Seeing Black: Black Photography in New Orleans 1840 & Beyond
Includes First Frame, an immersive installation centering the photography of Florestine Perrault Collins
October 7, 2022 – June 4, 2023
SEEING BLACK is a multimedia, research-based project chronicling and celebrating the history, influence, performative aesthetic, and futurity of Black photography in New Orleans. From photography’s pre-Civil War beginnings to its 21st-century practices, SEEING BLACK engages the intellectual inquiry, cultural histories, political positioning, and innovative versatility of historical and contemporary Black photography.
Organized around a publication, a series of exhibitions spanning multiple sites, a digital platform, an index, and public programming, SEEING BLACK challenges traditional exhibition didactics, conventional object presentations, and historical assumptions of blackness and representation. The project robustly engages a broad body of work from more than eighty historical and contemporary photographers and the themes and vernacular embodied in their images.
First Frame, the preludial exhibition for SEEING BLACK: Black Photography in New Orleans 1840 & Beyond, is an immersive installation centering the photography of Florestine Perrault Collins, the first documented Black woman photographer in New Orleans, and work by early Black photographers documenting Black life, self-expression, political struggles, and social achievement through the camera.
Featuring a reimagined Florestine Perrault Collins Parlor Room, an early twentieth-century Black portrait studio, 1920s camera equipment, and photography artifacts, First Frame opens at the New Orleans African American Museum on October 6, 2022, at 7 pm, and will be on view from until June 4, 2023.