PHOTOGRAPHY: THE SHADOWS KNOW

AT MOMA, A RETROSPECTIVE FOR ROY DECARAVA, CHRONICLER OF HARLEM AND JAZZMEN, STREET LYRICIST AND SEEKER IN THE DARK

WHEN HE STARTED TAKING PICtures around New York City in the late 1940s, Roy DeCarava stepped into the most irresistible role that photography offers: a walker in the city, a camera-equipped descendant of the quick-witted literary strollers that the French called flaneurs. Looking out for the knotty surprises the street has in store, he was like Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris or Harry Callahan in Chicago. What was different for DeCarava was that most of his streets were in Harlem, which made him a roving eye in a part of town that the rest of the world didn't see much of. In...

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