate, even more so, perhaps, in the current political climate. Its timely reissue will hopefully alert a new generation to a still undervalued master of intimate observation and his singular collaboration with a writer who instinctively understood his radical vision.' - Sean O'Hagan - The Observer