Fallen Through The Cracks – Black Artists in History: Fallen Through The Cracks – Black Artists in History: Willie Middlebrook
#FallenThroughTheCracks – Willie Robert Middlebrook, Jr. was born on August 11, 1957, in Detroit, MI. He was a photographer and artist, and an ardent advocate for the African-American community in Los Angeles. Throughout his illustrious career, this remarkable artist garnered numerous accolades and left an indelible mark on the world of photography in Los Angeles and beyond.
Educationally endowed, he possessed an Associate of Arts degree in Art/Photography from Compton Community College and a Certificate in Design from the Communicative Arts Academy. His legacy extended beyond his artistry as he became an influential figure in the classroom, teaching at renowned institutions like the Watts Towers Arts Center and California State University, Los Angeles. Additionally, he served on the advisory committee for the Photography Department at his alma mater, Compton Community College.
As a fine artist, he is celebrated for his portraits of African-American individuals and communities in the greater Los Angeles area, always depicted with dignity and respect. His innovative photographic printing techniques, marked by thickly applied photographic emulsion in a dripping fashion, layered upon surfaces and meticulously exposed to create unique prints, became a hallmark of his work. His journey was punctuated by more than two decades of awards and recognition, including the City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs in 2009, commendations from the Los Angeles City Council, and the distinguished title of “Hometown Hero” bestowed upon him by the City of Compton.
His journey was paved with recognition and honors, including two prestigious Visual Artist Fellowships in photography from the National Endowment for the Arts. His artistic prowess extended to public commissions, with notable contributions to iconic structures like the Los Angeles Metro Expo/Crenshaw Station. His lens also captured history as a photographer for Time Magazine, with his poignant images of the African-American struggle in Los Angeles finding a global audience, primarily in European editions. Major museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and LACMA quickly recognized the profound significance of his work, eagerly adding his creations to their collections. Willie Robert Middlebrook, Jr. died on May 5, 2012, in Los Angeles, CA.
(Text paraphrased from Wikipedia and other sources. All Images are the property of the copyright owners. This clip is for educational purposes.)