Through A Lens Darkly

Through A Lens Darkly

Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People explores the history of Black photography and representation, and how contemporary artists use this material as inspiration in their storytelling.

The film begins with the filmmaker’s consideration of conflicting legacies regarding his humanity and self-worth as an African American. He assembles a community of photographers and artists – including Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Anthony Barboza, Hank Willis Thomas, Lyle Ashton Harris and Glenn Ligon – who together shake up the familiar foundations of the images that have shaped the popular culture’s view of what “Blackness” is and who “Black People” are.

Interweaved throughout the film, the work of pioneering Black men and women photographers, whose images have helped reclaim the collective self-worth and humanity, will be highlighted, uncovering a rich history of African American contributions to the development of photography, both as an art form as well as a force to be reckoned with.

Inspired by photo-historian (and Co-Producer) Deborah Willis’ groundbreaking publication Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present, Through A Lens Darkly is the first documentary to explore the identity aspirations and social emergence of African Americans from slavery to the present.