Ruth Beckford and Careth ReidMar 30, 2017
The Picture Man
From the Collection of Bay Area Photographer E. F. Joseph
Arcadia Publishing 2017
From 1927 until his death in 1979, E.F. Joseph documented the daily lives of African Americans in the Bay Area. His images were printed in the Pittsburgh Courier and the Chicago Defender, but not widely published in his home community. A graduate of the American School of Photography in Illinois, Joseph photographed the likes of such celebrities and activists as Josephine Baker, Mahalia Jackson, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Thurgood Marshall. However, what is perhaps more compelling within these pages are the countless images of everyday citizens teaching, entertaining, worshipping, working, and serving their community and their nation. Emmanuel Francis (E. F.) Joseph (1900-1979) was born on November 8, 1900 in St. Lucia, West Indies. After graduating from the American School of Photography of Illinois, he moved to Oakland, California in 1924 where he served as an apprentice in a photography studio. He was the first professional African American photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area operating a commercial and studio photography business in his home initially at 1303 Adeline St. and then at 384 50th St. in Oakland. In 1980, Careth Reid purchased Josephs collection of negatives and personal papers, and nearly four decades later, a labor of love comes to fruition with the publication of The Picture Man: From the Collection of Bay Area Photographer E. F. Joseph (Arcadia, 2017). Ms. Reid, a lifelong educator and champion of community service in the Bay Area, partnered with longtime friend Ruth Beckford, a dancer, teacher, choreographer, actor, and author. Ms. Reid, a native of Berkeley, was the recipient of San Francisco State University's Alumna of the Year Award in 1990 and is also a member of the university's Hall of Fame. Ms. Beckford is featured in a downtown mural of the community's artists and was also celebrated as an Outstanding Alumni of Oakland Technical High School in 2015. Together, they tell the story of the Bay Areas African American community through the eye and lens of one of its own. Ms. Beckford and Ms. Reid live in Oakland, California.