Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People
Distributed by First Run Features, 630 Ninth Avenue, Suite 1213, New York, NY 10036; 212-243-0600
Produced by John Singleton; Kimberly Steward, K Period Media; Chimpanzee Productions; Co-Production of Independent Television Service
Directed by Thomas Allen Harris
DVD , color, 92 min.
African Americans, Communication, History, Photography, Psychology, Race Relations, Sociology
Reviewed by Cynthia Sorrell, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Date Entered: 4/7/2015
When considering the historical accounts within the textbooks and novels written concerning American history, one realizes the enormity of missing, distorted , or forgotten contributions of the African American people. There are just a few “worthy heroes” singled out and a few villains briefly mentioned for their notoriety; however, the suffering throughout enslavement, subsequent freedom from bondage, followed by unimaginable denigrating treatment by Americans in a position to continue uncontrollable and cruel power within the society toward a people, is unmistakably captured through the reality of photography. Historical truths, witnessed through the lenses of various Black photographers throughout the years, are revealed in a powerful way, and have the ability to dispel misinformation that has hindered race relations even in the 21st century. As the nation and the world continue to search for answers to the ills in society, these and other visually accurate documentaries can be effective in the process of healing a society in ways that would promote positive sociological and psychological changes as historical accounts become less ambiguous and more factual.
Photography does not hide the irrefutable good in man nor the cruel acts of inhumanity in a society, especially when such acts are unimpeded. Through a Lens Darkly gives those who have the privilege of absorbing its many photographic truths the opportunity to begin a substantive dialogue. It is recommended that collection managers in public, private, and academic libraries acquire this dynamic and visually “eye-opening” film that depicts another view of America’s history as seen through the photographic lenses of Black photographers.
- Winner, Africa Movie Academy Awards