The Digital Librarian (moi) has never been to Pittsburgh but it seems a trip is in order. The photographs of Charles "Teenie" Harris, are on display until April 11 at the Carnegie Museum of Art. It's not that far, right? Far right. Those two words next to each other make me a little nauseous. But I digress. Look!
|Eartha Kitt leaping though poster to launch a Citizens Committee |
|Nina Simone, 1965|
Mr. Harris started as a portrait photographer at age 18. Then, in 1941, he was hired as a staff photographer at the Pittsburgh Courier, an influential Black newspaper. His career there lasted 40 years. With a camera in his hand and a white fedora on his head, he documented the goings on of his time and now, 14 years after his passing, his work is considered one of the most complete documentation of the 20th-century African American experience.
|Girl Reading Comic Book in Newstand|
|Herron Avenue at Milwaukee Street, Hill District, Pittsburgh|
Teenie was also known as One Shot because he could capture the perfect image in a single go. His subjects ranged from the well-known to the urban landscape to the the everyday citizen. I'd never heard of him until my aunt sent me an article about his work. I guess that's because his work was rarely seen outside of Pittsburgh until after his death. But all that is changing. Since 2003, the museum has scanned and catalogued nearly 60,000 images. This guarantees his work will find a permanent home in the American storytellers alongside Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and James Van Der Zee. Which is good because that's where he belongs.