FILM FRIDAY | Through A Lens Darkly

Join us for our FREE public program Film Friday at BSC. For this program, films are presented in dialogue with current exhibitions. Come early, tour the exhibitions, and see what connections you can make. Complimentary Ricos Popcorn and water provided.

About the Film

The first documentary to explore the role of photography in shaping the identity, aspirations, and social emergence of African Americans from slavery to the present, Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People probes the recesses of American history through images that have been suppressed, forgotten, and lost.

Bringing to light the hidden and unknown photos shot by both professional and vernacular African American photographers, the film opens a window into the lives of black families, whose experiences and perspectives are often missing from the traditional historical canon. African Americans historically embraced the medium as a way to subvert popular stereotypes as far back as the Civil War era, with Frederick Douglass photographed in a suit and black soldiers posing proudly in their uniforms. These images show a much more complex and nuanced view of American culture and its founding ideals.

Inspired by the book Reflections in Black by photo historian Deborah Willis, the film features the works of esteemed photographic artists Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Anthony Barboza, Hank Willis Thomas, Coco Fusco, Clarissa Sligh, James Van Der Zee, Gordon Parks, and many others.

About the Filmmaker

Thomas Allen Harris is the founder and president of Chimpanzee Productions, a company dedicated to producing unique audiovisual experiences that illuminate the human condition and the search for identity, family, and spirituality. Chimpanzee’s innovative and award-winning performance-based documentary films — VINTAGE – Families of Value, E Minha Cara/That’s My Face, and Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela — have received critical acclaim at international film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, FESPACO, Outfest, Flaherty, and Cape Town, and have been broadcast on PBS, the Sundance Channel, ARTE, as well as CBC, Swedish Broadcasting Network, and New Zealand Television. His videos and installations have been featured at prestigious museums and galleries including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Biennial, the Corcoran Gallery, Reina Sophia, and the London Institute of the Arts. Harris has received numerous fellowships and awards including a United States Artist Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Rockefeller Fellowship, as well as CPB/PBS and Sundance Directors Fellowships. A graduate of Harvard College, Harris lectures widely on the use of media as a tool for social change.