This week 50 SHADES OF BLACK will feature a series of 10 historic but not widely seen photographs.  Each image illuminates a distinct aspect of the project and invites you in for further investigation and discussion. I love historic photos.  It is something about them that invites me on a journey.  I particularly love images where the subjects are unidentified.

There is so much that we think we know about famous people.  The hundreds of historic photos of them weave together a good framework of a narrative that we then try to fill.

But it is the not knowing the moves me.  It is the photographs of regular folks that offer me the greatest mix of emotion and draw me more deeply into myself.  It causes me deep sadness to know that something has been lost -that people who had real lives and real feelings and names and history have been reduced to a line or a generic title.  It offers me great hope, though, that the image was ever captured and that something new can be discovered.  I feel freedom in trying to connect my story to that of the story being told through the images.  Not being limited by the lines and lines of text and assumptions by historians about historical figures allows me to develop my own stories and invites me to dig deeper into that of the subject.

I invite you to do that with these images.

What do these images say to you about the people featured?  What do they say to you about yourself?

Image 1 of 10:  Two Seminole Women Standing in a Canoe

Two Seminole women standing in a canoe

Two Seminole women standing in a canoe

How might skin tone have shaped their understanding of the world?  How has it shaped your own?  Would they consider themselves black?  Do you?





I invite you to share your stories and join a much larger conversation here or on our facebook page

-Carlton Mackey

Posted on December 3, 2012 and filed under blog.