Through the African American Lens: Double Exposure
Double Exposure is a major new series based on the remarkable photography collection supporting the Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). From daguerreotype portraits taken before the Civil War to twenty-first century digital prints, this series is a striking visual record of key historical events, cultural touchstones, and private and communal moments that helps to illuminate African American life.
In addition to featuring fifty photographs from a broad range of African American experiences, each thematic volume includes introductions by some of the leading historians, activists, photographers, and writers of our times. Many of the images in the series are by famous photographers such as Spider Martin, Gordon Parks, Ernest C. Withers, Wayne F. Miller, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. There are also iconic images, such as McPherson & Oliver's Gordon under Medical Inspection (circa 1867), and Charles Moore's photographs of the 1963 Birmingham Children's Crusade. These take their place next to unfamiliar or recently discovered images, including work by Henry Clay Anderson of everyday life in the black community in Greenville (MS), during the height of the Jim Crow segregation laws.
Volume 1: Through the African American Lens is an introduction to the photography collection, revealing the ways in which African Americans have used activism, community, and culture to fight for social justice and create a better life.
Aligned to Common Core Standards
Deborah Willis is an art photographer and university professor and chair at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.