Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers, 1840 to the Present

Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers, 1840 to the Present

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by Deborah Willis
     
 

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"[N]othing less than an epic of Homeric proportions....Willis's magnificent gathering of images...rewrites American history."—Robin D. G. Kelley

Overview

"[N]othing less than an epic of Homeric proportions....Willis's magnificent gathering of images...rewrites American history."—Robin D. G. Kelley

Editorial Reviews

barnesandNoble.com
In the 19th century, early black photographers fought against racist stereotypes by positively representing their communities through portraits and images of free blacks. Later, in the 20th century, black photographers documented all aspects of African-American life, from the glory of the Harlem Renaissance to the injustice that sparked the civil rights movement. Now comes Reflections in Black, a stunning collection of nearly 600 photographs that traces the history of black photographers from the mid-1800s to the present.
Barbara Summers
Take the time to examine these faces. Make the time to treasure this book. —BET.com
Robin D. G. Kelley
[N]othing less than an epic of Homeric proportions....Willis's magnificent gathering of images...rewrites American history.
Library Journal
Willis (curator, Smithsonian s Center for African American History and Culture) continues enlightening the public about visual representations of African American experiences, work that just won her a MacArthur genius grant. This catalog of a Smithsonian exhibit that will tour America starting this summer should be read in conjunction with her other books on the subject: Black Photographers, 1840 1940: An Illustrated Bio-Bibliography (New Pr., 1992), VanDerZee, Photographer, 1886 1983 (LJ 11/15/93), and Picturing Us: African American Identity in Photography (LJ 12/94). In this more comprehensive book, Willis alternates chronological sections of photographs with essays that discuss the individual photographers and the scope of their work. They range from men and women who operated photography studios and made dignified portraits of the people in their communities, to photojournalists documenting social change, to contemporary artists making creative statements with digital montage techniques. This book certainly should be selected for African American or photography collections, but it could alternatively be put in general American history or social history. Anne Marie Lane, Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
This history of black photographers covers 1840 to modern times, presenting a wide-ranging set of images and social and artistic observations which should intrigue a diverse audience, from artists to those interested in black history. Black and white images accompany in-depth text coverage of the artists and their times in this first comprehensive history of black photographers.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393322804
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
10/28/2002
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
1,171,906
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 12.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Willis, a MacArthur, Guggenheim, and Fletcher Fellow, is the author of Reflections in Black, Posing Beauty, Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs, and the New York Times bestseller Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs. She is chair of the photography department and a University Professor at New York University.

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
DetPub More than 1 year ago
An amazing amount of material presented here covering more than 150 years of photography by members of the African diaspora working in America. With Jules Lion -- his studio in New Orleans in 1840, his expertise with lithographic drawing and picture taking, his awards and early teaching -- black photographic history moves from the periphery to the center. Deborah Willis focuses primarily on assembling an immense pictorial collection of black image-making, which covers every period and genre. The historical descriptions are relatively short in comparison, yet open multiple windows for future research by photo scholars. Exciting and eye-opening.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book opens people's mind to the fact that there are many faces in Black life. The book exposes the world to the many great photographers who have the skills and knowledge to document the black experiences for future generations to discover.