Chester Higgins

Some people think about photography as a way of stopping time, preserving what we see in the moment the picture is made. But Chester Higgins uses his camera to search for the unseen and make it visible. He challenges what we think we know and asks us to see the unseen spirit, giving visual definition to the lived human experience.
Higgins’ images are currently on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as part two of a series of exhibitions showing images from the Black Photographers Annual, a 4-part publication that was inspired by the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 70s. Volume 2 was the first to include images made by earlier generations of black photographers, one of whom was P.H. Polk. Higgins first encountered Polk’s work as a student at Tuskegee Institute, where Polk worked as the official photographer. Both Polk and Higgins worked to create opportunities for the black community to see itself through the eyes of its own artists, rather than be contented with a view of itself presented by others.

My hope is that my pictures can become a lighthouse. People who are out on the river, I can’t tell them which current to take to come to me. But at least my pictures, by the fact that they are present as they live their lives, they can chart their way.
— Chester Higgins

Paige hosts the LookSEE podcast and is a freelance audio producer, an art lover, and a lifelong Richmonder. Her favorite place to be is in a museum. A close second is a bookstore.