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Photo of the Week #160

Anthony Barboza

Antony Barboza, Harlem, 1970, man smoking, wearing a hat and trench coat.

Harlem, 1970
Vintage gelatin silver print
11”x7” print — mounted on 17”x14” board


Septmeber 23, 2021

Anthony Barboza (b. 1944) came to New York city in 1963 and was quickly introduced to the Kamoinge Workshop, a collective of Black photographers whose aim was to promote the work of Black photographers at a time when their work was marginalized within the larger photo community. Kamoinge was founded by Louis Draper and its first director was Roy de Carava. The collective was operating within the broader context of the Black Arts Movement which is generally thought to have been founded when the poet Amiri Baraka [LeRoi Jones] established the Black Arts Repertory Theater in Harlem in 1965. Barboza has always specialized in portraiture and he photographed Baraka as well as other figures closely associated with the Black Arts Movement such as James Baldwin and Gil Scott-Heron. At the same time he was also taking photographs like this one, which portray the people he encountered on the streets of Harlem. This photo was taken a year after Barboza returned from being stationed at a Navy base in Florida where he’d developed his photographic craft.

Describing his approach to portraiture, Barboza has had this to say: "When I do a portrait, I'm doing a photograph of how that person feels to me; how I feel about the person, not how they look. I find that in order for the portraits to work, they have to make a mental connection as well as an emotional one."

Barboza and other early members of the Kamoinge Workshop were featured in Working Together: The Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop, organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which traveled to the the Whitney Museum of American Art where it was on view from November 2020-March 2021.