Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Fern Logan  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: New York City, New York

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Illinois Connection

Logan lives in Carbondale, Illinois. She is an Associate Professor of Cinema and Photography-at southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Biographical and Professional Information

Logan has produced a remarkable series of photographs in her book ''The Artist Portrait Series-Images of Contemporary African-American Artists''. Some of those who have posed for Fern are famous: Maya Angelou, Gordon Parks, Alvin Ailey, Ed Bradley and Arthur Ashe. All of her portraits document the emergence of the African-American artist into mainstream American art. Each rich duotone portrait is accompanied by Logan's commentary on the artist.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Artist Portrait Series: Images of Contemporary African American Artist
ISBN: 0809323796

Southern Illinois University Press. 2001

Fern Logan’s collection of photographic portraits documents the emergence of the African American artist into mainstream American art. The Artist Portrait Series captures sixty significant artists from the late twentieth century. Each rich duotone portrait is accompanied by Logan’s commentary on the artist.

Logan began her career as a nature, landscape, and architectural photographer, but in 1983, resolving to put the human figure into her repertoire, she created the photodocumentary Artist Portrait Series. Her philosophy of art as an educational tool prompted her to document the accomplishments of such highly skilled visual artists as Gordon Parks, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Roy DeCarava, and Romare Bearden. Logan expanded the project to promote recognition for prominent black artists in theater, television, film, music, dance, and literature, including Alvin Ailey, Maya Angelou, and Adolph Caesar. Her subjects include well-known artists as well as those who were emerging at the time they were photographed.

For Logan, the artistic process is as important as the final image. Her portraits not only capture the personality of the sitter but also convey the dialogue and rapport between photographer and subject. Logan’s interest in the tonal range of the black-and-white photograph and its contribution to the rich drama between light and dark informs her photographs in a formal manner. By allowing the artist/sitter to construct the photographic moment, Logan creates visually dynamic and psychologically probing images that are reinforced by the immediate studio or living environment. This elegant book documents nearly two decades of her finest portraits.



Speaking Engagements

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