Rogovin, Milton

Rogovin, Milton, 1909–2011, American documentary photographer, b. New York City, grad. Columbia (1931), Univ. of Buffalo (M.A., 1972). An optometrist and a political leftist, he moved (1938) to Buffalo, N.Y., and opened an optometry practice. In the 1950s he fell afoul of the era's anti-Communist witch hunts and his business foundered. He filled his time by taking pictures of Buffalo's poor and dispossessed, many of them African Americans. His naturalistic black-and-white photographs are personal and evocative, documenting and celebrating his subject's lives. Rogovin later photographed in Appalachia and elsewhere in the United States and the world, taking series of “social documentary” pictures—black store-front congregations, very young mothers, coal miners, steelworkers, and so on—for more than half a century. His work is collected in The Forgotten Ones (1985), Portraits in Steel (1993), Milton Rogovin: The Mining Photographs (2005), and other books.

See D. Isey et al., Milton Rogovin: The Forgotten Ones (2003); M. A. Herzog, Milton Rogovin: The Making of a Social Documentary Photographer (2006).

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