James Van Der Zee and Scott Shuman's Contributions to Photography

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Everything changes and evolves over a period of time. New insights and discoveries propel us down a fresh path. The old ways are replaced by something different; however, in order to fully appreciate the current we need to revisit the past. To really understand the origin of anything you need to know about its founders and how it has evolved to where it is today. The roots are the core and provide us insight on how things originated.
Photography has been around for a long time and there are many people who have contributed to the discipline. There are two individuals from different generations who have made a huge contribution in how the field is regarded. The first person I want to talk about who had a big influence on the photography community was a Harlem Renaissance street photographer James Van Der Zee. He captured the life, culture, fashion and daily life during this vibrant era ( Van Der Zee first started to develop a passion for photography at a young age taking pictures for his high school. At the age of 30 Van Der Zee’s photography became more than a hobby; it blossomed into a lifelong career. During this period he spent time developing skills in darkroom studios and soon opened his own office, which was called Guarantee Photo. He eventually renamed his workplace GGG Studio, after his second wife, Gaynella Greenlee ( During the 1920’s and 30’s Van Der Zee focused his efforts on photographing the people of Harlem including all
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