Carl Van Vechten's iconic portraits
Carl Van Vechten was a bourgeois white Midwesterner who moved to New York in the early 1900s and was transformed into a cosmopolitan booster of the Harlem Renaissance. He saw a parade of cultural figures -- writers and musicians, black and white, gay and straight -- come and go through his home. They came for the parties and conversation, but also sat as he took their portraits. These images, such as that of Zora Neale Hurston, seem to capture something special about the creative people whose work Van Vechten so believed in. Book review: "The Tastemaker"
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Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston, author of "Their Eyes Were Watching God," is photographed around 1938 by Carl Van Vechten. The image is from Edward White's biography "The Tastemaker: Carl Van Vechten and the Birth of Modern America."