With images ranging from street photography in Harlem to a commemoration of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, this volume offers a forty-year career retrospective of the award-winning photographer Dawoud Bey.
Recipient of a 2017 MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” Dawoud Bey has created a body of photography that masterfully portrays the contemporary American experience on its own terms and in all of its diversity.
Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply offers a forty-year retrospective of the celebrated photographer’s work, from his early street photography in Harlem to his current images of Harlem gentrification. Photographs from all of Bey’s major projects are presented in chronological sequence, allowing viewers to see how the collective body of portraits and recent landscapes create an unparalleled historical representation of various communities in the United States. Leading curators and critics—Sarah Lewis, Deborah Willis, David Travis, Hilton Als, Jacqueline Terrassa, Rebecca Walker, Maurice Berger, and Leigh Raiford—introduce each series of images.
Revealing Bey as the natural heir of such renowned photographers as Roy DeCarava, Walker Evans, Gordon Parks, and James Van Der Zee, Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply demonstrates how one man’s search for community can produce a stunning portrait of our common humanity.
- Introduction. The Art of Negotiation by Sarah Lewis
- Harlem, U.S.A. Framing Harlem by Deborah Willis
- Small Camera Work. The Daily Miracle by David Travis
- Black-and-White Type 55 Polaroid Street Portraits. Young Man at a Tent Revival by Hilton Als
- 20 × 24 Polaroid Works. From the Streets into the Studio by Dawoud Bey
- Class Pictures. What Is the “Work”? by Jacqueline Terrassa
- Character Project
- Strangers/Community. For Now. by Rebecca Walker
- The Birmingham Project. A Remembrance of Lives Lost by Maurice Berger
- Harlem Redux. Harlem Redux by Leigh Raiford
"An illustration of an incomporable photographer: one that places empathy, respect, and determination at the centre of their work."
"Photographs from all of Bey’s major projects are presented in chronological sequence, allowing viewers to see how the collective body of portraits and recent landscapes create an unparalleled historical representation of various communities in the United States."
"Until [Bey] gets his inevitable museum retrospective, Seeing Deeply will do nicely. His Harlem series, his portraits of high school students, his Birmingham Project exploring a 1963 church bombing that killed four girls — all here, in big, simple presentations offset by essays (from writers including Hilton Als). It’s a joy."
“Viewers experience how the collective body of portraits and newer landscapes create an unprecedented historical portrayal of different communities in the United States.”
World of Print
“This is a magnificent achievement. Dawoud Bey is a modern master.”
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University
“Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply is a timeless masterpiece for the ages. With its sincerity, concern, and attention to communities and lives lost, displaced, or erased, it is a documentary record for US history. I’ve never seen a book of this depth and magnitude about the intentions and thoughts of an artist’s own life and work.”
LaToya Ruby Frazier
“This book is a gold mine . . . a gift of a well-measured life. Throughout these pages, Bey graciously allows us to walk through his mind as he tussles with one of the great questions in photography: how best to describe a people at a particular historical moment? As both participant and observer, he delivers the answers!”
Carrie Mae Weems
“In Bey’s penetrating pictures, he seeks and struggles to discover the life force that unites us all in the impossible search for a common humanity. His precise, tenderly seen subjects are subjects we have always known, but have not; should have known, but did not; but now, must know. In their quietude, grace, and virtue they have an urgency for our time, positing an ethics of seeing and being.”
Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art