Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present
Each photograph opens a window into an entire world of African American life. Edward Curtis and Thomas Askew capture African American society women at the turn of the century, while Russell Lee’s photographs of the early 1940s show a prosperous Chicagoan in his smoking jacket and a crowd of young boys on Easter. Willis has also discovered other images, some of them taken by lesser-known but equally gifted photographers, which document the world of the barbershop, the beauty salon, and the beauty pageant. More recently, there are Anthony Barboza’s series of photos from the streets of Harlem in the early 1970s and Carl De Keyzer’s images of natty preachers and families in their Sunday best, which echo Henri Cartier-Bresson’s earlier photos of Harlem residents dressed for Easter Sunday parades.