VanDerZee - GGG Photo Studio at Christmas


MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM CULTURE TYPE. Whenever this time of year rolls around, I begin to think of images documenting the holiday season and none resonate more than the black-and-white photographs of James VanDerZee (1886-1983).

The renowned Harlem photographer took a couple of memorable Christmas images in 1933 that document the vintage charm of traditional celebrations. The photo above features more than two dozen children gathered for a portrait in VanDerZee’s studio at 109 125th Street. Another well-known image captures a family around the tree on Christmas morning.

Whatever holiday you are observing, I hope the season is a joyful one full of family, friends, good food and fabulous art. If you are anywhere near Harlem today and want to get out and see some art, head south. The Jewish Museum is open on Christmas Day and its exhibition “From the Margins: Lee Krasner and Norman Lewis” is on view.

I am going to the movies. “Selma,” director Ava Duvernay’s dramatization of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., opens today in select cities and features the work of two rising art stars: Bradford Young (cinematographer) and Jason Moran (composer).

Happy holidays and thank you for engaging and exploring this year. Your support of Culture Type is much appreciated. Stayed tuned for a few more posts this month and even more in 2015. CT


IMAGE: JAMES VANDERZEE, “GGG Photo Studio at Christmas,” 1933 (gelatin silver print with applied color). | Courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum


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