Monday, February 14, 2011

My Black History Month Journey of Celebrating Women in the Arts: Deborah Willis

  • Deborah Willis, PhD, MacArthur Fellow, photographer, scholar, historian and griot, is widely acknowledged as the doyen of Black Photography.
  • She is the award-winning author of "Reflections in Black," a prodigious book published in 2000, which documents the photographed lives of African-Americans by African-Americans, 1840 to the present. Willis is the chair of the photography and imaging department at the Tisch School of the Arts, and in the lead-up to the eventful 2008 presidential election, she penned the best-selling book, "Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs."
  • Favorite Quote - And never would I ever dream that someone was actually watching my work and compiling information until I received the call about the MacArthur Genius Award in 2002. I didn’t even know that anyone was thinking that I had created a new field that was overlooked in the larger field of photography. That’s something that changed my life in terms of thinking about this work…what a way to say: “good job, girl.” That’s why I never think about the future, I just live for the day.

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