Black life in Pittsburgh from 1935 to 1975—the ills of a people disenfranchised, angered by wars, fists in the air shouting, “What is it good for?!”
Black life in Pittsburgh—Celebrities performing in the Hill District hotspot, the Crawford Grill—the images deftly captured on camera by the iconic Charles “Teenie” Harris.
The beloved photographer, who worked for the Pittsburgh Courier, is the subject of “Bradford Young: REkOGNIZE,” a three-channel installation at the Carnegie Museum of Art featuring Young’s footage of Pittsburgh’s Hill District, shots of Pittsburgh’s tunnels, and, of course, Teenie’s photos. REkOGNIZE premiered June 16 at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland.
Nearly 1,000 people attended the event, which later featured a discussion on stage featuring Young and rapper Common.
The project by Young, an Academy Award nominee, explores photography, light and time. Divya Rao Heffley Hillman, Senior Program Manager of the Photography Initiative at the Carnegie, said the video explores the history, legacy and identity of the Hill District and was inspired by Teenie’s photos.
“Among the imagery you’ll see is Bradford’s own footage of the Hill District, as well as photographs taken by Teenie, as well as metadata from those photographs. He took 11 digital photographs and dropped them into a program that turned digital information into code,” Hillman said.
Young is the first African American cinematographer nominated for an Oscar for the hit science-fiction movie “Arrival.”
He went beyond the technical aspect of his work, explaining it’s about “Black intentionality.” Young, who studied film at Howard University, said he’d pondered over how to study Teenie’s intentions without him here to tell us.