"Say It with Pictures" Then and Now: Chicago's African American Photographers 1890-1930

Academic Programs

  • Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago

October 2018

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. 

The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago presents a multi-tiered project of public and scholarly programs examining the under-recognized impact of African American commercial photographers working in Chicago from 1890 through the 1930s. The research project begins with a public conversation with artist and photography historian Deborah Willis and also includes a scholarly workshop and two crowd-sourcing sessions at which the public is invited to share personal photographs and other source material pertinent to the history of Black photography studios in the city. The project will contribute to the development of an interactive digital exhibition and publication enhancing the history of photography. The project is led by Amy Mooney, Associate Professor of Art History at Columbia College Chicago.

Learn more about the project here