Photography: Dawoud Bey

Dawoud Bey, American street photographer has recorded a fascinating brief 6 minute interview with Pbs.  Fascinating because he is a great communicator, deep thinker (awarded a MacArthur “genius award” Fellowship, speaking in his sixties on a lifetime career photographing changes in America.

He speaks on photography as a “transformative event” –

“art has the capacity to have a transformative experience for each person who stands in front of it and then hopefully when they leave the work, they go back out into the world with something that they didn’t have before they encountered the work”

As well as bringing change in the viewer, photography has changed his life – dealing with profound hearing loss, he decided to bring attention to his viewing, discovering his own voice in the process:

“I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that I’ve made my life and my career through my eyes”

Dawoud’s exhibition (discussed in the interview), “Night coming tenderly, black” runs til 14 April 2019 at the Art Institute of Chicago.  The exhibition’s title is from poet Langston Hughes.  It puts the viewer in the place of a fleeing black slave at the time of the “underground railroad” – which Dawoud points out has resonance for twenty-first century fleeing refugees.

 

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