How contemporary photographers from Hank Willis Thomas to Libita Clayton have subverted the constructions and complicities of whiteness
From the advent of early colonial photography in the 19th century to contemporary “white savior” social-media images, photography continues to play an integral role in the maintenance of white sovereignty. As various scholars have shown, the technology of the camera is not innocent, and neither are the images it produces.
The invention and continuation of the “white race” is not just a political, social and legal phenomenon; it is also a complexly visual one. What does whiteness look like, and how might we begin to trace an antiracist history of artistic resistance that works against it? The Image of Whiteness seeks to introduce its reader to some important extracts from the troubling story of whiteness, to describe its falsehoods, its paradoxes and its oppressive nature, and to highlight some of the crucial work photographic artists have done to subvert and critique its image.
The Image of Whiteness includes the work of artists Abdul Abdullah, Agata Madejska, Broomberg & Chanarin, Buck Ellison, John Lucas & Claudia Rankine, David Birkin, Hank Willis Thomas, Kajal Nisha Patel, Michelle Dizon & Viet Le, Nancy Burson, Nate Lewis, Libita Clayton, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Richard Misrach, Sophie Gabrielle, Stacy Kranitz and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa.