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New York

Museum of the City of New York

Exhibition Detail
Harlem Photographer
1220 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10029

February 10th, 2010 - February 24th, 2010
Future Expectations (Wedding Day) , James Van Der ZeeJames Van Der Zee,
Future Expectations (Wedding Day) ,
1926 / Printed later , Gelatin Silver Print
© Courtesy of Museum of the City of New York
upper east side
Museum and Museum Store: Sun-Sat 10-6

Beginning in 1916, James Van Der Zee (1886-1983) photographed the people of Harlem for more than six decades, depicting the life of one of the most celebrated black communities in the world. By providing elaborate costumes, props, and backdrops, in combination with creative double exposures, expert retouching, and airbrushing, Van Der Zee became renowned for the quality of his portraits. Althrough he gained fame for his portrayal of African-American celebrities who passed through Harlem, Van Der Zee made his daily living by taking thousands of photographs of Harlem's residents, including family groups, weddings, athletic teams, and social clubs. Today, this portrait studio work, made by a remarkable photographer, provides an exceptional document of an emerging black middle class in New York City.


James Van Der Zee: Harlem Photographer contains a selection of 18 photographs from the Museum's permanent collection demonstrating the photographer's range of talent, career longetivity, and dedication to his community.

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