AN ANALYSIS OF JAMES VAN DER ZEE’S PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAYAL OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN BODY

An analysis of James Van Der Zee’s photographic portrayal of the African American body
Focus on how James Van Der Zee portrayed African Americans in his photographs and how true that was to their reality? Are his photos oppressive or idealistic? Compare his work with other black photographers of the time (especially Richard Wright). Compare with how white photographers were shooting African American bodies. Compare with how African American bodies were depicted in popular photojournals like Life Magazine. But also use arguments from classic essays including Sekula and Solomon-Godeau about if the body is controlled by the documentary camera.

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