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The Black Photographers Annual

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Featured Story

The Black Photographers Annual

From 1973 to 1980, a group of African American artists...
Current Story
Donor Story

Lillian Thomas Pratt

Donor Story

Lillian Thomas Pratt

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Alphonse Mucha: Paris 1900

Artist Story

Alphonse Mucha: Paris 1900

Czechoslovakian artist Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) was a featured artist at...

The Black Photographers Annual

Featured Story

From 1973 to 1980, a group of African American artists in New York City published The Black Photographers Annual. The idea emerged from the collective of African American photographers known as the Kamoinge Workshop (Kamoinge, from the Kikuyu language of Kenya, means “to work together”). The forty-nine artists featured in the book, however, far exceeded the boundaries of the collective.

Related Stories & Collections

The Black Photographers Annual:

Volume 1, 1973

In her preface for the Annual novelist Toni Morrison wrote, “It was conceived as a commitment to the community of Black artists…,” while writer and activist Clayton Riley described the Annual as a defining moment in black culture.

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The Black Photographers Annual:

Volume 2, 1974

In the second volume, the Black Photographers Annual, editor and publisher Joe Crawford included an interview with P. H. Polk (1898–1984), the official photographer at Tuskegee University for nearly 50 years. “A number of students at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama told The Black Photographers Annual that looking at the works of P. H. Polk was like a study in Black history.” – Chester Higgins.

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The Black Photographers Annual:

Volume 3, 1976

Volume 3 features a Foreword by Gordon Parks, Introduction by James Baldwin, and interviews with 1975 Pulitzer Prize winning photographers Ovie Carter and Matthew Lewis. Not to mention, “… more than 90 photographs by 40 Black photographers across the U.S.”

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The Black Photographers Annual:

Volume 4, 1980

The final of the annuals to be published in the series, volume four carries the tradition of presenting the work and experience of black photographers. Copies of the final volume are incredibly scarce due in part to a fire that destroyed many of the copies.

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Related Videos

Photographer Louis Draper
4:44

Chiefly known as as a New York photographer, Louis Draper was first a Richmonder. His sister, Nell Draper Winston, talks about her brother’s ability to capture the character of everyday people.

LeRoy Henderson @ VMFA
1:04:08

LeRoy Henderson discusses his life and work documenting American protest culture with Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. This program was a part of the educational programming related to the exhibition A Commitment to the Community: The Black Photographers Annual, Volume I, on view February 16, 2017-October 3, 2017 and Black History Month 2017.

Celebration of Photography with Beuford Smith and Shawn Walker
1:30:17

Watch Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, VMFA’s Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, in conversation with photographers Beuford Smith and Shawn Walker, whose works are featured in the current exhibition, A Commitment to the Community: The Black Photographers Annual, Volume I. Smith, the founder and chief photography editor of The Black Photographers Annual, worked closely with Walker who served as a picture editor for this key publication that ran from 1973 through 1980. Together they discuss the Annual, their participation in the New York photography collective, The Kamoinge Workshop, and the role of jazz as a metaphor and subject in photography.