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Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present Hardcover – October 5, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Willis (Reflections in Black), a MacArthur fellow and chair of New York University's photography department, curates a collection of iconic portraits and snapshots by anonymous photographers in a history of beauty that merges gender, race, family, class. Willis's words, a distillation of her inquiries into beauty and race, are few—the images speak for themselves. The photographs, organized thematically, reach back to the 1890s and forward to the current first family. Famous photographers share perspective with family photographers and those known only as Unidentified Photographer. The recognizably famous—James Baldwin, Marian Anderson, Joe Louis—appear along with those known only as Mom and Friend, Two women holding magazine, ca. 1950s or Barber cutting man's hair outdoors, ca. 1930s. Willis's content is groundbreaking; rarely, for example, are men this adequately represented in a work devoted to beauty within black culture. For Willis, this extraordinary compilation is the culmination of my exploration of beauty within black culture and through the medium of photography. For readers, this is a dazzling eye-opener. (Nov.)
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Review

Drawing on 10 years of research and photos from archives, galleries, photographers, friends, and family, Willis reflects the broad spectrum of images of beauty over more than a century. She examines how beauty is defined, exploited, manipulated, and marketed.... An aesthetic look at black beauty by the author of Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers, 1840 to the Present. --Vanessa Bush"

The book is a treasure, a triumph and a singular achievement that invites fresh and enduring insights with each viewing. --Jennifer Baszile"
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First edition (October 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393066967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393066968
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.2 x 12.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Posing Beauty is an interesting perspective of African-American beauty from the photographer's point of view. It presented African-American beauty from different genders, genres and generations. Media today feeds the masses with a certain beauty that is not reflective of the African-American community. As a proud Black woman I appreciate the photos of the women in this book which showcases the beautiful complextions and features that exist within my race. Black IS beautiful!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
IT HAS SO MANY GEORGOUS SNAP SHOTS OF THE BLACK EXPERIENCE. IT REALLY EXCEEDS THE VAN DER ZEE BOOK WHICH IS QUITE GOOD.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The best deal in a long time. Great book, great price for a used book & excellent condition. I'm all around pleased

Many images from photographers I have not seen before. The book chronicled more contemporary photos than I expected. Great images from the 70's.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book, scholarly author, beautiful images and wonderful treatise documenting African American culture from around the turn of the century until now. I am proud to have this book in my collection.
G. Williams
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just started purchasing table top books. This is one of four in my very small collection. These picture books will give my family a glimpse into a part of history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very nice book. Great pictures, a piece of art. My wife enjoys it. It is a collectible. It shows the real beauty of African americans. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book with great full size photographic reproductions. Covers the idea of beauty in African American photographic history. Really great book!
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Format: Hardcover
A member of my book club gave me a gift card, and I wanted to purchase something memorable. This tabletop book was the perfect gift because it captures history in a pictorial. I could not believe the emotion and passion in some of the photos. They were simply artistically breathtaking!! History buffs and inspiring photographers will also find this book educational. This is a true untapped treasure. (Thanks Roz!!)..buy it today; you will not regret your investment
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