I just came across another obituary that overlooked DeCarava's true greatness by narrowing his stature: African-American photographer. (Try Cartier-Bresson: French photographer.) DeCarava was, indeed, that but what about his plays with light? His prints that grabbed this viewer's eyes and pulled me in, hoping for, seeing revelations? I've never seen prints in a gallery that called for such viewing effort as did his. Not many have given me more pleasure. Blacks, lighter blacks, barely lighter blacks, set off by a touch of light, many shades darker than white. His work may have shown those of us not of his time or his place or his background something of what he knew, but it also granted us a very deep look into mysteries that can't be confined to superficial ethnic or cultural or racial categories. His street photography was more complex and rich than that of most of his contemporaries. It's aged better, too.
His cultural contribution should be celebrated, but that's hardly where his profoundly deep art ended. It's easier to categorize art than to work at seeing it.