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Bereans Screen Movie about Rogovin, Documentary Photographer

''The Rich Have Their Own Photographers,'' a deeply inspirational film about the life and artwork of Milton Rogovin, one of America’s finest social documentary photographers alive today, was shown in the Appalachian Center Gallery on Feb. 17.

This film was shown in conjunction with an exhibit showing the photographs of Milton Rogovin. The exhibit, open through March 6, is split between Hutchins Library and the Appalachian Center Gallery, Bruce Building.

Paula Rogovin, Milton Rogovin’s daughter, visited campus during the screening of the film.

In 1957, when Milton Rogovin was declared “The Top Red in Buffalo” by the Buffalo News, his life turned upside-down. Effectively, his political voice was silenced as society shunned him and his friends disappeared. In reality, he was an optometrist promoting workers’ rights in the local unions and helping to register Black voters. But refusing to be intimidated or be silenced, he found a new political voice—a camera.

Rogovin began documenting Buffalo’s poorest and working classes, photographing the disenfranchised, the marginalized, and those he considers “the forgotten ones.” Eventually traveling around the world, Rogovin collaborated with Pablo Neruda, W. E. B. Du Bois, and others at the forefront of the social justice movement, including those working in Appalachia. Through his prints, Rogovin was able to depict the extreme inequalities that exist and convey that message through beautiful works of art.

But Rogovin, now 99 years old, never intended to be an artist. Though his entire collection is housed by both the Library of Congress and the Center for Creative Photography, his prints are his protests—and his only concern is the fight for social justice.

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