Happy 100th Birthday, Milton Rogovin!
Image 1 / 7: Milton Rogovin. Seymour [from Lower West Side series, Buffalo, NY].
Image 2 / 7: Milton Rogovin. Lower West Side [from Lower West Side series, Buffalo, NY].
Image 3 / 7: Milton Rogovin. Sugar [from Lower West Side series, Buffalo, NY].
Image 4 / 7: Milton Rogovin. Mexico [from Family of Miners series].
Image 5 / 7: Milton Rogovin. Mexico [from Family of Miners series].
Image 6 / 7: Happy 100th Birthday, Milton Rogovin! (installation view).
Image 7 / 7: Happy 100th Birthday, Milton Rogovin! (installation view).
Photographer Milton Rogovin turned 100 years this winter, and to commemorate his life’s work as a social documentarian the Henry presented a selection of his arresting black-and-white photographs. Rogovin engages with a variety of people – factory workers, miners, citizens of Cuba and Zimbabwe, and Buffalo’s poor – through the filter of political action, a devotion to social justice, and an abiding sympathy for his fellow human beings.
In his spare time Rogovin, by occupation an optometrist working in Buffalo’s Lower West Side, photographed his neighborhood with the assistance of his wife Anne. In 1978 Rogovin fully dedicated himself to photographing the economic plight of the working class, whom he calls the “forgotten ones,” exercising authorial reticence so that the facts of a situation took precedence over his opinions. With the permission of his subjects, Rogovin captured men and women at work, often in the harsh environment of a factory or mine, and at home. These pairings, presented in the exhibition as diptychs, pay close attention to the conditions in which individuals live and work. The photographs are at once stark and intimate representations of these sitters’ lives, offering insight into the blue collar experience of single mothers, minorities, and the elderly.