The New York Times
Arts and Leisure
Photography
Sunday, January 17, 1971

BLACK WOMEN


By A.D. Coleman


Chester Higgins Jr.’s images in "Black Woman" (McCall, 1970) has a mood, a charm of its own. Though the description of it on the back cover blurb as "an unabashedly chauvinistic work, and a paean of praise to black womanhood" is more or less accurate, it suggests a polemic tone — and, thus, a limitation — which the photographer avoids.
As per its title, the book’s subject is black women, seen from childhood through old age and in all contexts — alone, with family, with children, with husbands, and lovers. Higgins, too, uses the classic approach, juxtaposing his images to quotations from interviews with black people, quotations which are, wit a few exceptions, extraordinarily appropriate.


Yet, while the book’s 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.

 
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