Examining the role of photography in the formation of contemporary African diasporic communities, The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice will concentrate on Jamaica, the Bahamas, and the United States. Photographic technologies have informed new approaches to representation and visuality, conceptions of value, and contemporary art, and have generated novel types of photographic practice centered on light’s effects. This project will analyze how contemporary artists such as Charles Nelson, Rashaad Newsome, Ebony Patterson, and Kehinde Wiley reflect on popular picturing practices. It argues that these artists use the aesthetic lessons of black visual culture to critically assess a range of representations, from painted portraits canonized in the history of art to contemporary print advertising.
Krista Thompson is the author of An Eye for the Tropics: Tourism, Photography, and Framing the Caribbean Picturesque (Duke University Press, 2006). She has published in African Arts, Art Bulletin, American Art, Drama Review, Representations, and Small Axe. She teaches, researches, and curates exhibitions on contemporary art and visual culture in the African diaspora, with an emphasis on how photographic practices in the United States and the Caribbean offer new perspectives on art history. She is an associate professor at Northwestern University and the recipient of grants from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Getty Foundation.