Roy Decarava was born in Harlem in 1919 and came of age during the Harlem Renaissance. After working in painting and making prints for the posters division of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), DeCarava took up photography in the late 1940s. DeCarava applied for and won a prestigious Guggenheim fellowship in 1952, becoming the first African American photographer to receive this honor. Several of DeCarava’s photographs were included in MoMA’s landmark 1955 exhibition The Family of Man, organized by Edward Steichen. He and the poet Langston Hughes collaborated on a book titled The Sweet Flypaper of Life, published in 1955. Decarava had numerous one-man museum exhibitions in his lifetime at many institutions, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and a retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. His work resides in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC; the Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX. DeCarava was awarded the National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2006.