Milton Rogovin Dies – His Work Endures

I was saddened to hear of the death of Milton Rogovin, although since he was 101 it was hardly a great surprise to hear the news that he died on Tuesday (18 Jan 2011.) The NY Times Lens blog has an illustrated feature with links to various aspects of his work (and to his obit in the paper), though perhaps his own web site is the best place to see his work. And he was perhaps the first centenarian photographer to start blogging. There are also some good links in the comments on the Lens blog.

I’ve written several times about Rogovin, and the most recent was on this site in August 2009. I think his work is important in particular for his recognition and celebration of the ‘ordinary’ working man, and occupies as important a place in the history of photography as other fine documentary photographers such as Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine.

One small but important technical point I picked up on from his work was about shutter speeds. When photographing people he liked to work on the edge where some slight movement might occur rather than us a fast speed that would be guaranteed to freeze any movement. For him and later for me it was something about showing living breathing people in his pictures, rather than butterfly specimens pinned to the board.

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