Milton Rogovin began his career as an optometrist. However during his career he was cut short. Rogovin was called to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1957 because of his communist beliefs. He refused to testify and found himself ostracized. After losing his optometry practice, he picked up a camera. He decided to focus on telling the story of the working class and communities that had been marginalized. Rogovin focussed on what he called “the forgotten ones.”
Milton would often take a portrait of workers in their work environment. He’d then shoot the same subjects in their home setting and capture interactions with their families. His goal was to help his viewers see the working class in a new light.
“In 1984, after an absence of twelve years, I returned to the Lower West Side of Buffalo, NY to re-photograph the individuals and families who continued to live in that area. Then, eight years later, after overcoming heart surgery and cancer treatment, I again returned to the Lower West Side to complete a series of Triptychs which are unique in the history of social documentary history. The photographs in this series document the lives of the people over a 20 year span.” – Milton Rogovin
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