The Photographs of Teenie Harris –
Charles Teenie Harris from Pittsburgh USA, is now acknowledged as not only one of the great photographers of his generation, but his documentation of the daily lives of African Americans over several decades in a collection comprising over 80,000 photographs, is quite simply unique.
His entire collection is now curated by the Carnegie Museum of Art.
Born in 1908, Harris began his professional career as a freelance photographer, nicknamed “One Shot” as he rarely got his subjects to sit for more than one photograph. His photos appeared in almost every issue of the Pittsburgh Courier. In the 1960s he documented meetings of the local civil rights meetings and marches.
By the late 1970s Harris’s contributions began to ebb and he eventually entered into a management deal with a local entrepreneur named Dennis Morgan,who was subsequently sued by Harris for non payment of royalties from Morgans commercial operation of “The Pittsburgh Courier Photographic Archive”.
However Morgans licensing of Harris’s work to the Corbis Archive finally brought worldwide attention and in 1991 The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission recognised Harris’s work as an “Outstanding contribution made to the documentation of the African American Community in Pittsburgh.”
In 1998 in the last months of his life, a documentary was screened called “One-Shot” by Pittsburgh filmmaker Kenneth Love. Sadly Harris was too ill to attend the premiere. he died in June of that year.
Glamourdaze has cherry picked some imagery of beautiful women photographed in the 1940s, for the simple reason that there is so little high quality fashion photographs of African American women from this period.
All Imagery © Carnegie Museum of Art