Tag Archives: race

Frederick Douglass’s Faith in Photography

Frederick Douglass’s Faith in Photography
How the former slave and abolitionist became the most photographed man in America.
By Matthew Pratt Guterl, New Republic

“New, cheaper techniques of reproduction, Douglass believed, allowed for a truer, more precise impression of the person on display. They also made it possible for the subject of the photograph to determine, to some extent, how people read and understood the image. Frame by frame, the authors of the volume show how carefully Douglass tried—in an age where, for so many people of color, this was simply unimaginable—to control meaning.” [read complete article]

‘Haunted Files: The Eugenics Record Office’

‘Haunted Files: The Eugenics Record Office’ Recreates a Dark Time in a Laboratory’s Past  NYTimes.com.

Haunted Files: The Eugenics Record Office,” a new exhibit at NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute, transports visitors to 1924, the height of the eugenics movement in the United States. Inside a dimly lit room, the sounds of an old typewriter click and clack, a teakettle whistles and papers shuffle. The office’s original file cabinets loom over reproduced desks and period knickknacks. Creaky cabinets slide open, and visitors are encouraged to thumb through copies of pseudoscientific papers.

“There’s a haunted quality, that’s the nature of the files,” said John Kuo Wei Tchen, a historian at N.Y.U. and co-curator of the exhibit.  “We hoped we could evoke a visceral feeling of what it was like to be in a detention center, where people were presumed to be ineligible unless proven otherwise.”

When the Eugenics Record Office opened its doors in 1910, the founding scientists were considered progressives, intent on applying classic genetics to breeding better citizens. Funding poured in from the Rockefeller family and the Carnegie Institution. Charles Davenport, a prolific Harvard biologist, and his colleague, Harry H. Laughlin, led the charge. [read more]

Hank Willis Thomas on Black Male Identity

Re-blogging from photoandimaging.net

“What Is Common to All of Us?” Redefining Black Male Identity
by Hank Willis Thomas
Creative Time Reports.

Drawing from his collaborative transmedia project “Question Bridge: Black Males,” the artist Hank Willis Thomas examines the racial context of the 2012 killing of Jordan Davis as the man who shot the 17-year-old Florida resident, Michael Dunn, is retried for murder.

Screenshot from “Question Bridge: Black Males,” a collaborative transmedia project of Chris Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas, Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair.

Every person has a “day of infamy” in his or her life. For the parents of Jordan Davis, that day was November 23, 2012. For the parents of Trayvon Martin, it was February 26, 2012. For the parents of Michael Brown, it was August 9, 2014. For me, it was February 2, 2000—a Tuesday. That was the day I lost Songha Thomas Willis, my cousin, roommate, best friend and, for all intents and purposes, big brother. He was shot dead in front of dozens of people during a robbery in which he did not resist. [read more]

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{Proud to say that Hank was a alumnus of Photography & Imaging and a student in my senior projects class.}

Racism as Style: The Return of Blackface

Important read in BagNews Notes:
Racism as Style: The Return of Blackface — BagNews

by Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa
(adapted from the Tumblr blog, The Great Leap Sideways)

Excerpt from essay > “On Tuesday of this week, the British creative arts website It’s Nice That published a feature on a photo-shoot by French multi-disciplinary studio Akatre entitled Tropical. The images consist of two young naked women painted entirely (and unrecognizably) black, stood in front of a brightly patterned tropically-themed seamless backdrop, or reflected in the smooth dark mirrored surface of a black table…” [ read more ]

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Happy to learn about thegreatleapsideways.com and greatleapsideways.tumblr.com, Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa, editor. The sites showcase contemporary photography with small and extended surveys of work by contemporary photographers alongside extended interviews, features, videos and extracts from texts that illuminate the practise of photography and its wider context. Looks like a great resource.

Teaching The Camera To See Skin Color

[Reblogging this interesting piece from Buzz Feed]

Teaching The Camera To See My Skin by Syreeta McFadden – BuzzFeed

I was 12 years old and paging through a photo album; my memories of the days seemed to fade in the photo’s recreation. In some pictures, I am a mud brown, in others I’m a blue black. Some of the pictures were taken within moments of one another. “You look like charcoal,” someone said, and giggled. I felt insulted, but I didn’t have the words for that yet. I just knew that I didn’t want to be seen as a quality of a dark black that would invite hatred on my skin.

A year later, it was 1988 and the overhead kitchen light burned the dullest yellow as my mother placed four proofs on the table from an Olan Mills photo session. Each wallet-sized print contained various permutations of my little sister, my mother, father, and me. She wanted to know what we thought.

I considered each of the images. I couldn’t see my face. “Why do I look so dark?” [read more]

Mirror of Race

The Mir­ror of Race Project, a place for reflec­tion on the mean­ing of race in Amer­ica — its past, as well as its present and future.

Here you will find both a main exhi­bi­tion of early Amer­i­can pho­tographs as well as exhi­bi­tions on spe­cific top­ics.

You will also find crit­i­cal com­men­tary in var­i­ous forms, such as essays and film.

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