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Deborah Willis, Ph.D., an educator, art historian, author, curator, photographer and filmmaker, will deliver the Annual Semans Lecture about her career and work. Willis is a professor and chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where she teaches courses on photography and imaging, iconicity and cultural histories visualizing the black body, women, and gender.

5:30 PM Cash Bar; 6 PM Highlights Tour; 6:30 PM Lecture Hall doors open (seating is limited); 7 PM Curator Talk

Willis’ research examines photography’s multifaceted histories, visual culture, the photographic history of slavery and emancipation, contemporary women photographers and beauty. She won a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, among many other awards.

Willis is the author of Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present and co-author of Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery, Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs, and editor of Picturing Us: African American Identity in Photography. Willis has curated many exhibitions, including Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits at the International Center of Photography and Reframing Beauty: Intimate Moments at Indiana University. An exhibition of her photographs, In Pursuit of Beauty, was curated by Kalia Brooks at Express Newark. She has
appeared and consulted on various media projects including the documentary film Through a Lens Darkly.

Willis wrote the foreword to the book Where We Find Ourselves: The Photographs of Hugh Mangum, 1897 – 1922, published in conjunction with the exhibition at the Nasher Museum in Spring 2019.

Event Details

Thursday, April 25, 2019
7–9 PM
Annual Semans Lecture, Deborah Willis, Where We Find Ourselves
The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
2001 Campus Drive
Durham, NC 27705 United States