James Augustus Joseph Van Der Zee Edit Profile
Van Der Zee was self-taught in photography. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J., in 1976 and another by Haverford College, Pa., in 1980. Around 1906 he studied music at the Carlton Conservatory.
A self-employed photographer for most of his life, he opened his first studio in 1918 in Harlem, New York City. Before that he was the darkroom man for Gertz Department Store in New York City. Van Der Zee is an Honorary Fellow for Life of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has been the recipient of many awards, including the International Black Photographers Award and the Living Legacy Award, both presented by President Jimmy Carter at a White House ceremony in 1979. Van Der Zee's photographs were the basis of a film done in 1975 entitled Uncommon Images. Van Der Zee's documentation of life in Harlem at the height of its cultural glory is of tremendous historical significance. The bulk of his work consists of portraits that are sensitive, respectful and warmly understanding of their subjects.
Van Der Zee is an Honorary Fellow for Life of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- Walter Van Der Zee
1980Haverford College , honorary doctorate