5 African American Photographers That Capture the Essence of The Black Experience

Photography has become a very mainstream art form that has really begun to deeply explore Black subjects in recent years. Despite the recent interest on platforms, Black Photographers have been around for a long time documenting everyday life with a fine art perspective. Here are 5 great Photographers that display and elevate Black beauty.

Roy DeCarava

(December 9, 1919 – October 27, 2009) Often coined as as a founder in the field of black and white fine art photography, DeCarava had a career that expanded 6 decades that started with him focusing on Black livelihood and jazz musicians in Harlem. He encouraged other fine art photographers in addition to publishing numerous art books including The Sweet Flypaper of Life with Langston Hughes.

Arnette, 1953


Bill and Son, 1963


George Morrow, 1956


David, 1964

Gordon Parks

(November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) With Photography being one of his many artistic endeavors (he directed 3 of the Shaft films), Parks is viewed as a heavy hitter in the general field of photographer. In addition to taking glam shots for major publications ironically Parks also specialized in documenting poverty, the civil rights movement, and the African American experience in spite of adversity.

American Gothic, 1942

Doll Test, Harlem, New York, 1947