BlackLight is a performance ethnography project. We utilize the creativity and critical insight of a multigenerational group of women to reimagine the possibilities for living in under-resourced urban environments.
Here are a series of photographs taken by BlackLight participants during rehearsals for Posing Beauty — a book and exhibition curated by Deborah Willis — which was performed at the Newark Museum in May 2011. In preparation for their performance, BlackLight visited the exhibition “Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present,” a collection of historical and contemporary understandings of beauty and the African American body framed through the lens of pop culture, photography, and art.
In rehearsals leading up to the performance, BlackLight staged a several conversations and activities that considered how the idea of beauty is depicted in popular images of Black women, and how this influences the ways we think of ourselves and others as beautiful or not. BlackLight then took-up the job of posing their own beauty, taking the camera and photographing one another in poses that the photographer felt expressed beauty as well as in poses when the subject felt beautiful. Here are some of the resulting shots.