|2013||Thomas Allen Harris|
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“This will be the first film to vividly bring to life the individual photographers and photographer collectives–both anonymous and celebrated–whose images and personalities helped define and transform the lives of African Americans through the magic and power of the camera lens.”
Project Overview, Through a Lens Darkly
Like any documentary endeavor, photography can prove both a progressive and regressive practice, generating imagery that is at times radical, aspirational, conservative, or oppressive. Through a Lens Darkly grapples with the multiform influences of photography on the development of African American identities, and in particular, it explores how African American photographers, since the medium’s beginnings in the 1840s, have worked to create images to create social change. It is the first documentary project to focus on the little-known world of African American photographers in that early period.
The project is both a feature-length documentary film and a broad “transmedia” experience meant to engage the broadest possible audience. Accompanying the film’s distribution in theaters, on public television, and in community centers, the project’s goal is to apply interactive, multimedia, and mobile experiences that ask additional questions and explore an ever widening trove of content.