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Book shelf: picture perfect: the black female body. - The Black Female Body: A Photographic History - book review
Ebony, April, 2002

Since the development of the camera, photographic images of Black women have been a staple of the art-form. As early as the 1850s, exploitative photographs of Black women--usually unclothed--were used to bolster scientific and cultural myths.

With time, and the emergence of Black photographers, images of Black women took new form, becoming celebrations of the Black beauty and expressions of Black self-definition. In The Black Female Body: A Photographic History (Temple University Press, $60), writer and photographer Carla Williams and Deborah Willis, professor of photography and imaging at New York's Tisch School of the Arts, discuss and display the evolution of photographs depicting Black women. The lavish 240-page coffee-table volume contains more than 200 images, from the earliest-known portraits of Black women made in Africa to works by great Black photographers such as Gordon Parks, Chester Higgins Jr. and James VanDerZee.

The book offers a visual history of photography while simultaneously chronicling the long struggle for civil rights and the socio-political impact of artistic expression.

KING CAME PREACHING: THE PULPIT POWER OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. (Intervarsity Press, $19.99) is a homiletical biography that dissects the sermons of Dr. King, from his use of language to his delivery, by Dr. Mervyn A. Warren with a foreward by Dr. Gardner C. Taylor.

IN THE BLACK: A HISTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICANS ON WALL STREET (John Wiley & Sons, $24.95) profiles the pioneers who broke down barriers and opened doors in the world of high finance, by Gregory S. Bell, the son of Travers Bell, whose firm, Daniels & Bell, was the first Black-owned member firm of the New York Stock Exchange.

IN THE SPIRIT OF MARTIN: THE LIVING LEGACY OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. (Tinwood Books, $39.95) is a coffee-table volume of poems, essays, photographs and other works of art that pay tribute to the life and legacy of the civil rights giant. Included are works by Alice Walker, Nikki Giovanni, Julius Lester, Faith Ringgold, Jacob Lawrence and Moneta Sleet Jr.

ART FROM AFRICA: LONG STEPS NEVER BROKE A BACK (Princeton University Press, $49.95) offers interviews, oral narratives and personal memories into 12 case histories that help to illuminate the movement, customs and "voices" behind the masks and pieces of sculpture that make up so many exhibitions of African art, by Pamely McClusky and Robert Farris.

DOX THRASH: AN AFRICAN AMERICAN MASTER PRINTMAKER REDISCOVERED (University of Washington Press, $50) is a beautiful volume that includes more than 260 illustrations showcasing the work of Dox Thrash, a printmaker who, during the 1930s and '40s created powerful and innovative prints using techniques that he developed, by John Ittmann, Kymberly Pinder, Cindy Medley-Buckner and other contributors.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Johnson Publishing Co.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group

Bibliography for "Book shelf: picture perfect: the black female body. - The Black Female Body: A Photographic History - book review"
"Book shelf: picture perfect: the black female body. - The Black Female Body: A Photographic History - book review". Ebony. April 2002.

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