Thursday, August 11, 2011
Pulitzer Prize-winning news photographer Matthew Lewis to exhibit and speak October 19, N&R columnist Jeri Rowe to moderate discussion
Sometimes, a picture is worth more than a thousand words.
Combine a picture with the story of four generations of African American photographers, and you have even more: an eye on history.
Matthew Lewis was the first photographer at the Washington Post ever to win a Pulitzer Prize when he did so in 1975 for a portfolio of his color pictures. Now “retired” and living in Thomasville, NC, Lewis is coming to the University Libraries at UNCG on Wednesday, October 19 at 5 pm in the Jackson Library Reading Room to display and talk about some of his favorite photos for an event moderated by News & Record columnist and Friends of the UNCG Libraries Board member Jeri Rowe.
The list of famous people photographed by Lewis ranges from Muhammed Ali to Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Included are politicians , musicians, celebrities and movie stars. All his photos, says Lewis, have a story. He is an enthusiastic man, with many stories. As he speaks, one senses that Lewis has enjoyed photographing the Thomasville Bulldogs football team as much as he did photographing Martin Luther King, several presidents, and the Queen of England.
Matthew Lewis joined the faculty of Morgan State College in 1957 as an assistant in the audiovisual department and a public relations photographer. He began free-lancing for the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper in 1963, covering events such as the funeral of John F. Kennedy and the 1963 March on Washington. He became a staff photographer for the Washington Post in 1965 and was later the Assistant Managing Editor of the photographic department for eleven years before retiring from the Post in 1990 after 25 years. He became a freelance photographer for the Thomasville Times in 1994 and later became their staff photographer.
Lewis’s grandfather, Harvey James (HJ) Lewis, born in 1878 the son of indentured slaves, began making photographs for picture postcards in the Pittsburgh area in 1896, and built a studio in his backyard in 1905. There he became a noted chronicler of city life and social scenes, and established himself as a portraitist and color photographer, continuing to work until his death in 1968. Three more generations of his family, including Matthew Lewis, have been photographers, creating a legacy than spans more than a century. Matthew Lewis will display some of his grandfather’s photographs and talk about them as well.