A crucial voice in contemporary photography, Lawson has been investigating and challenging conventional representations of black identities and bodies for over fifteen years.
Her photographs contain multitudes of references: the African diaspora, unexpressed dreams, dignity, pride, love, conspicuous scars, the tenderness of generations confronting each other.
Lawson collaborates with her subjects, who directly confront the camera, destabilizing the notion of photography as a passively voyeuristic medium. This way, the works explore conceptions that revolve around black life: love, sexuality, family, and spiritual beliefs.
Published on the occasion of the first retrospective exhibition on Deana Lawson at the ICA in Boston, this volume, in addition to photographs by the author, includes archives of vernacular images that have profoundly influenced her work and essays by Eva Respini and Peter Eleey (curators of the exhibition), Kimberly Juanita Brown (professor at Dartmouth College), Tina M. Campt (professor at Brown University), Alexander Nemerov (professor at Stanford University), Greg Tate (writer, musician, and producer), and a conversation between the artist and Deborah Willis (professor at New York University).