Race, photography and history
Presidential Library welcomes one of nation's top photography
scholars on April 3
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[March 27, 2014]
SPRINGFIELD — One of the
nation's leading experts on photography, race and history visits the
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on April 3 to
discuss how photography helped African-Americans establish a new
place in society after the Civil War.
Shawn Michelle Smith studies the power of photography to influence
society and shape people's perceptions. In her many books, Smith has
examined the once-common practice of photographing lynchings, the
way early African-American leaders used photos to claim new social
and political identities, and the link between photos and abuse of
power by authorities.
Her free appearance begins at 6 p.m., when Smith signs copies of
her books. Then, at 6:30 in the presidential museum's Union Theater,
she discusses "Pictures and Progress: Frederick Douglass and the
Revolutionary Power of Photography."
To reserve a seat for Smith's appearance, visit
http://bit.ly/ShawnMichelleSmith or call 217-558-8934.
Smith is appearing in conjunction with the Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Library and Museum's presentation of "Pilgrimage," an
exhibition of photographs by Annie Leibovitz. More about this
display of a unique artist's vision is available at
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"A photograph reveals things about the photographer as well as
the subject. That's part of what makes 'Pilgrimage' so fascinating.
Shawn Michelle Smith looks at photographs from African-American
history and asks what they reveal about the people and society
behind the camera," said Eileen Mackevich, executive director of the
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
An artist in her own right, Smith is an associate professor
at Chicago's School of the Art Institute.
Smith's most recent book, "At the Edge of Sight," has been called
"beautifully written and deeply original." Her "Lynching
Photographs" won praise for "admirable courage." And Smith herself
has been deemed "our foremost scholar" on early American
Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
file received from the
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]