Deborah Willis

Politics of the Black Body

November 17, 2013

Named among the 100 Most Important People in Photography by American Photography Magazine, Dr. Deborah Willis is chair and professor of photography and imaging at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, where she also has an affiliated appointment as university professor with the College of Arts and Sciences, Africana studies. A 2005 Guggenheim and Fletcher Fellow, a 2000 MacArthur Fellow and 1996 Recipient of the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation Award, she is one of the nation’s leading historians of African American photography and curator of African American culture.

Her newest book, Out [o] Fashion Photography: Embracing Beauty was released by the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington Press, and a co-authored project, Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery, was released by Temple University Press. Among her other notable projects are Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers – 1840 to the Present, A Small Nation of People: W.E.B. DuBois and African American Portraits of Progress, The Black Female Body in Photography, Let Your Motto be Resistance and Obama: the Historic Campaign in Photographs. Dr. Willis has also curated the traveling exhibition Posing Beauty in African American Culture, which was based on her book Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890’s to the Present. Her work Michelle Obama, The First Lady in Photographs received the 2010 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work Biography/Autobiography. She lives in New York.


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