Roy DeCarava: The Sound I Saw; Improvisation on a Jazz Theme
Photographer Roy DeCarava, who died Oct. 27 at age 89, dedicated his 60-year career to capturing images of African Americans. His subjects ranged from daily life in his hometown of Harlem to the Civil Rights movement, but his most noted work featured photographs of jazz greats like Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong…
The first black photographer to win a Guggenheim Fellowship, DeCarava was also awarded the National Medal of Arts… In 1996, his work was the subject of a major traveling retrospective organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. —npr Remembering DeCarava
“I’m not a documentarian, I never have been,” said DeCarava in a 1990 interview. “I think of myself as poetic, a maker of visions, dreams – and a few nightmares….I don’t try to alter light, which is why I never use flash. I hate it with a passion because it obliterates what I saw. When I fall in love with something I see, when something interests me, it interests me in the context of the light that it’s in. So why should I try to change the light and what I see, to get this ‘perfect’ information-laden print? I don’t care about that. The reason why my photographs are so dark is that I take photographs everywhere, light or not. If I can see it, I will take a picture of it. If it’s dark, so be it. I take things as I find them because that’s the way I am and that’s the way I like them. When I went to a jazz club it wasn’t lit up like a T.V. studio. It was dark. I accept that.”
Watch an interview with DeCarava: the Charlie Rose Show
About the book:
A photographic portrait of the world of jazz music. Presented as a stream of 196 images interspersed with DeCarava’s own poetry, this volume is, in its form and overall effect, a printed equivalent of jazz -composed of overlapping passages of pain, sweetness, optimism and suffering. Roy DeCarava has documented the people, both famous and anonymous, and the seemingly mundane yet intimate moments of his Harlem neighbours and neighbourhood. The result is at once a work for photography enthusiasts, an historic documentation for jazz lovers, and a profound message to African-Americans as well as Whites that artistic talent knows no boundaries of race.
VF as new copy oversized in wraps and dust jacket as issued, a beautiful collectable copy!