About the Cover

African American Portraits: Photographs from the 1940s and 1950s is on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through October 8, with more than 150 studio portraits from the mid-twentieth century, most by unidentified photographers in small-town studios throughout the South. Though personal, intimate objects, these photographs collectively illustrate the cultural shifts occurring mid-century. The subjects, says curator Jeff Rosenheim, are “testing themselves against themselves” and figuring out who they want to be.