On December 30th, Milton Rogovin, social documentary photographer and humanitarian celebrates his 100th birthday. Milton continued the tradition of Lewis Hines, Jacob Riis, and Upton Sinclair.
Milton was born in New York City and made Buffalo his life long home after marrying Anne Snetsky (Setters). Milton worked as an optometrist to care for his family and three children: Mark, Ellen, and Paula. Anne was Milton's moral compass and the extrovert of the two. She motivated him to pursue his photographic projects.
What makes Milton's photos a lasting social document was not only the artistically superior composition, the ease of person posing, and the masterful printing. He photographed his subjects at work and also at home. There by giving the working person a connection to home life - Most of the difficult work was performed not for the love of the job, but for the wage it brought to better the home life.
It is important for the Buffalo community to recognize our own living national/global treasure and to continue to celebrate him and his work. Only through recognition will continuing generations be inspired, perhaps to continue his work giving a voice to those without one.
His current exhibit at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center will be ending January 3, 2010. His website is masterfully designed, with a wealth of information and, of course, photographs. Look for his "Lower West Side Quartets" photographs, these show the evolution of some 20 Buffalonian families over nearly 4 decades.
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