Critical Reactions to the books, Black Woman and Drums of Life

(The New York Times, 16 June 1974).

Black Woman: "has a charm of its own…Yet while the subject is black womanhood, its appeal is not exclusively to black women, or black men. Not only are Higgins’s subjects vibrantly alive, his casual images intensely felt and spontaneous, but the book reveals much about being a woman — and indirectly, about being a man — of any color in America today. Higgins has something to say to all of us." (The New York Times, 01 January 1970). Drums Of Life: "Higgins makes a positive, universal and artistic statement about black men…In the faces of his old men, wisdom shines like sunbeams." (Washington Post, 08 August 1974), "Drums…picture blacks in a variety of life-styles and stations of life. The beauty, majesty and mystique of a baby at the moment of birth and the melancholy and gloom of the bereaved at a funeral. In between, black celebrities, politicians and ordinary folk are seen with their families or at work. One section of the book has caught the elderly with faces that bespeak wisdom and an eternity of life experiences." (The New York Times, 14 June 1974). "In his new book…he extends significantly the personal documentation he began with his first book…Higgins is essentially a portraitist, carefully tuned to the nuance of gesture, expressions and body language, alert to the dynamics and rhythms of group interactions. Almost infallibly, Higgins particularizes his subjects and affirms their individuality; in images involving more than one person he is adept at describing relationships. These are emotional images, not at all dispassionate, but the photographer rarely slips into sentimentality or cliché. Nor does he force his subjects, or his images, to fit into a single overriding visual style. The consistency of these photographs is not one of graphics but rather of gentleness, warmth and precise responsiveness to the uniqueness of human beings."


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