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Roy DeCarava

Lingerie, New York
1950/printed 1981
gelatin silver print
10 7/8 x 14 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, purchase made possible by Henry L. Milmore

“It's almost like you are redefining a situation, saying that this is more than what it is”—Roy DeCarava has approached photography with this goal in mind for more than fifty years. Harlem's stoops, fire escapes, and windows provide an urban stage set for these surprisingly somber playmates. Like their white shirts, the tiny sign, “La Blanche [white] Lingerie” catches our eye. The boys are oblivious to the sign's subtle comment on gender and race.