When one speaks about photography, one also speaks about identity and representation; the power that pictures have over the social sphere; and the ways that race, gender, and class influence how and what people see in the world. These truths apply to the person who stands behind the camera as much as they do to who stands in front of the lens. Since the inception of photography, African Americans have worked in the medium in order to wrest control of their images from those who have used the art form to objectify them. This is particularly true in the case of Black women, whose sociopolitical position has been and remains in jeopardy due to their bodies being an intersection of beliefs about race, gender, class, and sexuality. As the most hypervisible of under-recognized people, Black women are most often discussed in terms of their physical attributes (such as the size of their buttocks, the texture of their hair, and the depth of their skin tones) and their sexuality and temperament. To put it simply, ‘the Black woman’s body is always public, always exposed’, while Black female subjectivities–their experiences, beliefs, and perspectives–are always out of sight and out of order.
Welcome to Womanist Expressions, brainchild of Caitlin Gunn and Kidiocus Carroll.