Museum  June 1, 2018

'Around The Clock' Showcases the Tireless Work of Photographer Teenie Harris

Courtesy Carnegie Museum of Art

Charles “Teenie” Harris, ‘Four Jewels band members, Regina Albright on piano, Gloria Bell on bass, Hetty Smith on drums, and Willene Barton on tenor saxophone, posed in Crawford Grill No. 2,’ 1954, black and white: Kodak safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund

Charles "Teenie" Harris seemed to be everywhere
New exhibition offers a glimpse into his tireless practice

Teenie Harris Photographs: Around the Clock
June 2–September 3
Carnegie Museum of Art

Charles “Teenie” Harris worked around the clock. As a photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier, as a freelancer at nightclubs, at his portrait studio, as an artist, he was seemingly everywhere. CMOA’s Teenie Harris Archive contains nearly 80,000 examples of Harris’s tireless practice. Teenie Harris Photographs: Around The Clock collects 25 images that reveal how one individual managed to document the experiences of an entire community.

At the Courier, one of the nation’s most important black newspapers, he was out on the beat, covering the day’s news—from civil rights struggles to local politics, from celebrations to tragedies. He was an insider, heading backstage to shoot jazz musicians and sharing candid moments with sports legends. Harris also ran his own portrait studio on The Hill, catering to weddings, social clubs, and churches. On his daily travels around Pittsburgh, Harris captured the vibrant landscape he knew so well. Closer to home, he recorded tender, funny moments with his kids and family. Inevitably, even after covering scenes of nightlife or an after-hours emergency, he returned to his basement studio in Homewood to develop the day's photos.

Charles “Teenie” Harris, ‘School boys doing headstands on mats in school yard,’ c. 1955
Courtesy Carnegie Museum of Art

Charles “Teenie” Harris, ‘School boys doing headstands on mats in school yard,’ c. 1955, black and white: Kodak safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, ‘Barbers at work in the Crystal Barber Shop with view of Crawford Grill No. 1 through front door,’ c. 1949
Courtesy Carnegie Museum of Art

Charles “Teenie” Harris, ‘Barbers at work in the Crystal Barber Shop with view of Crawford Grill No. 1 through front door,’ c. 1949, black and white: Agfa safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, ‘Fire fighters battling fire at Flamingo Skating rink, Larimer and Auburn Avenues, East Liberty,’ July 1954
Courtesy Carnegie Museum of Art

Charles “Teenie” Harris, ‘Fire fighters battling fire at Flamingo Skating rink, Larimer and Auburn Avenues, East Liberty,’ July 1954, black and white: Kodak safety film. Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund

Charles “Teenie” Harris, ‘Ira Vann Harris and Lionel Harris with their dog “Joby” standing in front of parked car, on Mulford Street, Homewood,’ c. 1952
Courtesy Carnegie Museum of Art

Charles “Teenie” Harris, ‘Ira Vann Harris and Lionel Harris with their dog “Joby” standing in front of parked car, on Mulford Street, Homewood,’ c. 1952, black and white: Kodak safety film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund

Organized by Charlene Foggie-Barnett, archive specialist, Teenie Harris Photographs: Around the Clock offers a glimpse into the breadth of this hardworking photographer's activities.

Charles “Teenie” Harris (1908–1998) photographed Pittsburgh’s African American community circa 1935–1975. With nearly 80,000 images by Harris, the Teenie Harris Archive at Carnegie Museum of Art is one of the most detailed and intimate records of the black urban experience known today.

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