In the wake of the media coverage of the Ferguson verdict to not indict Mike Browns Killer , Officer Darren Wilson I found a film doc to be appropriate maybe at one of the core issues . “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People,” a film that examines how photography shaped the identity and perceptions of blacks in America by Director Thomas Allen Harris . Flipping through the nation’s family album, and the images or lack there of positive and factual images of African-Americans seemed to be missing.
Without any doubt I agree with Harris as he stated he believe photos help shape popular culture and perceptions of time, events and people. Perhaps the constant negative image of the black people especially men being painted constantly on tv and media has contributed to what seems to lead to non-black races to dehumanize us. The image of the black men and women of this country is often depicted as one dimensional but that is in no way accurate. We are layered and colorful in our lives just like any other race and possibly even more.
“If we’re not looking at African-American photographers, then we’re also not looking and seeing the evolution of African-American families and how they’ve evolved over the course of the last 170 years,” Harris said. “Photography started 20 years before slavery ended, so you have this huge free community that was photographing itself or getting itself photographed. But also photography was used at that time by both abolitionists to combat this institution of slavery and by the planters to affirm a certain stereotype of the African-Americans that would legitimize their servitude.”
The film was also apart of a series within the st.louis film festival this past weekend , “Race in America: The Black Experience.” “Through the Lens Darkly” also has created a spin-off project, “Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow.” Harris said he created the project after he was approached several times by people who said they wanted to do something creative with their family photos.’
People are invited to share family photos via social media using the hashtag #1World1Family and #DDFRtv.
For information on where and how you can view a screening of this rare gem and poignant film Click Here