Deborah Willis, Ph.D., is Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and has an affiliated appointment as a University Professor with the College of Arts and Sciences, Africana Studies. Named one of the “100 Most Important People in Photography” by American Photo Magazine, she is a practicing photographer as well as one of the nation’s leading historians and curators of African American art.
Dr. Willis has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Fletcher, and MacArthur fellowships, as well as the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation Award. Her newest book, Out [o] Fashion Photography: Embracing Beauty was released by the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington Press, and a co-authored project, Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery, was released by Temple University Press. Other publications include, Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers, 1840 to the Present, Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present, Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs, and Black Venus 2010: They Called Her “Hottentot,” and The Black Female Body A Photographic History with Carla Williams. Her curated exhibitions include: “Out [o] Fashion Photography: Embracing Beauty” at the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, “Posing Beauty” which is still touring, “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits” at the International Center of Photography, “Engulfed by Katrina: Photographs before and After the Storm” at Nathan Cummings Foundation, and “Imagining Families—Images and Voices and Reflections in Black.”
Deb Willis Photography