CHESTER HIGGINS, JR.
A Closer Look
Rosa is a picture within a picture. At first we see a person in costume, make-up and sunglasses. But there is another picture. Reflected in the lens of the glasses you can see a street with people milling about. This image places the picture outside, possibly during Mardi Gras. You can also see a man in a yellow tee shirt. Can you tell what he's holding? How does it make you feel when a photograph has mysterious elements?
About the Media
Chester Higgins calls himself "a cultural anthropologist with a camera." His special interest is the African diaspora –- the cultures of people around the world who originally came from Africa. This picture, Rosa, is from a series by Higgins of portraits of African Americans called "The Face." Higgins has made a study of portraits. He published a book called Some Time Ago: A Historical Portrait of Black Americans 1850-1950 for which he looked at more than 40,000 images found in places ranging from cigar boxes to the Library of Congress.
About the Artist
Chester Higgins grew up in a small town in Alabama and graduated from Tuskegee Institute. He got his introduction to photography from P. H. Polk, the school's official photographer, who also encouraged his interest in his African American heritage. Some of Higgins' first photographs were of his great-aunts and great-uncles. Higgins is a staff photographer at the New York Times and has published five books of photography.
Write About It
- Make a list of what you see in the photograph.
- How does the photographer use the elements and principles of design?
- What is your opinion of the photograph? How does it make you feel?