Nubian Dreams: Images of the Sudan
The Photography of Chester Higgins
June 20, 2008 - August 15, 2008
Who were the ancient people—living, farming, worshiping and journeying—along the Nile River as it carried life to the desert?
But how? And in what order?
I use my camera to document similarities and differences that make a statement about these ancient Nile people—the Axumites, Nubians and Kemetians—and their phenomenal approach to society and the dramatic, collective conversation they conducted with their Creator. I try to give voice to the divine dialogue they left behind in stone.
To me, the ancient art and architecture portrays a family of cousins with shared beliefs and enmities living, loving and warring along the long, life-sustaining corridor of the Nile in northern Africa.
— Chester Higgins, 2008
Chester Higgins is one of the premiere photographers of his generation. Because he believes art humanizes us, the subjects of his photographs are of utmost importance to him. His images resonate with a spiritual echo, which maintains the image and frees it from the constraints of time. Much of Higgins’ imagery is inspired by his quest to redefine the visual document as it relates to people of African descent. Viewers gain a rare insight into cultural behavior—a window to another place and time—through his portraits and studies of living rituals and ancient civilizations.
An Alabama native, he has been a staff photographer for The New York Times since 1975. His photographs have appeared in numerous publications including ArtNews, New York Times Sunday Magazine, Life, Newsweek, Fortune, Ebony, Essence, The New Yorker and Archaeology. His work is the topic of two PBS films, "An American Photographer: Chester Higgins Jr.," and “Brotherman”. His one-man exhibitions have appeared at the International Center of Photography, The Smithsonian Institution, The Museum of African Art, The Museum of Photographic Arts, The Schomburg Center, among others. He is the recipient of grants from The Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the International Center of Photography, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andy Warhol Foundation (ICP).
He is the author of the photo collections Black Woman, Drums of Life; Some Time Ago and Feeling the Spirit: Searching the World for the People of Africa — a comprehensive look at the African Diaspora and Elder Grace: The Nobility of Aging. His latest book, a memoir entitled Echo of the Sprit: A Photographer’s Journey was published in 2005 by Doubleday.