The Year in Pictures

James Danziger is a well known name in photographic circles, having opened a New York gallery in 1989 and now running Danziger Projects in New York’s Chelsea. So the start of a new blog, The Year In Pictures, in which he promises to write about pictures that have captured his imagination is welcome news. One to bookmark or add to your blog feeds.

My favourite among his postings so far is a piece on Milton Rogovin, entitled ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ where he publishes a great image from 1973 of Lower West Siders Johnny Lee Wines and Zeke Johnson, along with 4 unpublished and previously unseen shots of Johnny from the same day, and another of his “favorite pictures that blends happiness, romance, and a certain bashfulness” by Malick Sidibe.

Great, I thought, and wouldn’t it be nice to link to my feature on Milton Rogovin. Then I remembered that was no longer on line (or at least only in the Internet Archive), so I wrote a new and revised version, correcting a number of mistakes and adding some new material. Rogovin is a really fine documentary photographer, and incredibly only really started serious photography when he was in his late 40s. He finally retired in 2003, the year when his wife, comrade and muse Anna Rogovin died, and the family are now preparing to celebrate his 98th birthday next month.

This year marks a significant anniversary for Rogovin. It was 50 years ago, in 1957, at the height of the great American Cold War paranoia, that he refused to answer the questions of the House Committee on Un-American Activities and was pilloried by the Buffalo Evening News as “Buffalo’s Top Red”, and harassed by the FBI. 50 years in which he continued to live his courageous belief in the dignity of humanity and the inherent worth of people, channelling his efforts into photography. 50 years over which America changed from regarding him as a national enemy to accepting him as a national treasure, when in 1999 his negatives, contact sheets and around 1300 prints were archived by the Library of Congress, the first living photographer to be honoured in this way since the 1970s.

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