Slightly less than two years ago, Dave Heath died on his 85th birthday, the result of a fall at his Toronto home. The Philadelphia native did live to see Multitude, Solitude: The Photographs of Dave Heath, a retrospective show that revived the reputation of a photographer whose forthright emotionalism had fallen out of favor in his later decades. Now, that same show comes to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art this week.
Abandoned by his parents, Heath grew up in the foster system and discovered photography as a teenager, later saying that it was his salvation. He first practiced his art while serving as a machine gunner during the Korean War, but his reputation as an artist was built on the pictures he shot back in the States, where he traveled to large cities and took black-and-white photos on the street and on city buses, capturing the moods of ordinary people in a lustrous style reminiscent of the photos of W. Eugene Smith. Race, poverty, violence, and war are frequent subjects in his portraits of people young and old, black and white. This exhibit now stands as a memorial to this photographer’s extraordinary legacy.
Multitude, Solitude: The Photographs of Dave Heath runs Jun 16-Sep 16 at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd, FW. Admission is free. Call 817-738-1933.