“The sensitivity of the photographs and the excellent blending of the pictures with the text... Bravo!” Henri Cartier-Bresson
The Sweet Flypaper of Life is a "poem" about ordinary people, about teenagers around a jukebox, about children at an open fire hydrant, about riding the subway alone at night, about picket lines and artist work spaces. This renowned, life-affirming collaboration between artist Roy DeCarava and writer Langston Hughes honors in words and pictures what the authors saw, knew and felt deeply about life in their city. Hughes’ heart-warming description of Harlem in the late 1940s and early 1950s is seen through the eyes of one grandmother, Sister Mary Bradley. We experience the sights and sounds of Harlem through her learned and worldly eyes, expressed here through Hughes’ poetic prose. As she states, "I done got my feet caught in the sweet flypaper of life and I’ll be dogged if I want to get loose." DeCarava’s photographs lay open a world of sense and feeling that begins with his perception and vision. His ruminations go beyond the limit of simple observation and contend with deeper meanings to reveal these individuals as subjects worthy of art. As Hughes keenly observes, "We’ve had so many books about how bad life is, maybe it’s time to have one showing how good it is."
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