Remembering Milton Rogovin

It was announced on Wednesday that beloved photographer Milton Rogovin died in his home in Buffalo, New York at the age of 101. Rogovin was an optometrist and activist who took up photography to document and share the stories of the poor and working class residents of Buffalo.

LWS 194-3, 1973

An eloquent New York Times tribute piece acknowledges Rogovin as “one of America’s most dedicated social documentarians.” Throughout his career, Rogovin worked with such cultural icons as W.E.B Du Bois and Pablo Neruda. After a profession in optometry at home and for the army, Rogovin turned to the camera when he and his family were ostracized from their community for his political leanings and association with communism. In his early photographic study, Rogovin looked to Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine for inspiration.

LWS-R 77-3 (woman in front of brick wall), 1985

A 1976 New York Times review describes Rogovin’s style and talent: “He takes his pictures from the inside, so to speak, concentrating on family life, neighborhood business, celebrations, romance, recreation and the particulars of individuals’ existence.”

View Rogovin’s images from the MoCP collection.
Read the NYT tribute.
Scroll through the NYT slideshow on the Lens Blog.