I’ve known Mike Frisch since the early 70s when we were colleagues in the extraordinary Program in American Studies at SUNY Buffalo, which we helped found. In this, his second major book on the work of Buffalo photographer Milton Rogovin, who was drawn into the orbit of our program and with whom I studied, Mike talks about that time.
“Already in his seventies, Rogovin had become a graduate student, earning an American studies master’s degree and teaching documentary photography and darkroom technique. My friend and faculty colleague Dick Blau had come to Buffalo from Yale to help launch a radically different American studies program and create the Buffalo Theater Workshop; he went on to be the longtime head of the Film Department at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. But he was then just becoming a photographer and grabbed the opportunity in our program to work under Rogovin. Dick has always said that although everyone could see Milton was a great photographer, few appreciated his consummate skill as a photographic printmaker and how much that skill had to do with his art. From hours together in the darkroom, Dick had come to marvel at how Milton intensified the textures and sharpened the contrasts so essential to his distinct photographic portrait style—as can be seen in so many of the images in the book you are holding.” (p. vii in Preface by Michael Frisch, The Social Documentary Photography of Milton Rogovin, ed. Christopher Fulton, University Press of Kentucky, 2019)