Howard Simmons Gets More History Back | Bleader

Howard Simmons Gets More History Back



Howard Simmons, Bob Black, John White, and Ovie Carter
  • Howard Simmons, Bob Black, John White, and Ovie Carter

[A guest post by Leah Pietrusiak - ed.]

For the article “How Howard Got His History Back” in the May 6 issue, I wrote about how some of photographer Howard Simmons’s work was recovered in a warehouse—including a portrait of four men, which was used as the cover shot for the edition. The photo featured four of the first black photographers (including Simmons) to staff the mainstream daily newspapers in Chicago, and had been used to promote an exhibit of their work called “Through Eyes of Blackness” in 1973 at the South Side Community Art Center in Bronzeville.

Simmons scheduled a show for May 9, 2010, at the Welcome Inn Manor (also in Bronzeville), and it seems the Reader cover made the rounds: By the end of the day of the show, all four men featured in the 1973 stoop photo—Simmons, Bob Black, Ovie Carter, John White—had reunited, after more than 20 years, to re-create the shot on the steps of the Welcome Inn Manor.

“I’ve seen the [1973] photo so many times, but when you put it against the new one, it really brings it home—you're old!” laughs Simmons.

Here's a four-minute video clip I put together from the events of the day. And see more shots from the day here.

[Ed. note: I highly recommend John White's Portrait of Black Chicago, a project he shot for the EPA when he was 28.]