Dothan Campus to host lecture on legendary Tuskegee photographer

October 24, 2019

Tuskegee University archivist and associate professor of history Dana Chandler is bringing a unique lecture about famous Alabama photographer P.H. Polk to Troy University’s Dothan Campus on Thursday, Nov. 7.

The lecture is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Sony Hall auditorium inside Everett Hall at the Dothan Campus.

Chandler’s lecture is titled “P.H. Polk, Tuskegee Photographer: His Life and Works,” and focuses on the life and photographic art of P.H. Polk, a Tuskegee photographer who later served as the official photographer of Tuskegee University for nearly 40 years.

Polk opened a photography studio in Tuskegee in 1927, served as the head of Tuskegee Institute’s photography department from 1933 to 1938, and then spent the next 40 years as the university’s official photographer.

He worked almost exclusively in black and white, and emphasized the individuality and dignity of his subjects through sharp lighting and detail.

Throughout his career, Polk captured the little-known people of the South and the well-known visitors to Tuskegee such as Langston Hughes and Paul Robeson.

He also took the famous photograph of Eleanor Roosevelt with Tuskegee Airman Charles Anderson used to promote the Airmen.

Chandler’s lecture accompanies a traveling exhibit of 14 enlarged images of African Americans in and near Tuskegee in the middle of the 20th century. This exhibit of Polk photographs, sponsored by the Alabama Bicentennial Commission and Tuskegee University, is from Polk’s collection of more than 3,800 images donated to Tuskegee University by his family.

The exhibit will be on display in the Troy University Dothan Campus Library from Nov. 1-25.

This lecture and exhibit are free and open to the public.