Posing Beauty

The newest book by Henry Art Gallery / University of Washington College of Arts and Sciences Visiting Fellow, Deb Willis featured in the New York Times.

“Whether the lashed back of an enslaved person, the charred remains of a lynching victim or a terrified marcher fleeing a fire hose, shocking images of degradation seem to dominate the visual history of the African-American experience. Amid so much hardship, one might wonder what, if anything, to say about the nature of black beauty in photography. Deborah Willis, head of New York University’s photography and imaging department, spent a decade exploring the question. In POSING BEAUTY: African American Images From the 1890s to the Present (Norton, $49.95), Willis makes a monumental contribution to contemporary American culture by presenting a definitive history of black beauty.”

© Carnegie Museum of Art; from “Posing Beauty” A portrait of a woman modeling a double V hairstyle, by Charles (Teenie) Harris, circa 1940s.

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