Black Pinups Afro-Antics #3 Howard Morehead Unsung Hero of Photography Black Pinup Vintage Sleaze
Want to read one of the saddest and now most pathetic paragraphs you will read in quite a while? Right here.
This was written in 1964. In my lifetime, and likely in that of many reading this. How could we have been so backward, so racist?
Howard Morehead was one photographer ahead of his time, even though his time was not very fair to him or his models. Mr. Morehead not only found the African-American figure beautiful, he took it upon himself to prove it to others. From small beginnings organizing the "Miss Los Angeles Bronze Beauty contest" in 1958 to his calendar line and his extensive work for Jet and Ebony Magazine, Mr. Morehead had not only racist perceptions about his those he took pictures of, but racism himself to deal with. The first West Coast Staff Photographer for Ebony Magazine, Morhead took a now famous photograph of Ray Charles as well as countless splendid pictures of Black Women in all their glory.
Howard Morehead was born in Kansas in 1927 and moved to Los Angeles as a young man. During his lifetime, he suffered the mixed compliment of being "one of the top photographers of his race" I am sure with dignity and grace. The fantastic body of work was fortunately deposited in the California African American Museum which features many of Morehead's images (including Ray Charles, Billie Holiday and Paul Robeson) and a scarce Image of one of his calendars.
Shortly after his death, the museum mounted the exhibition "I Shot Ray Charles" which I hope they will recreate one day.
The scarce book "Gentlemen Prefer Bronze" shown above collects over fifty of Morehead's beautiful photographs of Black Pinups and Fashion photographs. Published in 1964, it is a hard volume to find but belongs in every photography library. I am sure the publisher "Sherbourne Press" no longer exists, and I have not found another copy of this book listed. It is well worth searching for.
See others in the Series "UNSUNG HERO OF PHOTOGRAPHY"
See others in the Series "BLACK PINUPS AFRO-ANTICS"
Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books HERE
Images from "Gentleman Prefer Bronze" Sherbourne Press 1964 Los Angeles Collection Victor Minx