Lower West Side, taken in 1973. Image © Milton Rogovin.
Milton Rogovin, a Buffalo, New York-based social documentary photographer who work is now part of the Library of Congress, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Center for Creative Photography collections, has died on Monday, three weeks after celebrating his 101th birthday
Milton Rogovin is best known for his work The Forgotten Ones, which documents the lives of the residents of a depressed six-block area in his hometown of Buffalo, New York.
"At a time when middle-class America was fleeing from its decaying inner cities and turning its back fearfully, Mr. Rogovin plunged in, beginning with the Lower West Side of Buffalo," writes David W. Dunlap in an obituary published on The New York Times' Lens blog.
Rogovin died three weeks after celebrating his 101th birthday. A note on the photographer's site reads: "We are saddened by the loss of such a wonderful human being and photographer. Milton touched many peoples lives and documented an important piece of our history. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Rogovin became a photographer after he was blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s and subsequently losing his optometry practice. In 2008, he was featured in BJP, with Bill Kouwenhoven writing that "Rogovin's work is outstanding in its heartfelt understanding, both of the situation of the worker but also of those peoples' dignity as specific human beings. His subjects are always their own selves, regardless of where they may live and under whatever horrifying circumstances they may work."
Kouwenhoven added: "The country that persecuted Rogovin in the McCarthy Era has reconsidered, and he's now regarded as something of a living treasure. The Library of Congress of the United States honoured Milton Rogovin in 1999 by acquiring his negatives, contact sheets and 1300 photographs. He is among the few living photographers since the 1970s whose work is archived to this extent in America - fellow miner photographer Robert Frank is another."
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