“Say It With Pictures” Then and Now: Chicago’s African American Photographers

600 S. Michigan Ave., 600 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

“Say It With Pictures” Then and Now: Chicago’s African American Photographers

The Museum of Contemporary Photography will host art historian Amy Mooney in conversation with the esteemed photography scholar Deborah Willis in an unprecedented reveal of the forgotten work of African American photographers working in Chicago from the 1890s through the 1930s.

As a viable commercial enterprise that was supported through the growing black press, Chicago’s historic contributions have long been overlooked. Considering the work of over 65 studios that were owned and operated by African Americans, Mooney and Willis will discuss the ways that photographs made during that period transformed the visual representation of black America, both within the public realm of popular culture and the private space of the family album. From the glamour shots by Woodard’s Studio to Patton Studio’s documentation of the opening of the George Cleveland Hall Branch of the Chicago Public Library, these images circulated in national publications, significantly contributing to an affirming and celebratory representation of black lives. 

The conversation will be followed by a reception at the MoCP and an opportunity to view current exhibitions including The Many Hats of Ralph Arnold: Art, Identity and Politics and Echoes: Reframing Collage.

 

Image: Woodard’s Studio, Chorus Line, c. 1920. Black and white print. 35 x 28cm (13 25/32 x 11 1/32”). Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Upcoming Events

Photos at Noon: Collage

Photos at Noon: Collage

Photos at Noon: Collage

Museum of Contemporary Photography

Join us for a print viewing of works from the museum’s collection made with the collage technique employed by the artists in the current exhibitions. ...

Read more

Lecture in Photography: Paul Mpagi Sepuya

Lecture in Photography: Paul Mpagi Sepuya

Lecture in Photography: Paul Mpagi Sepuya

Stage Two

Artist Paul Mpagi Sepuya discusses his work in Echoes: Reframing Collage, as well as his broader artistic practice. Sepuya’s work explores the intimacy created during ...

Read more

Video Playlist

Video Playlist

Video Playlist

MoCP

Video Playlist is a recurring series of one-night public video screenings programmed in response to MoCP exhibitions. This edition of Video Playlist, in conjunction with ...

Read more

MoCP After Dark

MoCP After Dark

MoCP After Dark

Join us for an after-hours party at MoCP After Dark. Against the backdrop of The Many Hats of Ralph Arnold and Echoes: Reframing Collage, dance ...

Read more

Lecture in Photography: Barbara Kasten

Lecture in Photography: Barbara Kasten

Lecture in Photography: Barbara Kasten

Ferguson Hall

Barbara Kasten is known for photographs that transform architecture into formal abstract compositions using lighting, color gels, and mirrors. Originally from Chicago, Kasten is the ...

Read more

Holiday Photo Book Bazaar

Holiday Photo Book Bazaar

Holiday Photo Book Bazaar

Join us for a special celebration of photography books. Local photographers of note including Barbara Diener, Jess T. Dugan, Dave Jordano, Laura Letinsky, Cecil McDonald, ...

Read more

Lecture in Photography: Shimon Attie

Lecture in Photography: Shimon Attie

Lecture in Photography: Shimon Attie

Ferguson Hall

Artist Shimon Attie will present and discuss a selection of his projects across space and time. The presentation will touch briefly on early works, such ...

Read more
Past Events

Lecture in Photography: Lucas Foglia

Lecture in Photography: Lucas Foglia

Lecture in Photography: Lucas Foglia

618 S. Michigan Ave.

Exhibiting artist Lucas Foglia will discuss his project Human Nature as well as his broader artistic practice. Foglia’s work is in the permanent collections of ...

Read more

Honors Program Student Meet and Greet

Honors Program Student Meet and Greet

Honors Program Student Meet and Greet

MoCP

Please join us for a night at the museum to mingle with fellow honors program students over art, music, and hors d'oeuvres. Museum staff will ...

Read more

Celebrating South Side Stories

Celebrating South Side Stories

Celebrating South Side Stories

Hyde Park Arts Center

Join this celebration of the historic and ongoing role that art and design played in growing communities and strengthening neighborhoods on Chicago’s South Side. Participants ...

Read more

Florence Williams: The Nature Fix

Florence Williams: The Nature Fix

Florence Williams: The Nature Fix

MoCP

Florence Williams is a journalist, podcaster, and bestselling author of The Nature Fix: Why nature makes us happier, healthier, and more creative, as well as ...

Read more

Photos at Noon: Constructed and Staged Images

Photos at Noon: Constructed and Staged Images

Photos at Noon: Constructed and Staged Images

MoCP Print Study Room

Get to know the museum's collection this summer with a series of public print viewings. MoCP's curator of academic programs and collections will lead a ...

Read more