The History of Black Photographers 1840 to Present

Reflections in Black book cover“While historians have used literary documents to depict Blacks as helpless subjects, photographs allow us to see many of them as confident human beings. Occupation, income, education, and similar variables are important for assessing accomplishments and status…” said social historian Douglas Daniels in the introduction to Deborah Willis’ phenomenal photographic history, Reflections in Black. Willis is a former Guggenheim and MacArthur fellow who curated the exhibition, Reflections in Black, at the Smithsonian Institute. This exhibition, which has now become a book with almost 600 high-quality photos from luminaries such as James Presley Ball, James Van Der Zee, Gordon Parks and Carrie Mae Weems, expands cultural awareness and historical consciousness of the African-American experience in the United States.