Photography helps us to see the world as it really is. Capturing images on film or digital cameras is an opportunity to record unique moments in history. Culture, politics, society and human nature are viewed through the lens. This is highlighted by a new display in the Learning Zone of the Kimberlin Library. Curated by Ann Collick in the Library’s Displays Team, the Photography display is the latest in a series which celebrates diversity in the arts. Previous themes include Bollywood, Harlem Renaissance, BAME fashion designers and BAME figures in history. All the books on display can be browsed and borrowed, so why not come and have a look at this inspiring collection?
One of the featured photographers is Carrie Mae Weems, whose work focuses on portraits and the family lives of African Americans. Passionate and political, Weems had a baby when she was sixteen – the year after the assassination of Martin Luther King – and shortly afterwards packed a cardboard suitcase to find work in New York. She received a camera as a birthday present at the age of twenty, started taking pictures straight away, went to college to study photography and design, and has never looked back. She’s won many awards for her work. Her projects include ‘Family Pictures and Stories’ (1981-2), ‘Dreaming in Cuba’ (2001), ‘African Jewels’ (2009) and ‘The Obama Project’ (2012).
Other contemporary photographers include Jamel Shabazz, from Brooklyn in New York, who documents African American lives, and Zanele Muholi, a South African artist who focuses on black LGBTQIA+ and gender-non-conforming people. Artists from the past are represented too, such as J A Green, believed to be Nigeria’s first professional photographer, and Howard Bingham who captured iconic shots of Muhammad Ali.
These inspirational photographers have fought adversity and pushed boundaries to achieve their dreams.
They prove that you can be yourself.