Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply

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By Dawoud Bey

Recipient of a 2017 MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” Dawoud Bey has created a body of photography that masterfully portrays the contemporary American experience on its own terms and in all of its diversity.

Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply offers a forty-year retrospective of the celebrated photographer’s work, from his early street photography in Harlem to his current images of Harlem gentrification. Photographs from all of Bey’s major projects are presented in chronological sequence, allowing viewers to see how the collective body of portraits and recent landscapes create an unparalleled historical representation of various communities in the United States. Leading curators and critics—Sarah Lewis, Deborah Willis, David Travis, Hilton Als, Jacqueline Terrassa, Rebecca Walker, Maurice Berger, and Leigh Raiford—introduce each series of images.

Revealing Bey as the natural heir of such renowned photographers as Roy DeCarava, Walker Evans, Gordon Parks, and James Van Der Zee, Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply demonstrates how one man’s search for community can produce a stunning portrait of our common humanity.

Hardcover with jacket, 400 pages, 129 color and 136 b/w photos

Dimensions: 11.5 x 12.25 x 1.5 inches

About the Author:
Dawoud Bey’s work is held by major collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In addition to the MacArthur fellowship, Bey’s honors include the United States Artists Guthman Fellowship, 2015; the Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography, 2002; and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1991. He is Professor of Art and a former Distinguished College Artist at Columbia College Chicago.

“Until [Bey] gets his inevitable museum retrospective, Seeing Deeply will do nicely. His Harlem series, his portraits of high school students, his Birmingham Project exploring a 1963 church bombing that killed four girls — all here, in big, simple presentations offset by essays (from writers including Hilton Als). It’s a joy.”  Chicago Tribune

“The 1970s-era black-and-white street photographs from Harlem in Dawoud Bey...are remarkable for their lack of artifice. Some are candid, but in many the subject acknowledges the photographer and is yet at ease; this takes considerable skill. Unlike other portraits of blacks from the period that either valorize them or show them as pitiable, these give us credible persons we can acknowledge.”  Wall Street Journal

Seeing Deeply reveals [Bey's] decades-long exploration of community, memory, and photography...Ultimately, [Bey's] work is an ongoing exploration of photography's possibilities, informed by his research and cultural influences.”  New York Times

“This retrospective is…a magnificent testament to what can be shown about people's pride and hope, and in an exemplary yet subtle manner seems to posit the idea that all us individuals, no matter what our background and heritage may be, are interested in building a better future and would benefit from collaboration. This photobook is destined to become a classic!”  The PhotoBook Journal

“In Bey’s penetrating pictures, he seeks and struggles to discover the life force that unites us all in the impossible search for a common humanity. His precise, tenderly seen subjects are subjects we have always known, but have not; should have known, but did not; but now, must know. In their quietude, grace, and virtue they have an urgency for our time, positing an ethics of seeing and being.” —  Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art