AP Article via the Seattle Times:
From the New York Times’ Lens blog:
Milton Rogovin, an empathetic social documentarian who — like Jacob Riis — put a face on the faceless poor, died Tuesday, a month after celebrating his 101st birthday. Benjamin Genocchio has written the obituary for The New York Times. Mr. Rogovin himself narrated an audio slide show of his pictures, “The Compassionate Eye,” which appeared in April 2009 on Lens, accompanying “Voices Silenced, Faces Preserved,” with text by Randy Kennedy and pictures by Fred R. Conrad, in the Arts & Leisure section.
Museum visitors may recall that we celebrated Milton Rogovin’s 100th birthday last year, with this exhibition.
From the exhibition text:
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.
At a time when middle-class America was fleeing from its decaying inner cities and turning its back fearfully, Mr. Rogovin plunged in, beginning with the Lower West Side of Buffalo. “This ‘fear’ does not figure in Mr. Rogovin’s pictures,” the critic Hilton Kramer wrote in The Times (“Rogovin Photographs of Buffalo Are Shown,” Feb. 21, 1976), when his work was given its first extensive showing in New York, at the International Center of Photography.