Chester Higgins’s Life in Pictures

All along the way, his eye is trained on moments of calm, locating an inherent grace, style, and sublime beauty in the Black everyday.

Hanging in the fourth-floor study of the renowned photojournalist Chester Higgins’s Fort Greene brownstone is a bunch of large dead leaves, fastened to a line in front of a well-stocked bookcase. Higgins grew the leaves in his window boxes, he told me, and he’s been making photographs of them for some time now. It’s a way, he said, to examine how “the spirit” manifests in all natural things.

Chester Higgins's Homage to Ethiopia

Of all the African countries he has visited, Ethiopia holds a special place for Chester Higgins Jr. It is there, far from the cities, that he is able to meditate on the intertwined strands of his life and art.

Chester Higgins Jr. has traveled to Africa every year since 1971 as a way to meditate, disconnect and examine his life. Through the experience of photographing new people and places, his art both shapes and reflects his narrative. And nowhere is that truer for him than in Ethiopia, a place that has long enchanted him.