Milton Rogovin: The Making of a Documentary Photographer

April 20, 2011

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Cover of Melanie Anne Herzog's biography of Milton Rogovin

Milton Rogovin (1909-2011) is acclaimed as a preeminent twentieth-century social documentary photographer. Born in New York and educated as an optometrist, he witnessed widespread deprivations during the Depression and dedicated himself to working for social and economic justice. In 1957 he was called before HUAC and after refusing to testify was dubbed "Buffalo's Number One Communist." When the majority of his optometry clientele vanished he turned to photography as a way to speak about social inequities, producing his first photographic series in Buffalo's African-American storefront churches. Accompanied by his wife Anne, he went on to photograph miners in Appalachia, steelworkers in Buffalo, working and poor people of Buffalo's Lower West Side, and miners in Scotland, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Mexico, France, Czechoslovakia, Spain, Germany, and China. Rogovin's photographs demonstrate his awareness of how people's circumstances and environs have an impact on their lives and his abiding respect for the dignity and humanity of his subjects.

Event speaker Melanie Herzog is a biographer of photographer Milton Rogovin. She is Professor of Art History at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. She is the author of Milton Rogovin: The Making of a Social Documentary Photographer, published by the Center for Creative Photography and University of Washington Press in August 2005, and Elizabeth Catlett: An American Artist in Mexico, published by University of Washington Press in 2000.

Recorded Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at the Gage Gallery, Roosevelt University.