Photo Tribute: Baltimore Sun’s First Black Photographer, Irving Henry Webster Phillips Jr., Dies At 79

Irving Henry Webster Phillips Jr. poses in front of a mural. Screenshot via @baltimorebeat on Instagram.

What’s happening?

The Baltimore Sun’s first Black photographer, Irving Henry Webster Phillips Jr., died at age 79 on December 22, 2022, Teri Henderson and Schaun Champion report for the Baltimore Beat. 

What legacy is Phillips Jr. leaving behind?

Phillips Jr.’s photos memorialized Black life in Baltimore, including photos of children playing in the street, former local advocates and City Council members, and a sign celebrating the release of Huey P. Newton. He even photographed a portrait of Oprah Winfrey.

Phillips Jr.’s father, Henry Phillips Sr., was a photographer at the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper, and his son, I. H. Webster Phillips III, is also an artist. Phillips Jr. and his son founded a digital archive of 10,000 photographs across their three generations called the I. Henry Photo Project. Before his death, Phillips Jr. and his son enlisted Baltimore’s help in identifying the subjects of those images by hosting workshops at spaces such as libraries, nursing homes, and community centers. 

Anything else I should know? 

Baltimore Beat’s article includes a photo tribute to Phillips Jr. with a curated selection of images from the archive. 

You can read more here. 

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