JAMES VAN DER ZEE (1886-1983) Wedding studio portrait. Silver print, the image measuring 10x8 inches (25.4x20.3 cm.), with Van Der Zee's signature and date in the negative and numeric notations in pencil on verso. 1923
James Van Der Zee is one of the best known photographers of the Harlem Renaissance. His studio documented daily life of the Black residents of the neighborhood as well as their important occasions, including marriage, communion, military service, and death. In these portraits his sitters are radiant and optimistic, conveying their aspirations and spirit, as well as their comfort in the photographer's presence. Van Der Zee's body of work also included documenting parades, events, and nightlife, creating an extraordinary body of work that together offers a chronicle of the individual lives lived of Harlem. Overwhelmingly optimistic and artful, the portraits provide a glimpse into the religious, social, and political fabric of the influential center of culture.