Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Matinee: 'Adger Cowans Discusses Peter Bradley' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

6 August 2022

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 460th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Adger Cowans Discusses Peter Bradley.

Here's a 7:01 treat from Alex Rappoport featuring photographer Adger Cowans, a founding member and the current president of the Kamoinge Workshop of African-American photographers, talking about his friend, the painter Peter Bradley.

Right in front of him.

Bradley chimes in at the beginning to tell Cowans he can't remember when they met and that he never graduated from anything. Cowans is used to this, though. They've known each other nearly half a century.

He begins by telling us what they had in common. They were both artists. But they were not ambitious. They were not trying to find someone to validate their work, make them stars, open doors.

He uses the vernacular to describe that sort of thing. Suffice to say these are not guys who would be counting Likes on Facebook.

They were interested, instead, in making art. In the real thing. And he goes on to talk about how Bradley did that with paint.

Cowans neatly describes the art world they had to navigate 50 years ago. No black curators, no black museums, no black critics. Whenever someone did write about you they compared you to some white person who must have influenced you.

So they focused on putting out positive images of black people, in contrast to the prevailing winds. Bradley became the associate director of Perls Gallery in New York City while Cowans founded the Kamoinge Workshop. No one else was in those positions.

"Everybody suffers," Cowans says. But Bradley could always work, always paint, no matter what life threw at him. What drove him was painting.

Cowans, whose image Footsteps leads the Getty's story about its current Kamoinge Workshop exhibit, shows us his portrait of Bradley, a rare one of the painter. "I was looking for the Peter I know," he explains. And he got it in two or three shots.

"He understands his own self worth," Cowans says of his friend. But it goes for both of these genuinely inspiring souls.

BackBack to Photo Corners