Mia Locks: I think one of the interesting things about Deana Lawson’s photographs is that upon first glance they don’t really look like they’re staged, they seem almost like snapshots, but in fact they’re really highly constructed.

Narrator: Mia Locks.

Mia Locks: They’re often inspired either by a memory of hers or something in her imagination, and she’ll actually draw sketches, and then she’ll actually find a person either that she knows or sometimes a stranger that she just sort of sees in the supermarket and she’ll actually cast someone.

I think one of the interesting things that Deana has said about this body of work is that it draws inspiration from this idea of an expanded family album, when she’s often working with strangers.

Christopher Lew: One of the things that’s always drawn me to Deana’s work is the sense of respect and dignity that she gives to the people that she photographs.

Narrator: Christopher Lew.

Christopher Lew: One of the really primary motivations for her is to present black people with the kind of sense of dignity and respect and love that she feels is lacking in say mainstream images or what you find in the news.


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