b. New York City, NY 1909
d. Buffalo, NY 2011

Milton Rogovin was graduated from Columbia University in 1931 with a degree in optometry and a deep concern for the rights of the worker. He moved to Buffalo, New York, in 1938, where he established his own optometric practice in 1939. In 1942, he married Anne Snetsky. That same year, he purchased his first camera, and was inducted into the U.S. Army, where he served in England as an optometrist until 1945.

Rogovin was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1957. The Buffalo Evening News headline about his testimony named him “Buffalo’s Top Red” and the persecution that followed significantly impacted his business and his family. Rogovin later stated that though his voice had been silenced, he would not be silenced. He demonstrated this in 1958 when he picked up his camera and began making images that communicated his deep desire for a more just and equal society.

Rogovin’s lens has illuminated prominent social issues of the day: the plight of the miner in ten nations; the decline of the steel industry in Buffalo; the common struggle of the poor and working people living in Buffalo’s Lower West Side; the celebration of spirit in the storefront churches of Buffalo; the pride of the people of Chile and the voice of its native son Pablo Neruda. Rogovin’s sole purpose, as timeless as it is universal, is to help the viewer see the people in his photographs in a new light, as people of dignity and strength.

Rogovin’s first photographic series, documenting storefront church services in Buffalo, took three years to complete. In 1962, photographs from this series were published in Aperture magazine, a prestigious photography publication in the United States. Noted African American historian W.E. B. DuBois introduced Rogovin’s work to an audience beyond Buffalo with his accompanying essay. Rogovin also traveled to Chile in the 1960’s at the invitation of Pablo Neruda to photograph the Chilean people.

Throughout Milton Rogovin’s career, his wife Anne was his collaborator, organizer and companion. Over the course of fifty years and across five continents, Anne worked alongside Milton in his photographic ventures while pursuing her own full-time career as a special education teacher, author, activist and mother. Anne’s most valuable traits were her unassailable good nature and her diminutive appearance, which opened the doors of many homes that might ordinarily be wary of a man with a camera.

Milton and Anne Rogovin began their travels to Appalachia in 1962 to photograph miners and the communities where they lived. They returned nine times through the early 1980’s. In addition to the miners of Appalachia, Milton also photographed Scottish and French miners. He received the coveted W. Eugene Smith Award for Documentary Photography in 1983, which enabled Milton and Anne to travel to China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Mexico, Spain, and Zimbabwe to continue their series.

In 1972, at the age of 63, Rogovin began to photograph Buffalo’s Lower West Side, the city’s poorest neighborhood. Milton and Anne returned to the neighborhood for three decades, creating triptychs and quartets by photographing the same individuals or families with each visit. The result is a collection of photographs which provide tremendous insight into the lives of Puerto Rican, African American, Native American, Asian and Italian families over the course of thirty years.

In 1999, the Library of Congress acquired 1,300 of Rogovin’s prints, negatives and contact sheets. The irony was not lost on Rogovin that the very government that persecuted him in the 1950’s now celebrated his defiant work as a champion of the poor and working class half a century later. Rogovin was the first photographer in forty years selected for this honor, ensuring that his legacy will be preserved for generations to come.


1931 B.S. Columbia University
1972 M.A. University at Buffalo
1994 Ph.D. University at Buffalo

Solo Exhibitions

2016 Life and Labor: The Photographs of Milton Rogovin, The San Jose Museum of Art, CA
2010 A Yemeni Community: 1970's photos by Milton Rogovin, El Museo Francisco Oller y Diego Rivera, Buffalo, NY
Rogovin 101, in conjunction with FotoFest 2010, Museum of Fine Art Houston, TX
Happy Birthday, Milton Rogovin, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
From the Western Door to the Lower West Side, Photographs by Milton Rogovin, Seneca-Iroquois National Museum, Salamanca, New York
2009 From the Western Door to the Lower West Side, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY
Milton Rogovin: Buffalo, Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica, CA
Milton Rogovin: in Celebration of his 100th Birthday, Danziger Projects. New York, NY
The Picture Man–the Photographs by Milton Rogovin, ARTRage Gallery, Syracuse, NY
2008 A Yemeni Community, Photographs by Milton Rogovin, Arab-American National Museum, Dearborn, Michigan
2007 Milton Rogovin: Native American series 1963-2002, Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, Buffalo, New York
Milton Rogovin: Native American series, 1963-2002, Castellani Art Museum, Niagara Falls, New York
2006 Milton Rogovin: Photographer, Center for Creative Photography at University of Arizona-Tucson, Tucson, Arizona
2004 Recent Acquisitions: Eugène Atget, Brett Weston, William Garnett, Milton Rogovin, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Remembering the Forgotten Ones, Rochester Contemporary, Rochester, NY
2003 Remembering the Forgotten Ones, New York City. New York.
Remembering the Forgotten Ones: Selections from the Milton Rogovin Collection, Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY
Remembering the Forgotten Ones: Selections from the Milton Rogovin Collection, WNED Television Station, Buffalo, NY
2002 Celebration of Mothers, Fathers, and Children, Buffalo City Hall, Buffalo, NY
Milton Rogovin, Vintage Works, Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica, CA
Milton Rogovin, a Retrospective, Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2001 From Generation to Generation, Milton Rogovin Photographs, Milwaukee Museum of Art, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
2000 Milton Rogovin: A Retrospective, The Bulger Gallery, Ontario, Canada
1999 Stauffacher Center for the Fine Arts, State Fair Community College, Sedalia, Missouri
1998 Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY
Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, Buffalo, NY
Foto Forum Nord, Worpswede, Germany
Kleinhans Music Hall. Buffalo, NY
1997 Fine Arts Gallery, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
1996 New York State Museum, Albany, NY
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Iowa
1995 Lowell Historical Park, Lowell, Massachusetts
McDonough Museum of Art, Youngston, Ohio
International Labor Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
1994 Adirondack Community College, Glens Falls, New York
Mexican Fine Ars Museum, Chicago, Illinois
Rochester Institute of Techology, Rochester, New York
Labor Museum and Learning Center, Flint, Michigan
Wells College, Aurora, New York
1993 Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Burchfield Art Center, Buffalo, New York
David Anderson Gallery, Buffalo, New York
1992 National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Washington, DC.
Baltimore Museum of Industry, Baltimore, Maryland
1991 Preus Foto Museum, Horten, Norway
1988 The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
1986 The Peace Museum, Chicago, Illinois
1985 Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York
Still Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland
1984 Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado
Capen Gallery, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
1983 Currier Gallery of Art. Manchester, New Hampshire
Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
Charles Burchfield Center, State University College of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery, Southern Utah State College, Cedar City, Utah
1982 Burchfield Center, Buffalo, NY
Preus Fotomuseum, Horton, Norway
Canon Photo Gallery. Amsterdam, Holland
Centre Internacional de Fotografia. Barcelona, Spain
1979 State University of New York at Buffalo. Buffalo, New York
1978 Fotografi Centrum. Stockholm, Sweden
Panselinos Gallery. Salonika, Greece
1977 Third International Photographic Event. Pori, Finland
The Photographic Museum of Finland. Helsinki, Finland
St. Lawrence University. Canton, New York
Gallery 1199. New York City, New York
1976 Nina Freudenheim Gallery. Buffalo, New York. Circulated to Griffiths Art Center
International Center of Photography. New York City, New York
1975 Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Buffalo, New York
1970 International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House. Rochester, New York
Center Lounge Gallery, State University of New York at Buffalo. Buffalo, New York
1969 Frostburg State College. Frostburg, Maryland
1968 State University of New York at Buffalo. Buffalo, New York
1965 Penn State University. University Park, Pennsylvania
1964 Museum of Negro Art and History. Chicago, Illinois; Circulated to: Illinois Institute of Design. Chicago, Illinois

Bibliography – Monographs

Milton Rogovin: The Making of a Social Documentary Photographer. Center for Creative Photography, The Univesity of Arizona, Tucson, 2006
Milton Rogovin: The Mining Photographs. J. Paul Getty Museum, October 2005
Milton Rogovin : The Bonds Between Us. White Wine Press, Buffalo, New York, 2001
Windows that Open Inward: Images of Chile. Words by Pablo Neruda. White Wine Press, Buffalo, New York, 1999
Triptychs, Buffalo’s Lower West Side Revisited. Norton, New York, 1994
Portraits in Steel. Cornell University Press, 1993
Milton Rogovin: The Forgotten Ones. University of Washington and Buffalo Fine Arts Academy,1985
Milton Rogovin: Lower West Side, Buffalo, New York. Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 1975

Bibliography – Selected Publications

2009 Voices Silenced, Faces Preserved, Randy Kennedy, New York Times, August 5, 2009
Celebrating Rogovin, Randy Kennedy, New York Times, August 9, 2009
2008 Nada Queda Atrás. Poems by Carlos Trujillo, photographs by Milton Rogovin. Ediciones Museo de Arte Moderno Chiloé, Chile
2007 The Eye Doctor's Vision by Paul Von Blum. Tikkun. November/December 2007. Escondido, CA
Milton Rogovin by Mark Rogovin. DoubleTake, Volume 2, No. 2. Fall/Winter 2007. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland
Jews and American Popular Culture, Volume 2. ed Paul Buhle. Praeger Publishers
2006 A Place In History by Andrew Z. Galarneau. The Buffalo News. November 5, 2006. Buffalo, NY
The Leftist Lensman by Ron Grossman. Chicago Tribune Magazine. July 2, 2006. Chicago, Illinois
Milton Rogovin: The Making of a Social Documentary Photographer by Melanie Herzog. Center for Creative Photography and University of Washington Press. Seattle, Washington.
2005 Milton Rogovin: The Mining Photographs. Essay by Judith Keller. Getty Publications, Los Angeles, CA
2004 With Eyes and Soul: Images of Cuba. Poems by Nancy Morejon, photographs by Milton Rogovin. White Pine Press, Buffalo, NY
2003 Milton Rogovin: The Forgotten Ones, a film by Harvey Wang. This 12 minute film celebrates the life's work of Milton Rogovin and won first place for short films in the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on May 10, 2003
West Side story. Black & White Photography. No 23. July, 2003. New Sussex, England.
A Sympathetic Lens on Ordinary People by Julie Salamon. The New York Times. June 16, 2003. New York, NY
Buffalo's West Side Storyteller by Michael Powell. The Washington Post. June 22, 2003. Washington, D.C.
Forgotten Ones, A Red-Baited Optometrist Records a Neighborhood by Tom Robbins. Village Voice. June 25-July 1, 2003. New York City, NY
Buffalo Soldier Entertainment Weekly. #719. July 18, 2003. New York, NY
Art Profile: 20-20 Milton Rogovin by L.J. deBerenardo. Traffic. Williamsville NY
Ninety-three-year-old photographer focuses on 'forgotten ones' by Tara Burghart (Associated Press Writer). Newsday. July 5, 2003. New York City, NY
Buffalo remembered. Manhattan Museum shows decades of city's faces captured in artist's photos. (from the Washington Post). Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY
The Forgotten Ones. By David Isay, David Miller, and Harvey Wang. The Quantuck Lane Press, New York
Black & White Magazine for Collectors of Fine Photography. February, 2003. Volume 5. Issue 23. Arroyo Grande, CA
2002 The Spirit of the Family. By Al and Tipper Gore. Includes two triptychs by Milton Rogovin. Henry Holt and Company, LLC. New York, NY
2001 The Bonds Between Us, Family Portraits from Around the World, White Pine Press. Buffalo, NY
From Generation to Generation, Milton Rogovin Photographs, A Teacher Resource Guide. Digital reproductions traveled with curriculum through the Milwaukee Public Schools. Also includes a poster of several triptychs. Milwaukee Museum of Art. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Celebrating the Forgotten Ones Summer, 2001. Columbia Magazine. Columbia University Alumni Association. New York, NY
Strike the Stone, Milton Rogovin. Art Voice Magazine. Buffalo, NY. July 5, 2001.
1999 Windows That Open Inward, Poems by Pablo Neruda, Photographs by Milton Rogovin. White Pine Press. Buffalo, NY
1998 Photographers International. October, 1998. Taiwan, Republic Of China
Winter, 1998. UB Today. Buffalo, NY
50th Anniversary Convention Bulletin, New York State Art Teachers Association. November, 1998. Buffalo, NY
Poster, Art Directors Communicator of Buffalo. Buffalo, NY
Neruda at Isla Negra, Poems by Pablo Neruda, Photographs by Milton Rogovin. Edited by Dennis Maloney. White Pine Press. Fredonia, NY
1997 Art Press. April, 1997. Paris, France
Parts Journal, Vol. 3. March, 1997. Minneapolis, Minnesota
This Week, Magazine supplement. January 29, 1997.
Solidarity, International Union United Auto Workers Journal. January-February. Detroit, Michigan
1996 Ash. Spring, 1996. Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Threepenny Review, Berkeley, California
Visual Sociology, Vol. II, No. 1. Duquesne University. Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
1995 Utne Reader. Jan-Feb. No. 67. Minneapolis, Minnesota
An American Century of Photography, The Hallmark Photographic Collection. Kansas City, Mo.
Professional Photographer. June, 1995. Vol. 35, No.6, England
Schwarzweiss 6. Munich, Germany.
The Progressive. July, 1995. Madison, Wisconsin.
Marie Claire, (United Kingdom Edition). May, 1995. London, England.
UB Today, State University of New York at Buffalo. Spring, 1995.
BOEKEN NRC. Handelsblad, Holland.
Toledo Blade. Jan. 8, 1995. Toledo, Ohio.
Labor's Heritage. Sept., 1995. George Meany Archives. Silver Springs, Maryland.
Gazette Telegraph. May 7, 1995. Colorado Springs, Colorado.
1994 Concrete Garden. American Studies. SUNY at Buffalo, New York
Triptychs, Buffalo's Lower West Side Revisited. W.W. Norton and Co.
New York Times Magazine. August 28, 1994
Quinnipiac Schweitzer Journal. Quinnipiac College, Connecticut
1993 Women In Perspective. Calendar, 1993. Published by Universe, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Portraits In Steel, Poster. Cornell University Press. Ithaca, New York. January, 1993.
Portraits In Steel, with photographs by Milton Rogovin, interviews by Michael Frisch. Cornell University Press. Ithaca, New York. January, 1993
1992 Photo Asia. Vol. 2, #9. September, 1992. Published by VSPR and Media Consultants. Singapore.
CV, Revue de Photographie Contemporaine, Photo. Issue 20, Autumn, 1992. Montreal, Quebec, Canada
1991 Attica: 1971-1991 A Commemorative Symposium. New York State Coalition for Criminal Justice/Center For Justice Education. SUNY Buffalo Graduate Group on Justice and Democracy. September 12-13, 1991
Photo Magazine. Priz W. Eugene Smith. Le maitre et les siens. April, 1991. #121. Paris, France
1990 Buffalo Magazine of the Buffalo News. March 25, 1990. Buffalo, NY.
Champion of the Poor, Milton Rogovin Reflects on the American Century.
The Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture, Activities Report. Issued by the New York Public Library. New York, 1990.
The House in the Sand. Prose Poems by Pablo Neruda, Photographs by Milton Rogovin. White Pine Press. Buffalo, New York.
1989 Social Research, New School for Social Research. Summer, Vol. 54, #2. 1989. New York, NY
50 Years of Photography. Catalogue for Exhibition. 150 Years of
Photography. Published by Vydavatel, Ministry of Culture, Praha, Czechoslovakia.
Ausbeute. Bergbau und Bergarbeit in der Fotografie. Ruhrlandmuseum der Staat Essen, Germany.

Public Collections

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo
Art Institue of Chicago
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris
Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, New York
Center for Creative Photography, Tuscon, Arizona
Centre George Pompidou, Paris
Centre Canadien d’Architecture
Columbus Community Health Center, Buffalo, New York
Columbus Hospital Clinic, Buffalo, New York
Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire
Fotografische Sammlung – Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
Fotografiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
George Eastman House, Rochester, New York
Internationsal Center of Photography, New York City, New York
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
Museum of Modern Art, New York
National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh
New York Historical Society, New York City, New York
Niagra Frontier Transit Authority, Buffalo, New York
Penn State Univeristy, Univeristy Park, Pennsylvania
Photographic Investments Ltd., Kansas City, Kansas
Preus Fotomuseum, Horten, Norway
Rhode Isalnd School of Design Gallery, Providence, Rhode Island
Ruhrlandmuseum de Stadt Essen, Essen, Germany
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York City Public Library, New York
Snite Museum of Art, Notre Dame University, Indiana
St. Lawrence Univeristy Art Gallery, Canton, New York
Univeristy of Buffalo Music Library, Buffalo, New York
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Wilson Centre for Photography