Skip to Main Content

John Edmonds

John Edmonds, artist, in conversation with Jessica Bell Brown, PhD candidate, department of art and archaeology, Princeton University. In his photographs of African Americans, John Edmonds challenges the exclusionary history of art by expanding its roster of subjects, while using its conventions to recognize the humanity and sensuality of his sitters. For his Du-Rag and Hoods series, Edmonds dressed his subjects in culturally specific clothing in photographs that tempered stereotypes associated with streetwear with soft light and demure poses. Art historian and writer Jessica Bell Brown asserts that Edmonds’s portraits “are not rebuttals of stereotypes about black and brown men, nor are they objective ‘documents’ of black life. Rather, they are radical alternative propositions of how we can behold anew.” On September 23, 2018, in conjunction with the exhibition Dawoud Bey: The Birmingham Project, Bell Brown and Edmonds discuss the possibilities that come with new forms and subjects of portraiture. This program is made possible by the James D. and Kathryn K. Steele Fund for Photography. The special installation of four large-scale photographs and one video from Bey's The Birmingham Project will be on view at the National Gallery of Art through March 17, 2019.