About this artwork
Chicago-based photographer Dawoud Bey is known for his portraits of self possessed sitters who directly address the camera. Inspired to take up photography after a teenage visit to the exhibition Harlem on My Mind at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bey eventually decided to document various “types” of residents in Harlem, combining street photography with traditional portraiture. His insider/outsider status—he was born in Queens but had family in Harlem—made him sympathetic to his subjects, yet gave him some distance. The resulting series, completed only three-and-a-half years later, made up his first solo exhibition, Harlem U.S.A. held at the Studio Museum in 1979. Bey recalled that “it was about a particular moment in the evolution of Harlem in which there were clearly visible traces of Harlem’s past. A black man walking around in a bowler hat—that picture I took of him could’ve been made in 1932. It has an almost timeless quality.
Currently Off View
- Photography and Media
- Dawoud Bey
- A Man in a Bowler Hat
- United States
- Made 1976
- Gelatin silver print, from the series "Harlem, U.S.A."
- 15.5 × 22.8 cm (6 1/8 × 9 1/16 in., image); 35.4 × 27.6 cm (13 3/4 × 10 13/16 in., paper)
- Restricted gift of Kevin and Jeanne Poorman
- © Dawoud Bey.