The Huntsville Museum of Art welcomed over 100 guests for the lecture and preview party for Harlem, Hollywood, Broadway: African American Legends Photographed by Jack Mitchell. The lecture and preview party took place Jan. 17 at the Museum and featured a lecture and preview party in the exhibition gallery.
The evening began with a lecture by Craig Highberger, the executive director of the Jack Mitchell Archives. Highberger shared how he first met Mitchell through his interest in his photography of Andy Warhol. After helping Mitchell with licensing his work and starting a website, Highberger and Mitchell quickly became friends.
In a personal remembrance post on the Jack Mitchell website, Highberger writes of their first meeting, “Little did I know that more than 30 years later I would become close friends with Jack Mitchell, create his website, work with him for more than ten years on licensing and various projects, and make a feature-length documentary about his life and career.”
Highberger shared Mitchell’s passion for photography and his professional journey from his teenage years. According to Highberger, Mitchell had an interest in photographing under-represented members of the African American creative community. Mitchell’s first cover-shot was for an African American magazine called Color.
According to Highberger, Mitchell developed a special relationship with dance company founder Alvin Ailey and spent years photographing the talented dancers there, talent that was often not photographed or appreciated. Highberger said Mitchell was particularly gifted at capturing his subjects’ emotions and personality.
“He was a master of lighting, and indeed you probably will never see more beautiful photographs of African American performers than these,” Highberger said during the lecture.
Following the lecture, guests were able to attend a preview party and view the photography in the exhibition. Among the photographs are pictures of Morgan Freeman, Whitney Houston, Cicely Tyson, Judith Jamison and more.
The exhibition will be on display at the Museum until March 22. The exhibition is included with the price of regular museum admission.