Museum previews famous photos in Black History Month exhibit

Huntsville
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - An award-winning filmmaker introduced the Huntsville Museum of Art's latest exhibit for Martin Luther King Jr. weekend and Black History Month.

Jack Mitchell, creator of Harlem, Hollywood, Broadway: African-American Legends was known for many works of art, including photographs of famous black artists and performers during his lifetime.

"Jack's very first cover shot, an African-American magazine called 'color'," explained Craig Highberger, a documentary filmmaker who is now the executive director of Mitchell's archives.

In history, some photographers struggled with successfully capturing black skin on camera. Mitchell conquered it.

"He was a master of lighting and indeed," explained Highberger. "You probably will never see more beautiful photographs of African-Americans than these."

The Huntsville Museum of Art found it fitting to exhibit several of Mitchell's photos through Black History Month.

"We've got in this exhibition, Toni Morrison, the novelist, Harry Belefonte, Morgan Freeman," said Highberger. "So many people of my generation know those people."

Many of the photos were captured on actual film between the years 1961 and 2001.

"It's a learning experience and the museum has done wonderful work so that you can actually walk around and learn about all of these famous people," said Highberger.

Mitchell would go on to become the official photographer of Alvin Ailey's dance company and the very first professional photographer to take photos of Whitney Houston.

"He loved most of all, making the prints himself," Highberger added.

Highberger said not only did Mitchell cherish his technique and work, but he also cherished the people he worked with until the day he died.

Friday was a special preview event for the art.

You can stop by the museum and check out the exhibit beginning Sunday, January 19 until March 22.