by Tanisha C. Ford (Text By) , Deborah Willis (Text By)
Format: Hardback 144 pages
Published: 2 May 2019
In the 1960s, Kwame Brathwaite’s fashion photographs sent a riveting message about Black culture and freedom.
By Tanisha C. Ford
Everyone knows the phrase “Black is beautiful,” but very few have heard of the man who helped to popularise it. Brooklyn-born black photographer Kwame Brathwaite has lived most of his life behind the camera, devoted to capturing the lives of others on film. Spending much of the 1960s in his tiny darkroom in Harlem, he perfected a processing technique that made black skin pop in a photograph, with a life and energy as complex as that decade. Known by friends and comrades as the “Keeper of the Images,” Brathwaite has logged thousands of hours in the darkroom, dipping his fingers into harsh developing chemicals so often over the decades that the grooves of his fingertips have become worn. His labor reflects his deep commitment to black freedom and radical cultural production. With every dip, measurement of solution, and timing of exposure, Brathwaite styles blackness. His images, carefully calibrated to reflect a moment precisely, made black beautiful for those who lived in the 1960s, and continue to do so for a generation today who might only now be discovering his work.
Read more at - https://aperture.org/from-the-archive/kwame-brathwaite-black-is-beautiful/