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March 25, 2021

Vintage Black-and-White Portraits of Harlem Residents in the 1950s

Mario De Biasi was an Italian photographer. Born in 1923, he later moved to Milan after spending his youth in the village of Sois. He joined Epoca in 1953 and began his career as a photojournalist, which lasted until the 1980s. In over 30 years he filed reports for the magazine from around the world. Among these was a report on the Hungarian uprising in 1956, pictures of New York in the 1950s and numerous portraits of famous figures, including Marlene Dietrich, Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren.


De Biasi studied cinema, architecture and nature, and has held exhibitions and workshops in Italy and abroad over the years. He has published several books and received many awards, among these were the Saint Vincent Prize for Journalism in 1982 and the title of Master of Italian Photography, the highest honour of the Italian Federation of Photographic Associations. He died at the age of 89 on May 27, 2013, after receiving the prize for lifetime achievement from the AIF in February 2013.

Take a look through 26 fascinating vintage black-and-white portraits of Harlem residents taken by De Biasi during his trip to New York in February 1956:


  1. Superb photographs. And so many well-dressed people.

    1. It's striking how stylish people generally look in photographs from this time. Possibly because fashion tended to be more formal-looking back then.




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