Curator and Producer Deborah Willis, chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, joined us for a Q&A after our Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People screening on August 28th, during our NYC Film Forum theatrical run. Deborah invited noted Photographer and Author Arthe Anthony to share in the conversation.
Arthe, a participant in the film, discussed her Great Aunt Florestine Perrault Collins, who was one of the 101 documented black women photographers back in 1920. Director Thomas Allen Harris and producer Ann Bennett also appeared on stage to converse with the audience.
Thomas Allen Harris and Producer/Writer Don Perry surprised Deborah Willis when they presented her with a New York City Proclamation from Mayor Bill De Blasio and a Commendation Letter from New York City Councilmember Corey Johnson for Deborah’s contribution to African-American photography and American culture.
Following the panel discussion, Deborah Willis held a book signing in the lobby. Many audience members purchased the book, Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present and waited to personally meet Deborah and have their new prized possession signed.
Reflections in Black, which is written by Deborah Willis and inspired Thomas Allen Harris to make the film, was sold at Film Forum during the entire theatrical run. Film Forum re-ordered the book twice as it continued to sell out.
Photographer, Historian, Author Deborah Willis, Ph.D, is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and has an affiliated appointment with the College of Arts and Sciences, Africana Studies. She was a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow and Fletcher Fellow, and a 2000 MacArthur Fellow, as well as the 1996 recipient of the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation award. She has pursued a dual professional career as an art photographer and as one of the nation’s leading historians of African American photography and curator of African American culture. Professor Willis has just received the honored educator award at the Society for Photographic Education.