The Politics of Seeing, Being, and Visibility in Photography

Aperture Magazine‘s first issue dedicated to African American lives as represented by the medium of photography, “Vision & Justice,” was published last month. It doesn’t seem right to call this issue a magazine. It is a powerhouse book; it does so much heavy lifting. The artists involved include Dawoud Bey, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Sally Mann, Lyle Ashton Harris, Deborah Willis, Hank Willis Thomas, Deana Lawson, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Awol Erizku. Professor Steven Nelson wrote of Erizku in his introduction to the artist’s work, what can indeed be said of almost all the artists in this collection, that his strategy “lays bare the act of seeing as culturally contingent, and more to the point, racially informed.”

This book equips one not just to see, but to see more.

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