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Dancers, New York

A dark photograph of silhouettes dancing in a large room. There are two figures in motion at the center, while others congregate around the edges of the photograph’s frame.

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  • A dark photograph of silhouettes dancing in a large room. There are two figures in motion at the center, while others congregate around the edges of the photograph’s frame.

Date:

1956, printed 1982

Artist:

Roy DeCarava
American, 1919–2009

About this artwork

Photographer Roy DeCarava employed darkness in his photographs both to depict African American skin and to encourage deeper and more sustained looking. In this photograph, taken at a dance hall on 110th Street in Harlem, the darkness makes it take a moment to distinguish the silhouettes of the two dancers in the foreground, and a moment longer to recognize in their frozen postures the gestures of minstrelsy. DeCarava later reflected: “Their figures remind me so much of the real-life experiences of blacks in their need to put themselves in an awkward position before the man, for the man; to demean themselves in order to survive. And yet, there is something in these figures … that is very creative, that is very real and very black in the finest sense of the word.”

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Photography and Media

Artist

Roy DeCarava

Title

Dancers, New York

Origin

United States

Date

Made 1956

Medium

Gelatin silver print

Inscriptions

Inscribed and signed recto, lower right, in black ink: "© Roy DeCarava 1982"; inscribed verso, lower center, in graphite: "(c) 316"; verso, lower left, in black ink: "675 #18 DANCERS 1956"

Dimensions

33.1 × 22.1 cm (image); 35.4 × 27.7 cm (paper)

Credit Line

Gift of Lucia Woods Lindley and Daniel A. Lindley, Jr.

Reference Number

1989.117

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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