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Installation view of Lower West Side, Buffalo, New York: Photographs by Milton Rogovin (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, September 27–November 9, 1975)

Installation view of Lower West Side, Buffalo, New York: Photographs by Milton Rogovin (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, September 27–November 9, 1975). Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York.

Throwback Thursday: Lower West Side, Buffalo, New York: Photographs by Milton Rogovin

September 28, 2017

Lower West Side, Buffalo, New York: Photographs by Milton Rogovin debuted a new series of photographs by celebrated Buffalo photographer Milton Rogovin. The exhibition opened with a Members’ opening on Friday, September 26, 1975, and ran through November 9, 1975. At the same time, the museum helped organize a related installation of about fifty of Rogovin’s photographs at the John F. Beecher Boys Club, located in the heart of the Lower West Side where the photographs were taken.

Visitors at the Members’ opening of Lower West Side, Buffalo, New York: Photographs by Milton Rogovin on September 26, 1975.

Visitors at the Members’ opening of Lower West Side, Buffalo, New York: Photographs by Milton Rogovin on September 26, 1975. Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York.

Visitors at the Members’ opening of Lower West Side, Buffalo, New York: Photographs by Milton Rogovin on September 26, 1975

Visitors at the Members’ opening of Lower West Side, Buffalo, New York: Photographs by Milton Rogovin on September 26, 1975. Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York.

After moving to Buffalo in 1938 to practice optometry, Rogovin became passionately involved in working with and improving his new hometown. In the 1960s, he turned to photography—a long-time hobby—as a means of making visible and dignifying the lives of historically underserved communities in Buffalo and elsewhere.

Installation view of Lower West Side, Buffalo, New York: Photographs by Milton Rogovin (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, September 27–November 9, 1975)

Installation view of Lower West Side, Buffalo, New York: Photographs by Milton Rogovin (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, September 27–November 9, 1975). Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York.

Installation view of Lower West Side, Buffalo, New York: Photographs by Milton Rogovin (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, September 27–November 9, 1975)

Installation view of Lower West Side, Buffalo, New York: Photographs by Milton Rogovin (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, September 27–November 9, 1975). Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York.

For the three years leading up this exhibition, Rogovin immersed himself in the Lower West Side neighborhood near his optometry office. This six-block area bordered by Hudson and Cottage Streets and Trenton and Elmwood Avenues has been called home by successive generations of immigrants throughout the city’s history. At the time, the area was shifting from a predominantly Italian community to one increasingly home to Puerto Ricans, African Americans, and Native Americans. Rogovin’s goal as a photographer, however, was to highlight the individuals behind such impersonal social, economic, and ethnic labels, recording the human constants in what the artist called a “neighborhood in transition.”

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