Deborah Willis | Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present

Recorded Dec 8, 2009
Direct Download: 20091208-deborah.mp3

A graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art, Deborah Willis--a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2000 MacArthur Fellow--chairs the Photography Department at New York University. Dedicated to sharing visual representations of the African American experience, Willis authored the groundbreaking and highly praised book Reflections in Black, a collection of photographs of African American life from 1840 to the present, as well as The Black Female Body and VanDerZee: The Portraits of James VanDerZee. Her new book, Posing Beauty, was inspired by a realization she had as a student in the 1970s: that images of black beauty did not exist in the mainstream culture. This arresting new collection of photographs of African Americans, from Billie Holiday to Muhammad Ali to Michele Obama, redefines what it means to be "beautiful."

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