Personal Vision by Adger Cowans


Pin It Fancy

Release date: January 2017

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Preface by Gordon Parks and foreword by Romare Bearden

Master American photographer Adger Cowans' predominantly black-and-white photography is collected in this monograph of original images taken over the past forty years. Cowans is one of the great unrecognized photographic luminaries of our time, inspired by growing up in a family that appreciated and respected the arts. Unusually for the time, his mother Beatrice always herself had a camera in hand and encouraged young Cowans to pursue his passion with vigor and dedication. And he did this with gusto and imagination, creating one of the major archives of a living American photographer today, seen here for the first time in an expansive collection.

In his works we see shadows stretching across a New York City sidewalk, strollers in Harlem with umbrellas during a snowstorm, children playing in water emerging from a fire hydrant on a hot summer day, gorgeous portraits of starlets, and children smiling with balloons that Mr. Cowans gifted to them—an incredible range of artworks that mirror the greats from Cartier-Bresson to Lee Friedlander to Edward Weston and Richard Avedon.

Adger Cowans studied photography at Ohio State University under Clarence H. White Jr., then served as a military photographer in the United States Navy before moving to New York City, where he worked with Life magazine photographer Gordon Parks and fashion photographers Henri Clarke, Ben Somoroff, Lillian Bassman, Steve Manville, among others. Adger was has received the John Hay Whitney Fellowship, as well as the Lorenzo il Magnifico alla Carriera, in recognition of his distinguished career, at the 2001 Florence Biennale of Contemporary Art. His travels have led him to Morocco, Brazil, Paris, London, Rome, Florence, Switzerland, Bali, Mexico, and all over the United States. Among the numerous museums Adger has exhibited at are MoMa, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, George Eastman House, Harvard University, Chicago School of Design, International School of Photography, and the Studio Museum of Harlem. He Lives in New York, New York.

Gordon Parks was a prominent African-American photographer, musician, writer, and film director. Parks is best remembered for his iconic photos of poor Americans during the 1950s, for his photographic essays for Life magazine, and as the director of the 1972 film Shaft.

Romare Bearden was an American artist and writer who depicted African-American life. He experimented with many types of mediums, and even designed costumes and sets for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Bearden had a prolific career with two of his collages appearing on the covers of Fortune and Time magazines, in 1968. His work can be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, among others.

ISBN: 978-0-9862500-6-4
256 pages, 8 5/8 x 10 7/16"; hardcover