Teenie Harris, photographer : image, memory, history
Charles "Teenie" Harris photographed everyone who came into his sight and was of interest to him, from people in an average neighborhood to the very well-known who came to visit Pittsburgh when it was Steel City USA, and the Hill District which was the African American community. His life and experiences cover the twentieth century--1908-1998. A charming, handsome and congenial man with ethics and an enduringly optimistic view of life, his photographs reflect what he valued: people, families, communities. Mayor David L. Lawrence gave Harris the name One-Shot because that was all he needed when other photographers were snap-snapping away. And those candid photographs capture people mostly in unguarded moments at home, work, play or worship. People trying to make the best of life and others who had trouble, like a bad dream, come into theirs, all of which is frozen in time in black and white photographs.
The introductory and three accompanying essays present background information on the photographer, Pittsburgh and the city's African American community, and the photographs. The portfolio of pictures is the large part of this book. His work is photography at its best which offers a visual history of times, places and people as they were, not always caught in the perfect or most beautiful way, but rather in honest and telling moments.
An earlier work on Harris is One Shot Harris: the Photographs of Charles "Teenie" Harris with an essay by Stanley Crouch who brings his insights on Harris' work. As in the other book, Deborah Willis provides the introductory essay on the photographer's life and what would become a reality--the collection of his work at the Carnegie Museum of Art: The Teenie Harris Archives.