I've just been reached by the news that the great leftist photographer Milton Rogovin died today, just past his 101st birthday. He was a wonderful, kind, compassionate man who lived a life true to the cause of civic decency, equality, and social justice.
Originally an optometrist, Milton was persecuted during the un-American McCarthyite inquisitions of the 1950s. With his practice in rapid decline as a consequence, he turned to photography to express his values, and for fifty years photographed the poor and the working class with a clear eye—surely one of the few positive outcomes of the McCarthy witch hunts. The title of his most recent (2003) book perfectly expresses his photographic concerns—it's called The Forgotten Ones.
One of the best acquisitions I made this year for my fledgling photograph collection is a wonderful portrait of Milton in his darkroom, by Diane Bush, signed to Diane by Milton—a lovely picture and a lovely print, and one I'll treasure.
It might be hard to shed a tear for a man lucky enough to end his days a centenarian, but it's certainly appropriate to reflect on an upright life well lived. He won't be forgotten.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Jeff: "A worthwhile video on 'The Forgotten Ones'..."
Mike adds: For those of you who might have gotten into this pursuit a little later in life, note what the video says...that Milton didn't become a photographer till he was 48! It's never too late.