James Van Der Zee Essay

Words: 1367
Pages: 6

James Van Der Zee

In case there is someone out there looking forward to become a celebrity, then he or she must be able to remain focused in life by emulating James Van Der Zee. This is a man who defied all odds and today is renowned for his great performance in photographic art. His work revolved around the culture of the Africans Americans. This artist was popular because of the way he captured the lifestyles of the middle class blacks using his camera especially during the Harlem renaissance. One of the most appealing photographs is that of the proud black couple in raccoon coats at the street of Harlem[1]. This is called “couple with Cadillac” and it was taken in 1932. Van Der Zee remains outstanding in photography despite the
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For example, he retouched the negatives and prints show the glamour of perfection in his photographic artwork. He used traditional techniques that enabled him to produce the real portrait of an individual for a special look.[5]

Semiotics The artist took his time to produce the pictures of the people he captured in his camera. Mostly, he wanted to bring out a specific theme to whoever would have a glance at the portraits. It is noted that he wanted to denote the middle class Black Americans. Therefore, he used symbolic props and costumes to enrich his artwork. He developed the pictures in black and white which was quite traditional and signified the color of the blacks. Furthermore, the costumes and props supplied depended on the occasion where the photo was taken and the class of an individual[6].

Presentation The images “Couple with Cadillac” produced by Van Der Zee are realistic because of the double exposure used. The photograph of the couple showing up in Harlem Street is relatively large and anybody can see how the information conveyed by the artist. The images are medium-sized and there is no overlapping all over the portrait. This makes the viewer to clearly visualize the social status of this black couple.

History of the Photographic Work This photograph was captured and developed after the end of the World War II when the blacks began to enjoy freedom