Skip to content

Photo of the Week #118

Marvin Heiferman

Marvin Heiferman, May 29, 2020

Marvin Heiferman, May 29, 2020


December 7, 2020
Years before same-sex marriage was legalized in New York, Maurice Berger and I bought each other wedding rings.  Maurice, who’d grown up poor in a low income housing project on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s on TV every year as a kid and wanted to buy them there.  So we did.  They are also engraved with the day of our first date: December 15, 1993.  Over 26 years later, in March 2020 and at the start of the pandemic, Maurice died suddenly of COVID-related illness.  This photograph is one of hundreds I’ve made and posted to Instagram, daily since Maurice’s death, as a way to think about him, us, dealing with devastating grief, as well as to encourage others to think about photography, love, and loss.
I wear both rings now. 
-Marvin Heiferman

Marvin Heiferman writes and organizes exhibitions and online projects about photography and visual culture for venues that have included: The Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian Institution, International Center of Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Times, Gagosian Gallery, CNN, Artforum, Art in America and Aperture.  Photography Changes Everything (Aperture/Smithsonian, 2012), and Seeing Science (Aperture/UMBC, 2019) are his most recent books. 

Maurice Berger (1956-2020) was a cultural historian, journalist, and curator whose work focused on the intersection of race and visual culture. A research professor and chief curator at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, he wrote the award-winning Race Stories column for the Lens Section of the New York Times, and authored numerous influential articles and books, including Are Art Museums Racist? (Art in America, 1990), White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999), and For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights (Yale, 2010).