1956, printed 1982
Gelatin silver print
Image: 13 1/16 x 8 7/8 in.
Sheet: 13 15/16 x 10 15/16 in.
l.r. in ink: © DeCarava 1982
u.r. in ink: 675 #18 Dancers
l.r. in graphite: © #344
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas
© Sherry Turner DeCarava
When photographing his Harlem community, DeCarava sought what he called “a creative expression, the kind of penetrating insight and understanding of Negroes which I believe only a Negro photographer can interpret.” He created evocative images exploring the many facets of darkness that encourage close looking and portray Black experiences both literally and metaphorically.
DeCarava expressed ambivalence about what Dancers, one of his most famous images, expressed about the Black experience. On one hand, he acknowledged that the distorted bodies of the men dancing at a social club on 110th Street could be read as symbolic of the demeaning contortions Black people undergo to survive in the U.S. But on the other, he found powerful expression in their solitude and inventiveness, something “that is very creative, that is very real and very black in the finest sense of the word.”
—Text taken from the Carter Handbook (2023)
Black Every Day: Photographs from the Carter CollectionJune 11–September 11, 2022
Exploring more than 100 years of photographic representations of Black American experiences, Black Every Day: Photographs from the Carter Collection includes over 50 historical and contemporary art photographs and over 100 vernacular images. Works by both iconic artists and unidentified community members showcase the everyday moments of Black life.