Continuing the month long study of prominent African American photographers...

Chester Higgins, Jr. (b. 1946)

Dig me now, 1969 by Chester Higgins Jr.

Photographer and author Chester Higgins, Jr. was born in Alabama in the fall of 1946. While attending Tuskegee University in 1967, he saw photographs that had been taken by his first mentor P.H. Polk. Polk's images served to dignify African Americans in the rural South during the 1930s. These images inspired him to capture the images he saw of dignified African Americans. Graduating in 1970 from Tuskegee University, Higgins arrived in New York City and began his professional career. During his youth, he was mentored by Romare Bearden, P.H. Polk, Gordon Parks and other artists.

Higgins' photography can be found within the pages of the New York Times, where he has been a staff photographer since 1975. His photographs have appeared in Look, Life, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Ebony, Essence and Black Enterprise magazines.

Higgins has produced several influential photo essay books including Black Woman in 1970, Feeling the Spirit: Searching the World for the People of Africa in 1994, the Elder Grace: The Nobility of Aging in 2000 and Echo of the Spirit: A Photographer's Journey in 2004. An exhibit of his work, Landscapes of the Soul, toured nationally including the Smithsonian Museum and at the Museum for African Art in New York City in 1999. Other solo exhibitions of his work have appeared at the Philadelphia African American Museum in 2003 and the New York State Museum in Albany, New York in 2005. Higgins' photography is housed in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He is the recipient of grants from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the International Center of Photography, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Andy Warhol Foundation.

Higgins resides in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and continues to use his camera to document the jubilation of the African American spirit.

Biography courtesy The History Makers

Chester Higgin's Website
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