KAMOINGE: 50th Anniversary Book + Exhibition

 Judeen. Nigga Beach Series, Montego Bay, Jamaica, 2012
Photograph © Ruddy Roye

Students with Teacher. New York, 1990
Photograph © Toni Parks

Toukie Smith, model. New York, 1980
Photograph © Anthony Barboza 

Group photograph, "Portrait of Kamoinge, The Members, 1963–2014. September 21, 2014, photograph by Ronald Herard”: 1. Anthony Barboza (President), 2. Adger W. Cowans (Vice President), 3. Herb Robinson (Treasurer), 4. Ronald Herard, 5. Herbert Randall (Founder), 6. Collette V. Fournier, 7. John Pinderhughes, 8. Salimah Ali, 9. Ming Smith, 10. Beuford Smith (President Emeritus), 11. Russell Frederick, 12. Gerald Cyrus, 13. June Truesdale, 14. Mark Blackshear, 15. C. Daniel Dawson, 16. Shawn Walker (Founder), 17. Ruddy Roye, Framed: 18. Louis Draper (Founder)*, 19. James Ray Frances (Founder)*, 20. Steve Martin*, 21. Jerry Jack*, 22. Herman Howard*, 23. Calvin Wilson*, 24. Albert Fennar (Founder), 25. Toni Parks*, 26. Darryl Sivad, 27. Budd Williams, 28. Jimmie Mannas, 29. Eli Reed, 30. Frank Stewart (* Deceased) Members Jamel Shabazz and Leslie Jean-Bart not shown.

The release of the new book, "Timeless: Photographs by Kamoinge,” commemorates the 50th year of the oldest collaborative group of photographers in the nation. Kamoinge is a pioneering photographic collective of New York based African-American photographers, founded in 1963 at the height of the American Civil Rights Movement. The name basically means, “A group of people working together” in Kikuyu. This collection of over 280 photographs taken around the world, includes the groups history, along with insights and thoughts from Kamoinge’s 30 members, who include many of the nation’s most acclaimed photographers. With no particular sequencing by subject matter and not in chronological order, I found myself lost in a magical world of fine art photography dating from the early 1960’s though today.   

A brief history of the group begins with photographer Louis Draper (1835 – 2002), who played a principle role in founding this collective in New York in 1963 to address the under-representation of black photographers in the art world. Roy DeCarava (1919 – 2009), the first black photographer to win a Guggenheim Fellowship, was invited to be their Director. Herbert Randall, another founding member, had earlier studied photography under Harold Feinstein in 1957 before he documented Mississippi's Freedom Summer of 1964. Edward Steichen invited Roy DeCarava in 1964, who in turn invited the Kamoinge group, to exhibit at Danbury Academy of Art in Connecticut. The founding group included Draper, Albert Fennar, Ray Francis, Herbert Randall, Shawn Walker, with Roy DeCarava serving as its first director; later expanded to include several new members including Anthony Barboza, the current president and editor of this book; and Ming Smith, the first female member. Beuford Smith joined Kamoinge in 1965, and helped the group achieve non-profit status in 1998. “Timeless” includes an in-depth history by decade by the editor with excerpts from the writings of Louis Draper. 

In addition, a great exhibition, "Timeless: Photographs by Kamoinge,” is currently at the Wilmer Jenning Gallery, 219 East 2nd St (Ave. B), New York, NY. A lot of great images, too many to point out, of Harlem Jazz in the 90’s and Beuford Smith’s nude pregnant woman under the rain on a city rooftop. Through February 20, 2016.  

Book: Timeless: Photographs by Kamoinge (Schiffer Publishing) Edited by Anthony Barboza and Herb Robinson, Coedited by Vincent Alabiso, Foreword by Quincy Troupe, Essay by Deborah Willis. 288 b/w and color photos | 384 pp

Exhibition: “Timeless: Photographs by Kamoinge”  Wilmer Jennings Gallery, 219 East 2nd Street, (Avenue B x C), NYC Hours: Wed-Sat 11am-6pm thru February 20th, 2016.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Wish I lived closer to NY. Thank you for educating me:))))) !