Documentary Arts, Selections

The 60,000-piece Texas African American Photography (TAAP) Archive is the centerpiece of Documentary Arts gift to the ICP in 2014 of more than 100,000 photographs, films, videos, and audio recordings. The TAAP Archive focuses primarily on the work of twentieth-century African American community photographers active in rural and urban Texas.
Documentary Arts was founded in 1985 by Alan Govenar to present new perspectives on historical issues and diverse cultures. Over the years, Documentary Arts’ collaborations with major institutions including the National Endowment for the Arts, ICP (New York), African American Museum (Dallas), FARO (Brussels), Maison des Cultures du Monde (Paris) and UNESCO (Nairobi) have highlighted little-known practitioners of cultural forms via photography, films and videos, audio recordings, oral histories, exhibitions, public programs, new technologies, and collections of material culture.
The TAAP Archive, founded by Govenar and Kaleta Doolin, focuses on the growth and development of vernacular and community photography among African Americans in Texas, including Alonzo Jordan, Louise Martin, Marion Butts, Elnora Frazier, Curtis Humphrey, Juanita Williams, Benny Joseph, and A.C. Teal, among others. The material in the Archive elucidates the context of social gatherings, including weddings, funerals, Juneteenth parades, church services, school and college graduations, neighborhood businesses, and day-to-day activities in African American communities around the state. In addition, the images chronicle social protests and political demonstrations. The Archive features work by identified photographers from around the state as well as photographs, tintypes, and other early prints by unidentified picture makers that were found in Texas African American communities.
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