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.”
Currently Off View
- Photography and Media
- Roy DeCarava
- Dancers, New York
- United States
- Made 1956
- Gelatin silver print
- 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"
- 33.1 × 22.1 cm (image); 35.4 × 27.7 cm (paper)
- Gift of Lucia Woods Lindley and Daniel A. Lindley, Jr.