Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

Rogovin, Socially Conscious Photographer, Dies

Buffalo’s poor were his subject and muse

Print Email
Milton Rogovin, Appalachia (diptych), 1987.(The J. Paul Getty Museum)

Legendary social documentary photographer Milton Rogovin died yesterday at 101. Born in Brooklyn in 1909 to Lithuanian Jewish immigrants and raised during the Depression, his impoverished childhood (the family dry goods store went belly up) left a deep impression. As was often the case with lefty activist Jewish photographers of his generation, Rogovin turned to the camera in order to draw attention to the problems of society, highlighting the struggle of daily toil in modest, often arduous circumstances. His passion for workers’ rights and his belief in the underlying human dignity of all people caught the eye of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Army service during World War II notwithstanding, he was called before it and refused to testify; he was summarily discredited in 1952 (It did not help that he was a poet.) Labeled Buffalo’s “Number One Red,” he was ostracized even as he continued to champion the rights of the unemployed, marginalized, and urban poor, remaining involved in left-wing causes while he trained as a photographer.

In an era of white (and, yes, Jewish) flight, he trawled Buffalo’s inner city to document the ordinary lives of working-class people. One of his most ambitious series, “Lower West Side” (1972-77), “Lower West Side Revisited” (1984-1986), “Lower West Side Triptychs” (1972-94) and “Lower West Side Quartets” (1972-2002), documented more than a hundred families in a compact and ethnically diverse section of his hometown, in a series of sequential portraits made over 30 years (the New York Times‘s Lens blog featured him in 2009). He completed the project in 2003, at the age of 94. Throughout his life, Rogovin focused his camera on the inequities of society by drawing attention to those he referred to as the “forgotten ones.” Here’s to remembering.

Milton Rogovin, Photographer, Dies at 101 [NYT]
Related: Showcase: Milton Rogovin [Lens]

Print Email

COMMENTING CHARGES
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at letters@tabletmag.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

love this article so much maya

I have simply found your site and revel in each article. We admire your own expertise.

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Rogovin, Socially Conscious Photographer, Dies

Buffalo’s poor were his subject and muse

More on Tablet:

Klinghoffer at the Met

By Paul Berman — John Adams’s masterpiece is about an American Jew murdered by Palestinian terrorists, but the real opera is off stage