A Reframing of Value: Van Der Zee's Restoration Work of the 1940s and Beyond
The third chapter reframes James Van Der Zee's talent, and the elements of his work that are considered notable, by examining the application of his talent to other people's work. During the 1940s and 1950s, Van Der Zee invited his clients to bring or send him their photographs made by other photographers for the purpose of reprinting, resizing, or adding enhancements to the surface. Often mentioned as an afterthought to his career, the body of work examined within this chapter illustrates the full scope of the changing forms and functions that thread throughout Van Der Zee's long career. By enlarging his clients' photographs and enhancing their surface, Van Der Zee adapted his engagement with photography to serve the needs of his local and international clients in ways that can redefine how we value Van Der Zee's relationship to the medium.