through a lens darkly docu: how african americans have used photography as a tool for social change

July 17, 2012

About the project: ” ‘Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People’ is a two-hour documentary film and multimedia project that explores the ways black communities have learned to use the medium of photography to construct political, aesthetic and cultural representations of themselves and their world.”
Produced and directed by filmmaker, Thomas Allen Harris. Co-produced by scholar, curator, and author, Deborah Willis PhD who is Chair of the New York University, Tisch School of the Arts department of Photography & Imaging.
“Since the birth of photography in 1840s, African Americans rejected what they saw about themselves in the dominant culture and took ownership of their own cultural image. Empowered through photography, Black people began to record and embrace their own truths and forge their own identities. ‘Through A Lens Darkly’ illuminates the hidden, little known and underappreciated stories of African Americans transforming themselves and the nation through the power of the camera lens. The film also explores how contemporary photographers and artists like Deborah Willis, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Anthony Barboza, Lyle Ashton Harris, Hank Willis Thomas, Glenn Ligon, Coco Fusco and Clarissa Sligh, have built upon the legacy of early Black photographers while trying to reconcile a past that our forebears would rather forget.
If you would like to support the project, CLICK HERE!

Banner photo by Donald Andrew Agarrat