New York: Dashwood Books, 2023.
6.1875 x 8.25 inches
Baltimore Portraits presents two bodies of work taken between 1976 and 1985, privately made by the late artist, Steven Cuffie, who spent his life as a photographer working for the city of Baltimore. Edited by his youngest son, Marcus Cuffie, who also wrote an introduction about his father’s legacy. My siblings and I discovered them after he passed away, when my sister came across a collection of print filled boxes that had been kept in various cabinets throughout our house. In working with them, two subjects emerged most clearly, women and children. These are the subjects that occur most frequently in his early work. Portraits of women taken while he was a bachelor, and pictures of children he started concurrently in the mid 70’s.
"In expanding a conversation about Baltimore, and the lives of its peoples his work expands an understanding of the city. The idea of being black in the 70’s was developing rapidly and these works are connected to that lineage. The people in these images are not only subjects but collaborators in telling a story. Harder truths of the city are not hidden in the smiles of children, they are understood as only one part of what makes up life. The intimate space in which the portraits of women are taken is one that feels enclosed from external ideas of what blackness meant at the time. Free from narrative, the people in these images are allowed to unfold as real before the viewers eyes, free from politics that demand classification." —MC
Text by Marcus Cuffie
Design by Martha Naranjo Sandoval. Item #26252