James Van Der Zee's Work Of Art During The Harlem Renaissance
of photography, painting, drama, poetry, and prose during the Harlem Renaissance. Each
aesthetic person had their own purpose for their works of art. Many of them wanted to depict the
beauty of Harlem as well as emphasize the importance of equality between races and classes.
The Harlem artists produced many great works of art in the black community from the 1920s and
There had been a few people during the Harlem Renaissance that were very well-known
for their photography; James Van Der Zee being one of them. His fascination with photography
started when he was young. While he was in fifth grade, he was the second person in Lenox, …show more content…
He said, "I tried to pose each person in such a way as to tell a
story." In attempt to create an individual tale, he would often set up his subjects in dramatic
scenes. Some scenes included parents listening to their kids playing piano, a child speaking on
the phone, or a gypsy telling an old man 's fortune (Ibid).
James Van Der Zee took pride in his Harlem community by beautifying his photographs.
He extensively altered the look of his Harlem customers by touching up the negatives of the
photograph, even to the point where they looked like a new person. He said, "I tried to see that
every picture was better-looking than the person." To do so he would straighten crooked teeth,
add jewelry, or fill in a bald spot. He also said, "I had one women come to me and say, 'Mr. Van
Der Zee, my friends tell that 's a nice picture, but it doesn 't look like you. ' That was my
Another technique that Mr. Van Der Zee developed was the photo montage (Ibid), "a
combination of several photographs joined together for artistic effect or to show more of …show more content…
Becoming more familiar to the "white world"
he continued his connection with black show business by performing at Harlem 's Hoofer 's Club.
He began to receive greater role opportunities and was even paired with Lena Horne as the
leading romantic duo in the 1943 musical film Stormy Weather (Ibid).
Even though Bill "Bojangles" Robinson became quite famous, he did not forget who he
was. One of his main concerns was protecting the rights of black performers. In 1905, he played
a role as the sidekick to comedian George W. Cooper in Blackface. The routines centered around
racial and ethnic humor, which helped defuse the social discrimination the two faced while not
performing. Ultimately, Robinson did not get caught up in the glamour or forget the struggles of
African American actors, which lead to him eventually becoming a founding member of the
Negro Actors Guild of America (Ibid).
During the Harlem Renaissance, poets added much emotion to the prejudiced. Langston
Hughes was one of these poets, and he was arguably the most famous poet from Harlem. He