The exhibited photographs are an excerpt from the series “Passing Time”, a collection of images made in Harlem over an eleven-year period. They are united not only in their geography, but also in their attention to architecture, symbols, surface texture and the interplay of light and shadow. Fundamentally the photographs are connected by process and a particular way of seeing. I walked the same paths repeatedly, looking at what was close at hand, and recorded my observations using a small format camera. The images were made quickly – but not casually – and at best incorporate knowing intimacy and meditative distance.
Harlem is experiencing a radical transformation as a result of gentrification. It endures, however, as an image of African American cultural achievement and artistry. Exploring the relationship between this image and Harlem’s changing landscape is an important impetus for this work. While not the explicit subject of these photographs, this transformation is at the heart of what makes Harlem compelling: the complex mixture of memory, history and the present day.
Isaac Diggs (Newburgh, NY) studied at Oxford University and received his B.A at Columbia University and his MFA at Bard College. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at The Print Centre in Philadelphia and in the Project Space at Luxe Gallery. Additionally his work has been included in group shows at The Moore Space in Miami, FL, Co-Dependent at Miami Art Basel, Frequency at Studio Museum in Harlem, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning at Philadelphia African American Museum, Cakewalk at Ambrosino Gallery at Miami and Black New York Photographers of the Twentieth Century at the Schomburg Center in NY. His work can be found in the collections of Schomburg Center and Walker Art Center at Minneapolis. Diggs has had residencies and awards from Youkobo Art Space Residency, Tokyo, Artist in the Marketplace at Bronx Museum of the Arts, Special Editions Fellowship at Lower East Side Printshop and Jacob K. Javits Fellowship at United States Department of Education. Diggs was an Artist-in-Residence at CPW in 2005.