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Nancy T. Robinson

historian, collector, archivist, photographer, and entrepreneur, was born Wallace Michael Branch in Brooklyn, New York, one of two sons of Byrd Branch, an entrepreneur who operated a cleaning and tailoring business in New York City and held down a thirty-five-year job at the weekly newspaper Irish Echo to support his family, and Vera Barbour Branch. In Brooklyn, Branch and his family lived a solid middle-class lifestyle, making their home in a four-floor brownstone home that they owned.

Branch was born with sickle cell anemia a hereditary incurable chronic disorder with which patients suffer severe pain and tissue and organ damage as a result of oxygen and nutrient deficiencies At the time of Branch s birth information about and treatment of the disease were limited According to his family doctors who treated Branch as a child never gave him much hope for survival At fourteen Branch became so ill that he ...

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Patricia Hunt-Hurst

one of the pioneers of black women in fashion modeling, was born in Texarkana, Texas; she was the seventh of eight children. Her mother was a school teacher and her father a carpenter and farmer. Dorothy studied biology at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, where she completed her degree in 1945. She planned to study medicine, but when her mother died she moved to Los Angeles to live with family. While there she earned a master's degree in education at the University of Southern California, married, and started her modeling career.

The fashion industry in the late twentieth century included the major fashion centers of New York and Paris New York was known for its American ready to wear and Paris for its couture or made to order dresses of original designs Fashion models were vital to the display of the designs in both facets of the ...

Article

Samuel W. Black

photographer and fraternal leader, was born in Kearneysville, West Virginia, the eleventh of thirteen children of Allen Cole, a wagon maker, blacksmith, and carpenter, and Sarah Jenkins Cole. The Cole family numbered among the 4,045 African Americans in Jefferson County, West Virginia's most populous county in 1880. Although he came from a humble background, the elder Cole was able to send some of his children to Storer College in Harpers Ferry, eight miles east of Kearneysville. Allen “Allie” Cole was enrolled at Storer in October 1900, following his older brother Hughes and older sister Lucy, both of whom attended in the early 1890s. The first school of higher education for African Americans in West Virginia, Storer College was founded in Harpers Ferry in 1867 under the condition that it did not discriminate by race gender or color At Storer Cole completed courses in industrial ...

Article

Darren Newbury

South African photographer, was born Ernest Levi Tsoloane Kole on 21 March 1940 in Eersterust, a township on the outskirts of Pretoria. He was the fourth of six children. His father had migrated from a rural area and worked as a tailor; his mother was a laundress for white families in Pretoria. His early life was shaped by apartheid. He left school shortly after the introduction of the Bantu Education Act (1953), which severely restricted the educational opportunities of black South Africans, continuing his education by correspondence through Wolsey Hall, Oxford. In 1960, his family was forced to relocate to the new black township of Mamelodi when Eersterust was declared a Coloured area under the Group Areas Act (1950).

Cole s interest in photography began at a young age He was given his first camera by a Catholic priest and by his early teenage years ...

Article

Darren Newbury

photographer, was born on 17 May 1874 in Innishannon, County Cork, Ireland, the son of a resident magistrate. Educated at Mount Saint Mary’s College, a Jesuit school in Derbyshire, England, as a young man he began training for the priesthood. In 1897, however, he had a change of heart and left for South Africa, finding work as a compound guard on the diamond mines of the De Beers Company in Kimberley. He later worked in the dispensary of the compound hospital and the copy room at the company’s head office, as well as serving in both the Anglo-Boer War and World War I.

It was on a return trip to Europe in 1904 that he became interested in photography buying a simple box camera and making his first photographs in Madeira He soon mastered the technical side of the medium and became a keen amateur photographing scenery botany ...

Article

Darren Newbury

South African photographer, was born on 29 November 1930 in Randfontein, a small gold-mining town to the west of Johannesburg, where his father owned a men’s clothing store. He was the youngest son of Eli Goldblatt and Olga Light, who came to South Africa as children with their parents, Jewish immigrants escaping anti-Semitism and persecution in Lithuania. As a child he developed a keen sense of social justice, shaped by his parents’ liberal values, his own experiences of anti-Semitism, and his observations of the treatment of black Africans at the police station near where he lived. He graduated from Krugersdorp High School in 1948, the year the National Party came to power.

Goldblatt became interested in photography while still at school, and his ambition to become a photographer was shaped by reading pictorial magazines from the United States and Britain such as Life, Look, and Picture Post ...

Article

Lisa Aronson and Martha Anderson

professional photographer, was born in Bonny, Nigeria, in 1873 the son of a successful Ibani Ijo palm oil trader named Chief Sunju Dublin Green who worked closely with expatriate traders and missionaries These relationships may have greatly benefited his son s career The imported obelisk style tombstone that marks Green s grave in his hometown of Bonny identifies him as a professional artist photographer His only known self portrait shows him at the age of twenty one dressed in a respectable Western style suit vest and necktie with a boutonniere in his lapel Green attended the Church Missionary Society CMS High School in Bonny and it may have been Sierra Leonians affiliated with the CMS who taught him photography He served as the primary photographer for the British as well as his own people between the early 1890s and his untimely death at the age of thirty two Although ...

Article

Darren Newbury

Malian photographer, was born around 1921 in Bamako, Mali (then part of French Sudan), the eldest of five children. His father was a skilled tradesman, and at a young age Keïta became an apprentice, soon developing into a proficient cabinet maker. Keïta was close to his uncle Tièmòkò, and when the latter returned from a family visit to Senegal with a camera, the young Keïta persuaded his uncle to let him have it as a present.

His first efforts with the camera were unsuccessful and many of the images were poorly exposed or blurred but he persisted Although never formally trained he did receive guidance and support locally Pierre Garnier who ran Bamako s earliest photographic shop and studio Photo Hall Soudanais offered him technical advice and encouraged him to learn to develop and print In the later 1940s Mountaga Dembélé an early Malian studio photographer allowed him to use ...

Article

Eric Bennett

Seydou Keita was born in the French Sudan (present-day Mali) and lived his entire life in his hometown of Bamako. There, from 1945 to 1977 , he created photographic portraits of thousands of locals and visitors. His work comprehensively documents the changing styles and social mores of urban West Africa during the decades when Mali underwent the transition from French colony to independent nation.

As an adolescent, Keita learned carpentry and embarked on a career as a cabinetmaker. In 1945, however, when an uncle returned from Senegal with a six by nine inch Kodak box camera Keita fell in love with photography and quickly learned its fundamentals At the time there were few photographers in Bamako but Keita learned to develop and print from French expatriate Pierre Garnier who ran a studio and photo supply shop After practicing the basics on family and friends he studied ...

Article

Livia Apa

Angolan photographer, documentarist, and filmmaker, was born on 30 July 1976 in Benguela, Angola. When he was eight years old, his family moved to Portugal. Although Liberdade stayed in Portugal, he often visited Angola for professional reasons. He graduated with a degree in cultural marketing from the Universidade Lusófona of Lisbon, and also attended some courses for a master’s degree in African studies in the Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa (ISCTE) in Lisbon. Liberdade attended a course of cine-video in the Instituto Superior de Artes Design, Marketing e Publicidade (IADE) of the Portuguese capital. At the age of twenty, he produced his first documentary, O Rap è Uma Arma 1996 which follows rappers living in the suburbs of Lisbon These suburban spaces usually known for their violence are presented in Liberdade s film as places of extreme cultural vitality He won the prize for best ...

Article

Darren Newbury

South African photographer, was born on 18 January 1932 in Vrededorp, Johannesburg. He grew up in the suburb of Sophiatown, the cultural center of urban black life in Johannesburg until its destruction in the 1950s under the Group Areas Act. He was educated first at the Lutheran School and then at Western Native High School. His father sold fruit and vegetables from a cart, and at weekends he would go with him to Johannesburg’s white suburbs. His family had a strong sense of independence, and conflicts with the authorities over passes and trading licences were a feature of his early life. The tough environment of Sophiatown also influenced his decision to train as a boxer.

His interest in photography began while still at school, when his father gave him a Kodak Brownie; but it was not until he came across Drum magazine that he began to think of ...

Article

Scott Yanow

jazz and soul pianist and singer, was born in Lexington, Kentucky. He was self-taught on the piano other than four piano lessons. McCann sang and played piano from an early age. In the early 1950s he left the South to join the U.S. Navy. McCann was stationed near San Francisco, where he had an opportunity to see major jazz artists in local clubs, including Miles Davis and the pianist whom he considered his earliest influence, Erroll Garner. In 1956 he won a talent contest sponsored by the navy that led to him appearing on television as a singer on The Ed Sullivan Show.

After his discharge later that year McCann settled in Los Angeles. He attended music school and worked toward forming his own trio. Miles Davis recommended him to Cannonball Adderley leading to Adderley offering McCann a chance to join his quintet However McCann turned ...

Article

Donna M. Wells

photographer, was born in Washington, D.C., into a middle-class family. His father was a physician, and his mother was an educator. In the 1930s he attended Dunbar High School, where his classmates included future photographers Harrison Allen and brothers Bobby and George Scurlock, sons of prominent African American photographer Addison Scurlock. Allen recalled that on several occasions the boys walked from school to Scurlock's photography studio at Ninth and U Streets to watch him work. This sparked their interest in pursuing photography, first as a hobby, then as a career. The Scurlocks later took over their father's studio, and Allen became a photographer for the Department of Labor.

McNeill entered Howard University as a pre-med student but kept up his skills by photographing campus events, particularly celebrity visitors to the university. When Olympic track star Jesse Owens made a campus visit McNeill snapped a picture of ...

Article

Kim Miller

photographer and activist, was born on 19 July 1972 in Umlazi, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Muholi studied advanced photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Newtown, Johannesburg. From 2007–2009 she studied Documentary Media at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Since the end of apartheid, Muholi has commented on the near total lack of visual and textual representation of people from the black lesbian community within South Africa during that country's historic antiapartheid struggle. At that time, the black lesbian community, Muholi included, was physically isolated from the urban centers where LGBT organizations and resources were located.

As an activist, she was a cofounder of the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), a nonprofit black lesbian advocacy organization based in Johannesburg. She has worked as a photographer and reporter for Behind the Mask an online magazine on lesbian and gay issues in Africa Muholi has received a number ...

Article

Eddie Chambers

The first substantial body of photographic images of the black presence in Britain date back to the years and decades immediately following the end of the Second World War.

1.Documenting success: 1940s–1970s

2.Vanley Burke

3.Armet Francis

4.Horace Ové

5.The 1980s onwards

Article

Carla Williams

As subjects, photographers, and workers in the photographic field, black women have participated in the medium of photography since its introduction in 1839. Immediately after the announcement of this democratic new medium, photography gained a particular stronghold in the United States, a young nation eager to see itself pictured. To date, scant evidence of black women photographers in the nineteenth century has been uncovered, although one can reasonably hypothesize that black women occupied some of the same roles that white women did in early photographic endeavors—as studio attendant, the person who would prepare subjects for their sittings; as darkroom assistant, helping the photographer to prepare and process his plates; or as photo finisher, adding hand coloring and other enhanced effects to the finished plate or print.

As photographic subjects however black women were very savvy about the new medium and its powers of communication Probably the most famous relationship ...

Article

Kobena Mercer

Photography has flourished in Africa since 1839, when the vice regent of Egypt, Khedive Mehmet, experimented with equipment imported from France, just months after Louis Daguerre publicized the invention of the silver-plate process. As a result of interaction with Europeans in coastal cities, Africans acquired technical skills that led to the development of photographic studios in the 1860s. A wide range of regionally distinctive traditions arose during the twentieth century and African photographers have revealed a unique outlook in photojournalism, portraiture, and artistic expression. Diverse insights into African social and cultural life are shown in the reportage of Peter Magubane and David Goldblatt in South Africa; in the French West African portraiture style of Seydou Keita and in the art of contemporary African expatriates in the West such as Touhami Ennadre from Morocco and Rotimi Fani Kayode from Nigeria In contrast to the selective depiction of the continent ...

Article

Prentice Herman Polk became interested in photography at a young age. He began studying through a correspondence course which he paid for with ten dollars he was mistakenly given as change for a candy bar at a local store.

Polk attended Tuskegee Institute from 1916 to 1920 and was ...

Article

Jessica Falconi

Mozambican photographer and photo-reporter, was born in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) on 15 February 1924. He is considered, together with Kok Nam, the pioneer of Mozambican photography.

Having grown up on the periphery of Maputo, the colony's capital, Rangel began working in private photographic studios in the early 1940s, notably that of the professional photographer Otílio de Vasconcelos (where he worked from 1941 to 1945), as well as in other studios like Foto Sousa and Focus.

In the 1950s he started to work for newspapers and other periodicals. His first collaboration was with the Lourenço Marques Guardian, a bilingual periodical influenced by the foreign business interests present in the city. Later, in 1952, he began working with Notícias, the main daily newspaper in Mozambique, founded in 1926. He was also hired as a reporter for Notícias da tarde where he worked until ...

Article

Darren Newbury

Malian photographer, was born in 1935 or 1936 in the village of Soloba in southern Mali (then part of the French Sudan). His family were livestock farmers, and from a young age he learned how to herd animals and work the land. In the mid-1940s he was sent away to school in Bougouni, 100 miles south of the capital, Bamako. Once at school, Sidibé quickly began to demonstrate a talent for drawing, winning prizes and getting his work noticed by a local colonial administrator, Maurice Necker, and the new colonial governor, Emile Louveau. With their support, in 1952, he moved to Bamako to attend the École des Artisans Soudanais, where he studied jewelry-making.

His first engagement with photography came at the end of his school career in 1955 when the French photographer Gérard Guillat selected him to decorate his studio and shop Photo Service Guillat subsequently hired Sidibé Initially ...