James Karales, a photojournalist who created one of the most enduring images of the American civil rights struggle, died 1 April 2002. He was 71.
His 1965 image of a civil rights march in Alabama captures a line of people that stretched across the horizon, some of them holding American flags and a ceiling of ominous dark clouds looming high above. He made the photograph while a staff photographer at Look magazine.
The New York Times noted that Karales often focused on “quietly sober pictures” amid the tumultuous era of demontrations in support of civil rights and against the Vietnam War, quoting a Village Voice critic who characterized his images as having “the weight of history and the grace of art.”
Karales in 1955 became a darkroom assistant for W. Eugene Smith at the Magnum photo agency and worked on documenting life in the integrated mining town of Rendville, Ohio. According to the Times story,Edward Steichen, director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, purchased two images for the museum’s collection.
Helen Gee of the Limelight gallery gave Kareles his first solo exhibition in 1958, the Times wrote.