“The Picture Man” – The Photographs of Milton Rogovin
November 7, 2009 to December 19, 2009
Milton Rogovin was one of the foremost social documentary photographers of the 20th century. He photographed low income and working class people for 50 years and often said: “The rich have their own photographers. I have chosen to photograph the poor.” As Milton returned, decade after decade, to Buffalo’s Lower West Side he was often greeted with tears and the salutation, “The Picture Man is back!” Milton Rogovin’s photographs celebrate community, legitimize and make visible the lives of common people, and bring dignity and hope to all our lives.
In 1999 the Library of Congress accepted Milton’s entire body of work.
Milton Rogovin has photographed miners in 10 nations, collaborated with the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, photographed a 6 square block neighborhood in Buffalo NY for 30 years, and so much more. In 1957 Milton was called before the witch hunting House Un-American Activities Committee. Because he refused to “name names” he was blacklisted and his optometry practice in Buffalo suffered. “My voice was essentially silenced, so I decided to speak out through photography.”
Milton also wrote poems to accompany his work. They, along with the poems by local students, were featured along side these powerful images of working people over the last 4 decades. In anticipation of ArtRage Gallery’s “The Picture Man- the photographs of Milton Rogovin”, teachers incorporated the photography of Rogovin into their classrooms. Through the use of poetry, students express the humility, sorrow and dignity found in Rogovin’s portrait photography. Poems by students from Nottingham High School in Syracuse and Dillon Middle School in Phoenix were on exhibit.
As homage to his influence and importance in recording people’s daily lives, students have photographed their own worlds in the social documentary style of The Picture Man. Included in this exhibit were student photographs by students from Nottingham High School in Syracuse and John C. Birdlebough High School in Phoenix, NY.
For more information about Milton Rogovin visit www.miltonrogovin.com