Chester Higgins Jr.

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Chester Higgins Jr.
Higgins in 1994
Born1946 (age 77–78)
Fairhope, Alabama, United States
Alma materTuskegee Institute
Known forPhotography
AwardsInternational Photography Hall of Fame and Museum

Chester Higgins Jr. (born November 1946) is an American photographer,[1][2][3][4] who was a staff photographer with The New York Times for more than four decades, and whose work has notably featured the life and culture of people of African descent.[5][6] His photographs have over the years appeared in magazines including Look, Life, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Ebony, Essence and Black Enterprise, and Higgins has also published several collections of his photography, among them Black Woman (1970), Feeling the Spirit: Searching the World for the People of Africa (1994), Elder Grace: The Nobility of Aging (2000), and Echo of the Spirit: A Photographer’s Journey (2004).[7]

Life and work[edit]

Higgins was born in Fairhope, Alabama, and grew up in New Brockton, Alabama.[8] He attended Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), where he was mentored by the school's official photographer, P. H. Polk, and graduated in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in business management.[8] Higgins worked as a photographer for The New York Times from 1975 and exhibited in museums throughout the world.[2]

Historian Lonnie Bunch has said of Higgins: "He elevated photography from documentary to fine art."[9] Work by Higgins is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and has been included in numerous book collections and appeared in publications such as Newsweek, Fortune, Look, Essence and Life.

Higgins has traveled to the African continent some 50 times since first going to Senegal in 1971, and according to Lonnie Bunch: "He's capturing an Africa that has a spirit of hope, of possibility that in some ways he believes will shape the African-American experience as well."[9]

In Sacred Nile, Higgins narrates the story of the African beginnings of spirituality, antecedents of the Biblical world along the River Nile from the 6,000-foot-high mountains of Kush (modern-day Ethiopia) through Nubia (Sudan) down to the ancient land of Kemet (Egypt).

Higgins is represented by Bruce Silverstein Gallery in New York City.[10]

In 2022, Higgins was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum.[11][12]

Published books[edit]


  1. ^ Suzanne Muchnik, "Traveling the Globe to Document the Spirit of a People", Los Angeles Times, January 6, 1996.
  2. ^ a b Chester Higgins Jr biography, BrotherMen, PBS.
  3. ^ "Chester Higgins: Omo Spirit Narrative",, March 5, 2009.
  4. ^ Pete Dulin, "Invoking the Spirit: The Photography of Chester Higgins", Present Magazine, April 11, 2007. Archived July 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Chester Higgins Jr.", All About Photo.
  6. ^ Patrick A. Howell, "Iconic Photographer Chester Higgins Jr. Opens Our World through the Lens of His I", The Good Men Project, February 14, 2018.
  7. ^ "Chester Higgins, Jr. Biography", The HistoryMakers.
  8. ^ a b Biography at Chester Higgins Jr website.
  9. ^ a b Kalish, Jon (March 31, 2022). "Chester Higgins' camera brings a 360 degree view to Black life". NPR. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  10. ^ "Chester Higgins" at Bruce Silverstein Gallery.
  11. ^ "Chester Higgins". International Photography Hall of Fame. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  12. ^ "International Photography Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony". International Photography Hall of Fame. November 4, 2022.

External links[edit]