Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Powerful Moments - Powerful Photographer: Charles Mooore 1931 - 2010

The world saw the civil rights movement through Charles Moore's eyes: In black-and-white photographs, he captured arresting images of the integration riots at Ole Miss in 1962, the fire hoses in Birmingham in '63, a Ku Klux Klan rally in North Carolina in 1965. The Alabama native recognized the significance of the civil rights movement early on as one of the first photographers to document the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s leadership. Moore is remembered for his striking images of historic and often violent events that required him to get closer to the action than many other photographers would.

Moore died Thursday March 11th at the age of 79 with Cremation Services in West Palm Beach, Fla.

He had a personal relationship with Martin Luther King. King trusted him. As the lone photographer on the scene at Martin Luther King Jr.'s arrest in 1958, he captured the violence and emotion inherent in the scene. In the years that followed, Moore would take some of the most enduring shots of the Civil Rights Movement: the Selma march, the riots at Ole Miss and the tragedy of the hoses and dogs turned on those in Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham.

Later, while working on a contract basis for Life magazine, Moore traveled around the South to cover some of the most dramatic events of the civil rights movement.Moore photographed the riots at the University of Mississippi that coincided with the enrollment of James Meredith as its first black student. In one, white students hold a Confederate battle flag aloft as they jeer. The next year, in 1963, Moore was in Birmingham when black children and teenagers marched through city streets demanding an end to legalized segregation. They were met by police with snarling dogs and firefighters who pounded them with streams of water from fire hoses. In 1965, he photographed Alabama state troopers in masks tear-gassing voting rights marchers in Selma. The confrontation, which became known as "Bloody Sunday," received worldwide attention, partly because of Moore's photography.

"I'm proud to say my photographs have helped to make a difference in our country and our society, and to show that we're all children of the same God," Moore said in a 2005 interview with the Montgomery Advertiser. Moore's photos stand out because he used short lenses that required him to get close to the demonstrators. There are images of Charles in the middle of the scrum while other photographers are on the sidewalks, missing the action. In 1991, Moore published "Powerful Days: The Civil Rights Photography of Charles Moore," which included his biography and some of his most important photos. It is one of my most prized books in my library.

Note: All images and text are by Charles Moore and the text is from many sources.

1 comment:

Nigel said...

Wow captivating man!!