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Rosalie Gwathmey; Photographed Blacks in 1940s

February 25, 2001

Rosalie Gwathmey, 92, a photographer known for pictures of Southern black communities in the 1940s. Much of Gwathmey's work focused on Charlotte, N.C., her hometown. Her photographs revealed a gritty vision of black life there in the 1940s. Her work appeared at the Museum of Modern Art in 1946. Gwathmey was involved with the Photo League in Manhattan, whose members included Paul Strand, W. Eugene Smith and Dorothea Lange. The group was attacked as subversive during the 1950s McCarthy period, however, and disbanded. Tired of having to hide her work, she walked away from photography in 1955, throwing out all her negatives and donating her prints to the New York Public Library. She worked as a textile designer throughout much of the 1960s and 1970s, and seldom looked back on her career as a photographer. Her son is the noted architect Charles Gwathmey. On Monday in New York.

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