Carl Van Vechten was an American writer and photographer. Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is home to a collection of portraits entitled “Living Portraits: Carl Van Vechten’s Color Photographs Of African Americans, 1939–1964” featuring many notable artists, including Alvin Ailey, James Baldwin, Mahalia Jackson, W.E. DuBois and Billie Holiday. The portraits were all shot by Van Vechten on Kodachrome color, and thanks to a mix of gorgeous tones, textures and fascinating poses, props and fashion, the collection serves as endless visual inspiration. All digitised Van Vechten slides can be viewed here.
All images © Carl Van Vechten c/o Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.