Their work is currently on display in an exhibition called Love Letters for Harlem at Harlem’s Claire Oliver Gallery, where part of the proceeds will go to the Harlem Community Relief Fund, an initiative of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, which fights against food insecurity in the area.
âAs long-time residents of Harlem, we are inspired by the rich cultural lineage of our neighborhood,â gallery owner Claire Oliver told Creative Boom. âIn the midst of this difficult year where we have all been so isolated, we wanted to show the resilience and celebrate the people, geography and culture of Harlem through the intimacy of photography while supporting a vital organization that provides help. urgently needed by our communities at this time of need. “
Looking at the work of John Pinderhughes, we see footage from a series, Pretty for a Black Girl, which stars an aspiring model and friend who was heartbroken to learn that she was “pretty for a black girl.” black girl “. A father of two daughters, Pinderhughes, was deeply moved by his experience and filmed the series exploring black beauty, self-reflection and the wounds of racism. The works in the series are part of the permanent collection of the Detroit Institute of Art.
Pinderhughes is a member of the renowned and pioneering collective of photographers Kamoinge Workshop, which is currently on display at the Whitney Museum. He is known for his expansive landscapes and images that explore the relationship between people and their environment, traditions and perspectives. Although he describes himself as “predominantly self-taught”, his photographs demonstrate a deep understanding of light, form and form.
Five portraits of Ruben Natal-San Miguel, meanwhile, celebrate his subjects, women and girls at every stage of life, and their unique identities, personalities and styles. The intimate portraits juxtapose his different subjects with the city itself, which vibrates with vitality and life like a constant refrain.
He’s been photographing New York City for two decades, drawing on its visual history while adding his own fresh perspective to the conversation. His images, which cover a large geographical and cultural territory, push back the too often problematic gaze of documentary photography, in exchange for something that celebrates the many inhabitants of the city. “This may be influenced in part by her experience as a survivor of the 9/11 attacks,” says Claire Oliver, “and a desire to preserve what is dear to her.”
The exhibition also presents five photographs of Jeffrey Henson Scales from his House series, which documents life in a legendary Harlem barbershop for six years, from 1986 to 1992.
Scales is a freelance photographer and editor of photography at the New York Times where he oversees the Opinion section and the annual Special Year In Pictures section and also organizes the New York Times photography column, Exposures. His work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions since the 1970s and is part of the permanent collections of MoMA, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the City Museum of New York, the George Eastman House and the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Also on display are four works by photographer Shawn Walker from his 2012 Misterioso / Painting with Light series – abstract images that depict the walls, sidewalks and streets of New York City themselves as subjects, revealing the spirits within.
Born and raised in Harlem, Walker is a founding member of the Kamoinge Workshop, and his work is currently featured in the Whitney Museum’s exhibit on the group. A professional photographer and filmmaker for over 50 years, and a photography educator for over forty, Walker has traveled extensively and exhibited, lectured and published around the world.
Love Letters for Harlem is on display at the Claire Oliver Gallery in Harlem until April 3, 2021. For more information, visit claireoliver.com.