Deana Lawson: An Aperture Monograph


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ISBN: 9781597114226 Category:


Winner of the 2020 Hugo Boss Prize

One of the most intriguing photographers of her generation, Deana Lawson’s subject is black expressive culture and her canvas is the African Diaspora. Over the last ten years, she has created a striking visual language to describe black identities, through figurative portraiture and social documentary accounts of ceremonies and rituals. Lawson works with large-format cameras and models she meets in the United States and on travels in the Caribbean and Africa to construct arresting, highly structured, and deliberately theatrical scenes animated by an exquisite range of color and attention to surprising details: bedding and furniture in domestic interiors or lush plants in Edenic gardens. The body-often nude-is central. Throughout her work, Lawson seeks to portray the personal and the powerful in black life. Deana Lawson: An Aperture Monograph features forty-five beautifully reproduced photographs and an extensive interview with the filmmaker Arthur Jafa.

Outside a Deana Lawson portrait you might be working three jobs, just keeping your head above water, struggling. But inside her frame you are beautiful, imperious, unbroken, unfallen.” – Zadie Smith

Additional information

Weight 1366 g
Dimensions 30.2 x 35.6 cm
Publisher name Aperture Foundation
Publication date 1 December 2018
Number of pages 104
Format Hardback
Contributors Photographs by Deana Lawson, Text by Zadie Smith
Dimensions 30.2 x 35.6 cm
Weight 1366 g


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Deana Lawson (born in Rochester, New York, 1979) is a photographer based in Brooklyn. She received her MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design, and her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Lawson is currently assistant professor in visual arts at Princeton University. Arthur Jafa is a filmmaker and cinematographer. He has directed several films, including Sharifa Walks (2015), In the Morning (2014), and Dreams Are Colder Than Death (2014), and was the cinematographer for Eyes Wide Shut (1999) and, more recently, Solange's music video Cranes in the Sky (2016). Jafa's work has been shown at Gavin Brown's Enterprise, Serpentine Galleries, London; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.