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Bertrand Miles

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Information about Bertrand Miles

Profile image of Bertrand Miles

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Photographer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Ice Cream
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
An Ordinary Mortgage Just Won't Do.

Birthplace

Born:
9/17/1928
Birth Location:
Fort Adams, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Photographer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Ice Cream
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
An Ordinary Mortgage Just Won't Do.

Birthplace

Born:
9/17/1928
Birth Location:
Fort Adams
See how Bertrand Miles is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Photographer Bertrand Henry Miles was born September 17, 1928 in Fort Adams, Mississippi. His mother, Irma Mazique Miles, was from a family of medical doctors with roots on the island of Martinique. Young Miles grew up on the move. Sometimes living with his father, he attended school in Woodeville, Vidalia, Louisiana, and McCosh Elementary in Chicago. In Natchez, Mississippi he attended Broomfield High School, but graduated from Englewood High School in Chicago in 1948. Introduced to photography in high school, Miles was taught by professional photographers Carl Maynard and Carl Adair; eventually becoming Adair's assistant and moving with him to Atlanta, Georgia. Parting ways with Adair, Miles ran a “jook” for his father in Crosby, Mississippi through 1950.

Returning to Chicago, Miles helped in the family owned Billy's Restaurant and freelanced his photography. In 1952, he was offered a full time position by John H. Johnson as staff photographer for the New York City bureau of Johnson Publishing Company. Photographs by Miles appeared in Negro Digest, Ebony and Jet magazines. In 1953, Miles resigned from Johnson and recommended Moneta Sleet to fill his position. As a freelancer on Madison Avenue, he was able to publish photos in Life Magazine, Look Magazine and other publications. In 1968, Miles was hired as a cameraman by CBS Television, where he served until 1977. Miles is known for his portrait of Adam Clayton Powell, and his award-winning portrait of Mary Church Terrell at the Frederick Douglass Home at Cedar Hill.

For thirty-six years, including seven on the executive board, Miles was a member of local #600 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts and its allied sister union local #52. After retiring, Miles headed up the Miles Group, Inc., which was concerned with the restoration of the cultural history of Harlem and providing training and jobs for youth.

Miles passed away on February 1, 2005.

See how Bertrand Miles is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Bertrand Miles' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Bertrand Miles lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Bertrand Miles talks about his maternal family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Bertrand Miles recalls stories from his maternal family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Bertrand Miles talks about his maternal family's move north and his own upbringing in Woodville, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Bertrand Miles recalls growing up on a houseboat on Lake Mary in Wilkinson County, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Bertrand Miles recalls stories from his childhood in Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Bertrand Miles talks about his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Bertrand Miles talks about his parents' marriage
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Bertrand Miles recalls moving between Chicago, Illinois and Mississippi as a youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Bertrand Miles establishes a timeline of his early education and laments the rebuilding of Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Bertrand Miles talks about his father's business ventures and thwarted business plans
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Bertrand Miles describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Bertrand Miles reminisces about his family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Bertrand Miles talks about Great Migration patterns and his adjustment to Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Bertrand Miles reminisces about his father
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Bertrand Miles talks about becoming an entrepreneurial photographer while attending Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Bertrand Miles recalls attending his high school prom during his time at Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Bertrand Miles talks about his family's restaurant ventures
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Bertrand Miles recalls attending Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Bertrand Miles details his education in Mississippi and Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Bertrand Miles talks about his life trajectory after graduating from Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1948
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Bertrand Miles explains why he was not drafted into the Korean War
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Bertrand Miles recalls his introduction to, and being hired by, HistoryMaker John H. Johnson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Bertrand Miles recalls moving to New York, New York and meeting his second wife, the mother of his two daughters
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Bertrand Miles talks about working as a photographer for Johnson Publishing Company's New York Bureau
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Bertrand Miles talks about where negatives and copies of his photographs have been housed
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Bertrand Miles talks about other black photographers he has known
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Bertrand Miles reflects on some of his work
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Bertrand Miles talks about his favorite photographs that he has taken and documenting the March on Washington
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Bertrand Miles talks about lengths he has gone to in order to take a photograph
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Bertrand Miles recalls working for Life magazine, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Bertrand Miles recalls working for Life magazine, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Bertrand Miles talks about a friend who was injured while photographing the National Baptist Convention in Florida
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Bertrand Miles recalls an issue with receiving his disability insurance from CBS
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Bertrand Miles recalls attempting to purchase buildings in Harlem, New York, New York to open a barbecue and other enterprises
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Bertrand Miles talks about his vision to revitalize Harlem, New York, New York, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Bertrand Miles talks about his vision to revitalize Harlem, New York, New York, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Bertrand Miles talks about the need for investment in Harlem, New York, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Bertrand Miles talks about his inability to finance his entrepreneurial interests
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Bertrand Miles reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Bertrand Miles recalls how he was hired at CBS as a cinematographer
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Bertrand Miles remembers photographing the 1968 riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Bertrand Miles explains why he had to retire after hurting his back
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Bertrand Miles recalls memorable assignments he filmed for CBS
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Bertrand Miles remembers filming the Attica prison riot of 1971
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Bertrand Miles describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Bertrand Miles narrates his photographs