Adger Cowans


  • Working Together: The Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop

    Adger Cowans, Malcolm Speaks, c. 1960-65

    Adger Cowans, Malcolm Speaks, c. 1960-65


    Adger Cowans: I was taking pictures of Malcolm X in Harlem at that time. This is 1963, I think. And I just went up on the top of the building and looked down.

    Narrator: Adger Cowans.

    Adger Cowans: I saw, oh man, this is to show how many people were there. Because the news media, they always said Malcolm’s talking and you know he’s starting trouble, etcetera, etcetera. But they never show the amount of people that were there listening to Malcolm.

    Not only was Malcolm a warrior, he was a father, and a husband, and a very sensitive man. He had knowledge and that was what they were afraid of. And that’s why I think, all, all of our heroes are always killed when they get to the point where they’re imparting the most important information to the people. And that is: your destiny, you decide, not somebody else. You get in touch with who you are and you don’t have time to argue and fight about somebody else, or gossip on somebody else or criticize or be angry.

    And if more people would do that we’d have a better world I think.

  • Adger Cowans, Djuka Woman and Child (Balance), 1969

    Adger Cowans, Djuka Woman and Child (Balance), 1969


    Adger Cowans: Suriname was called Dutch Vienna at that time. They had just won their independence. So, it was a great time to be there. 

    Narrator: Adger Cowans took this photograph deep in the Suriname jungle in 1969. 

    Adger Cowans: When I got to Suriname, I walked around in that village for a week without a camera. I didn’t even have my camera. And then the next week I put my camera on my shoulder and I’d walk around and people would ask me, oh what is that what is that. Blah blah blah, we’d get into conversations. 

    When I first got there they looked at me like, he’s a strange-looking guy, you know. I got you know got you know jodphur boots on and Levi pants and blue shirt and shades and an Afro [laughs]. And the camera. Like what? But then after a while, you working, and they begin to trust me. 

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