Jack Delano was born Jacob Ovcharov to a captain in the Russian Red Army and a schoolteacher. After immigrating with his family to Philadelphia in 1923 he studied music at the Settlement Music School and the Curtis Institute. His hunger for more out of life led him to also study photography and graphic design, being awarded a scholarship to attend the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. While studying here he was awarded a scholarship to travel throughout Europe visiting museums and studying the masters of art. Upon returning to the U.S. he began to manifest and increased interest in photography, which led him to commercial photography after his graduation from PAFA in 1940. Recognizing his talent, Paul Strand encouraged Delano and his wife Irene to relocate to New York City, where he met Roy Stryker and other photographers. Through his association with Stryker he obtained a position with the Farm Security Administration (FSA.) At the FSA Delano was dedicated to highlighting the living conditions in ten southern states and New England, and to the effect increasing war production was having on people's lives. His pictures of the poor and neglected of the south, and his pictures from New England documented for posterity the effects the Depression was having on the working class. As World War II approached he began to document how war production was affecting the workers and their towns. The 1930s and 40's were the years he produced most of his most important work. After serving in the military, he and his wife Irene moved to the place he had once vowed to return: Puerto Rico. He blended into the cultural life of the island and came to love the island and its people so much he called the island home. During the 1950s and 60s Delano worked for the government as photographer and cinematographer for the Education Department, and also helped establish a public television network (WIPR.) After resigning from his governmental job in 1969 he dedicated his life to the pursuit of projects such as music composition, graphic design, and book illustration. As composer, Delano had some of his works performed by the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra (founded by his friend Pablo Casals) and other renowned orchestras and singers. His work in graphic design and book illustration is of the highest quality. Delano served on the board of directors of La Casa del Libro, a museum dedicated to the preservation of the art of the book, for many years, until his death at the age of 83.
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I had never heard of Mr. Delano until I saw one of his photographs of a Jim Crow train station in Durham, NC,dated 1940. I found it so fascinating I just had to do more research on the person who created the photograph which led me to his Wikipedia page...(Read more) -
Anonymous Added: Jul. 5, 2013
Such a sweet man! I'll never forget how kind you were to us tour guides each time you visited the Ponce Art Museum. You managed to capture with your camera an era long gone which makes me yearn for times I didn't have the privilege to live in. You final...(Read more) -
Astrid Added: Mar. 28, 2011