The James Van DerZee Photographic Studio and Lab | Kent State University

The James Van DerZee Photographic Studio and Lab

The Photographic Studio and Lab is dedicated to James Van DerZee and is under the control of the Director of CPAC.  African American James Augustus Joseph Van DerZee (born June 29, 1886, Lenox Mass., U.S.; died May 15, 1983, Washington, DC).  He was an avid photographer of urban African American life.  By 1906, he had moved with his family to Harlem in  New York City.  After a brief stint at a portrait studio in Newark, NJ, he returned to Harlem to se up his own studio.  The portraits he took from 1918 to 1945 chronicled the  Harlem Renaissance; among this many renowned subjects were Countee Cullen, Bill Robinson, and Marcus Garvey.  After World War II, his fortunes declined until the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibited his photographs in 1969.