Celebrating Black America’s Resilient Love Through Photos

Kamoinge was formed in 1963 to address the paltry numbers of black photographers in the art world. The result? Sheer beauty.

By Stokely Baksh Jun 01, 2011

Over the weekend, the New York Times photojournalism blog Lens featured the work of  Kamoinge, a collective of African American artists who have been documenting the African diaspora for the last forty years through photography. Many of the photos document the daily life of black America and it’s an extraordinary look into a slice of American history.

Kamoinge was formed in 1963 to address the under-representation of black photographers in the art world. It was founded by notable African American photographers Louis Draper, Ray Francis, Herbert Randall and Albert Fennar, with Roy DeCarava serving as its first director. The word Kamoinge comes from the Kikuyu language of Kenya and means a group of people acting together.

Photos over the years range from the Civil Rights Movement and the Harlem Renaissance to artistic portraits shot inside refugee camps in Africa, and vibrant shots of musicians and athletes. It’ll be exciting to see the work of its current 24 members continue well into the 21st century.

Here are a couple of photos featured on the Lens blog from Kamoinge:

Toni Parks. "Twins." 1998.
Anthony Barboza. "Black Power."
Shawn Walker. Lenox Avenue and 116th Street. Harlem. Early 1960s.
Adger W. Cowans. "Three Shadows." Bronx.

We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to submissions@colorlines.comand be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send.

To see other Love posts visit our Celebrate Love page.