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Elrich Murphy Biography

The late Elrich Murphy, a native of Alexandria, Virginia was the photographer of choice for many of Alexandria's African Americans. His work intimately documented the everyday events of the community from 1930-1970.
Elrich, walked or rode his bicycle capturing images and coloring those same images by hand during a time when there was no color film. His passion for capturing images enriched his life as he helped many families that could not afford photos by setting up payment plans. This enabled many families the opportunity to preserve and cherish certain moments in time. Elrich was one of two Black photographers in the Northern Virginia area that captured photographic images during and after the Great Depression Era. Church members, social clubs, weddings, local businesses and city workers, were all subjects for Elrich Murphy. After his passing he was honored at the Black History Museum, in Alexandria, Virginia where many of his photos have been displayed.

The museum displayed a comprehensive collection of paintings, photographs, books and other memorabilia that documented the African American experience in Alexandria and Virginia from 1749 to the present. The entire collection included over 3,000 items. Some of Mr. Murphy’s imagery which showcased a variety of activities from the mundane to the unusual was included in the museums collection.