Thomas Roma (1999-02-05)

Thomas Roma
Practice: Photography
Date of Lecture: 1999-02-05

Roma_Thomas_p01Photo by: Allan Lee

Thomas Roma was born and raised in New York. For many years now he has been using photography to examine scenes of daily life in his native Brooklyn. Roma shoots black and white photos with a 6 x 8 cm or 6 x 9 cm camera that he constructed himself. His images are ethereal and beautiful, despite their very ordinary settings.

“Higher Ground”, a monograph published in 1998, is a series of images shot on the elevated train system in Brooklyn, it is at once a portrait of the train’s passengers and of the cityscapes that are passing before their often unseeing eyes. The passengers are caught in a state of semi-consciousness, lulled by the trains motion, or else engaged in conversation with someone at their side. No one ever looks into Roma’s lens or seems the least disturbed by his presence. Andy Grundberg of the New York Times said “Roma’s work is about describing unprepossessing materials beautifully, in the manner of Eugene Atget, Walker Evans, and, most immediately, Lee Friedlander”. His work has been exhibited internationally, including solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center for Photography. He has published a large number of monographs including “Come Sunday”, “Found in Brooklyn”, “Old and On Their Own”, “Sunset Park”, and “Higher Ground”. Roma still lives in Brooklyn and is currently associate Professor at Columbia University School of the Arts. His most recent publication, “Show and Tell” is a collaboration with his ten year old son, Giancarlo.

Roma_Thomas_w01from Enduring Justice, 2001

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