This Photographer's Exhibition Is Taking Back Control of Black Bodies

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When black stories are told, it is always a bonus when it is mostly black people themselves creating the narrative. The massive success of 'Black Panther', which has gone on to gross almost $1bn worldwide less than two weeks after premiering, shows how seriously people appreciate this.

It's not just 'Black Panther' that has revealed this thirst for home-spun stories. Published 60 years ago, the ground-breaking novel 'Things Fall Apart' by Nobel laureate and Nigerian author Chinua Achebe remains the most translated African book of all-time, and set the tone for modern African literature.

In his career spanning more than a quarter of a century, the Jamaican-Canadian photographer Michael Chambers has channelled this same spirit. In his retrospective 'Shadows to Silver', curated by Pamela Edmonds, Chambers exhibits over 25 year's worth of iconic photography placing black models centre stage, presented without the glare of the colonial gaze.

(c: Michael Chambers)


With portraits such as 1995's stunning and harrowing Bullseye, which shows a black man with a target on the back of his head, Chambers places black bodies and experiences at the heart of his work. For his efforts, Chambers was featured in the 2014 documentary 'Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People', which won an NAACP Image Award.

Speaking to CBC News, he said: "I wanted to make sure my models were about our history, our pains, our spirit for survival, and our beauty."
Michael Chambers: Shadows to Silver - A 25-year Retrospective runs from February 25th to March 18th 2018 at the BAND Gallery in Toronto, Canada. See more his work here and find out more about the exhibition on the gallery's website.

Will you be heading to the exhibition? Should more photographers focus on the black experience? Let us know what you think on Twitter and in the comments below. We'd love to hear your thoughts!

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