Adger Cowans

"For me, the artist’s responsibility is to keep the temple (body, mind, and spirit) clear, clean, and open…When it is so tuned, the creative impulses can be fully received and reflected to the highest degree, where line, form, and color define a space that the viewer can feel with the heart, explore with the eyes, and contemplate with the mind."

Adger Cowans, a fine arts photographer and abstract expressionist painter, has experimented with a myriad of mediums over his artistic career. Renowned in the world of photography and fine art, his works have been shown by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, International Museum of Photography, Museum of Modern Art, The Studio Museum of Harlem, and numerous other art institutions.

After attending Ohio University where he received a BFA in photography, Adger furthered his education at the School of Motion Picture Arts and School of Visual Arts in New York. While serving in the United States Navy, he worked as a photographer before moving to New York, where he later worked with Life magazine photographer Gordon Parks and fashion photographer Henri Clarke.

During the early 1960s, Adger photographed many of the activities of civil rights groups, particularly the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), and he was a founding member of The Kamoinge Workshop, a photography collective that was founded in 1963. He also became a very successful still photographer for the motion-picture industry, with more than 30 feature films to his credit.

Adger was awarded the Lorenzo il Magnifico alla Carriera in recognition of a Distinguished Career at the 2001 Florence Biennale of Contemporary Art.  He is the recipient of a John Hay Whitney Fellowship and the Martin Luther King, Jr., Caesar Chavez, Rosa Parks Visiting Scholars Award, Wayne State University.

Bridgeport photographer Adger Cowans reflects on his life’s work

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