Tuesday, January 18, 2011

MILTON ROGOVIN (1909 - 2011)

Buffalo-based social documentary photographer and HUAC survivor Milton Rogovin died today. While his extraordinary diptychs and triptychs of miners across the globe are quite well known, I suspect the thousands of photographs he snapped of Buffalo's Lower West Side might be a little less familiar. Many of them are incredibly moving, debilitatingly so, whatever difficulties one might have with documentary photography. Taken largely during the 1970s, Rogovin's photographs of Buffalo register well the topos of a major industrial city at a crucial historical juncture, through the beginning stages of deindustrialization and radical cultural change.

Here a trailer for the short film The Rich Have Their Own Photographers. Thanks to Tina Zigon for alerting me to the sad news of Rogovin's passing — and here an obit in the New York Times — and here a brief comment on Rogovin in NYT's Lens.