The Sweet Flypaper of Life

Illuminating Black Joy, Black Love and Resistance in Harlem. Photographer Roy DeCarava and poet Langston Hughes collaborated in this historically moving book about daily life in Harlem in the early 1950s. IF you care about street scenes and family life, please check out “The Sweet Flypaper of Life.”

€‹Little Jerry at table€‹, 1953.CreditThe Estate of Roy DeCarava/Courtesy of David Zwirner

Look closely at interior images. Shallow ‘depth of field’. Meaning, not a lot of light, so only the main person, where DeCarava focused, is sharp. Foregrounds and backgrounds often softer focus.

He also appeared to shoot closely. I wrote ‘appear,’ because we don’t see the negative. Often photos are cropped. The closer you shoot, the less DOF or ‘depth of field.’

All his photos show thoughtful composition. Artful honesty. The article is well worth reading. I’d quote liberally, but that’s not cool. Please do look online. You can learn a lot about what Roy DeCarava was thinking. What were his intentions? Why do they resonate as art? As photojournalism? As worthy of our viewing, no matter your perspective or interest?

Have you checked the prices of homes in Harlem NOW? Gentrification, baby. Whoa.

(You can read a few free articles from the New York Times each month. Some libraries offer free daily access.)

#PoetLangstonHugesAndPhotogRoyDeCarava #TheSweetFlypaperOfLife