In honor of Black History Month, the Bronx Museum is featuring four works by the Bronx-born photographer Morton Broffman.
“In the spring of 1965, Broffman was among the scores of print journalists, television reporters, and photographers from around the country who traveled to Alabama in 1965 to participate in and record the Selma to Montgomery voting rights march. The fifty-four miles from Selma to Montgomery along Highway 80 took marchers five days to complete. It was the largest civil rights demonstration the state had ever seen, with newcomers who had never participated in the movement walking side by side with veterans who had been campaigning for the right to vote for more than a decade. By the final day of the march—the entry into the state capital, Montgomery, on March 25, 1965—the number had swollen to some twenty-five to thirty thousand people.
This desire to make photographs that tell a story and say something about the human condition is central to Broffman’s approach to photography. It is part of a long established tradition of social realism, which maintains a close connection between the camera’s unguarded eye and the democratic imperative to look directly at life, including the unsavory and the unseen, in a specific and unidealized way. Broffman photographed with insight and sensitivity, exploring different vantage points and always searching for the emotional truth in his subject. He cared about community and wanted to shine a light on the lives and histories of the people he photographed, in order to let the world know that what they stood for and what they did mattered.”
Excerpts from “Camera with a Conscience: Morton Broffman and the Civil Rights Movement” by Julian Cox, in Three Photographers from the Bronx: Jules Aarons, Morton Broffman, Joe Conzo (New York: The Bronx Museum of the Arts, 2015).
Collection Spotlight: Morton Broffman is made possible through the generosity of the Broffman Family.