Picturing Us

African American Identity in Photography
Edited by:

Winner of the International Center of Photography’s Award for Writing on Photography; writers, filmmakers, poets, and cultural critics use photographs to analyze the modern African American experience

“A startling, revealing look at photographic representation and its effect on African American identity and consciousness.” —Kirkus

Winner of the International Center for Photography’s 1995 Award for Writing on Photography, Picturing Us brings together a diverse group of African American writers, scholars, and filmmakers in the first concerted effort to analyze and respond to the photographic images of blacks through history. The book’s contributors—including bell hooks, E. Ethelbert Miller, Angela Davis, and others—examine the personal and public issues embedded in family portraits and news photographs, movie stills and mug shots.


“A rare book [that] encourages us to look deeply into images of ourselves and carefully select what we accept as truth.”
Quarterly Black Review
“The importance of this collection of photographs and accompanying essays. . . cannot be overemphasized.”
Belles Lettres
“Eighteen stimulating essays. . . . A worthy dialogue on an under-analyzed aspect of black history.”
Publishers Weekly
“The photographs alone. . . merit a trip to the bookstore. . . . One feels prodded to contemplate the interconnectedness of African American identity and visual images in unconventional, enlightening ways.”

Goodreads Reviews