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Movie stars, jazz icons, water and light: photographer Adger Cowans reflects on his life’s work

Adger Cowans Reflects on His Life’s Work
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
Adger Cowans sits in his Bridgeport studio during an interview in February 2022. The photographer and visual artist reflected on his expansive career — spanning Hollywood movie sets to photographing musicians of the jazz era. Cowans also worked with and was close friends with Gordon Parks, a celebrated photographer and movie director who was the first Black staff photographer at LIFE magazine.

Adger Cowans is an 85-year-old photographer and visual artist in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He worked with Gordon Parks and photographed jazz greats, movie stars and Hollywood sets — and bore witness to several eras of American history through the lens of his camera. In this video, he reflects on his life’s work, the racism he faced working in a predominantly white industry and what motivates him to make art.

You can see Cowans's work in a new exhibition at the Fairfield University Art Museum until June 18.

Video by Ryan Caron King

Fairfield University is a partner of Connecticut Public.

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