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A Man in a Bowler Hat

A work made of gelatin silver print, from the series "harlem, u.s.a.".
© Dawoud Bey.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print, from the series "harlem, u.s.a.".


1976, printed by 1979


Dawoud Bey
American, born 1953

About this artwork

Chicago-based photographer Dawoud Bey is known for his portraits of self possessed sitters who directly address the camera. Inspired to take up photography after a teenage visit to the exhibition Harlem on My Mind at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bey eventually decided to document various “types” of residents in Harlem, combining street photography with traditional portraiture. His insider/outsider status—he was born in Queens but had family in Harlem—made him sympathetic to his subjects, yet gave him some distance. The resulting series, completed only three-and-a-half years later, made up his first solo exhibition, Harlem U.S.A. held at the Studio Museum in 1979. Bey recalled that “it was about a particular moment in the evolution of Harlem in which there were clearly visible traces of Harlem’s past. A black man walking around in a bowler hat—that picture I took of him could’ve been made in 1932. It has an almost timeless quality.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


Dawoud Bey


A Man in a Bowler Hat


United States


Made 1976


Gelatin silver print, from the series "Harlem, U.S.A."


15.5 × 22.8 cm (6 1/8 × 9 1/16 in., image); 35.4 × 27.6 cm (13 3/4 × 10 13/16 in., paper)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Kevin and Jeanne Poorman

Reference Number



© Dawoud Bey.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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