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Spotlight: Dawoud Bey
Some visual treats for the holiday weekend
What I love most about writing this newsletter is the feedback after I push the button and send a post out into the world. So many of you wrote me after reading Dawoud Bey’s reflections on Richard Avedon’s “In the American West” the other day, and it was fun to hear your stories about Avedon’s influence. Somebody emailed me to say that my post inspired her to explore The Amon Carter Museum’s photo archive and that she recognized the name of one of Avedon’s subjects — he turned out to be the brother of a good friend of hers. Small world! Honestly, these connections make my day and genuinely put a smile on my face. That’s one of the reasons I keep coming back to FlakPhoto day after day — the community conversations are incredible.
I was surprised to hear from quite a few folks unfamiliar with Dawoud Bey, the photographer who contributed those words about Avedon. I’ve never met Dawoud in person, but we’ve been penpals for a few years, and I can tell he’s a warm spirit and a passionate artist. I like to highlight the people who inspire me, so I wanted to share some links so you can dig deeper into Dawoud’s work over the holiday weekend.
One of my readers, Brian Storm, replied to the Avedon newsletter with a link to a film he and his MediaStorm team produced for the ICP Infinity Awards in 2019. It’s a beautiful film and does an excellent job surveying Dawoud’s work. I love hearing artists talk about what they do, and Dawoud is so eloquent about what inspires his photography. Carve out some time to watch this when you can. It’s great.
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What a picture! I have always loved this movie theater kid. Those specs rule, and I was glad to see it turn up in this Aperture Foundation interview from 2020. I appreciated hearing Chris Boot and Dawoud hold forth here. Both men are giants in photography, and it’s nice to hear them discuss this medium we all love so much.
Finally, the University of Texas Press released Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply, a forty-year retrospective of the photographer’s work, in 2018. As you can see in my picture, it’s a hefty book! (I’m straining to hold the thing with one hand.) The New York Times surveyed Dawoud’s photography in its Lens blog when it was released. If you’re into photobooks, get your hands on a copy. It’s worth it.
Okay, that’s it!
I couldn’t resist sending you a few things to look at while you’re on holiday this weekend. I hope each of you has a healthy and happy time away. Check these links out, but don’t forget to log off and spend some time outside. The weather will be gorgeous here in Madison, and I’ll be hanging out with friends in the garden. Thanks as always for looking. Take care!