Thomas Allen Harris’ documentary Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People will be playing at New York’s Film Forum through September 9. “The film is a cornucopia of Americana that reveals deeply disturbing truths about the history of race relations while expressing joyous, life-affirming sentiments about the ability of [African-American] artists and amateurs alike to assert their identity through the photographic lens,” Film Forum writes. “What the film strives to say is, when everything around me is telling me I am not worth anything, I can present myself and have a likeness of myself and my talents that shows I have values,” Harris told the New York Times. Inspired by the film’s New York City premiere, we’ve highlighted the works of ten essential African-American photographers who have documented the African-American experience in profound and inspiring ways.
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