James Van Der Zee would chronicle the styles and people of Harlem for over 40 years. However, business eventually slowed down as the years past. People began to buy their own cameras and less opted to go to studios. Fortunately, Van Der Zee’s negatives and prints were discovered by a representative of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1967 and Van Der Zee’s career was revived. This time his photos would reach an audience outside of Harlem. The successful exhibit, Harlem on My Mind, showcased his wonderful talent in 1969 and the world began to know about James Van Der Zee.
James Van Der Zee would go on to take pictures throughout the 70’s of famous celebrities like comedian and entertainer Bill Cosby as well as the late Hatian American artist, Jean Michel Basquiat (pictured left). Those were some of his last photographs. James Vander Zee died in 1983 in Washington, D.C. James Van Der Zee captured the many faces of Harlem and the spirit of Africans in America. He was 96.
Image Credits:artsedge.kennedy-center.org, ccsf.edu, and photoreview.org
Source: michaelrosenfeldart.com and wikipedia.org