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As part of Lafayette’s Black History Month celebration, Deborah Willis will discuss her book Picturing Us: African-American Identity in Photography 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Oechsle Hall auditorium (room 224).

Willis, professor of photography and imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, says her lecture will focus on “photographing family and how memory is used in visualizing black culture.”

“I understand that some of the faculty used the book over the years and I’ve based the lecture on that experience,” she says.

Winner of the International Center for Photography’s 1995 Award for Writing on Photography, Willis’ book brought together a diverse group of African-American writers, scholars, and filmmakers in the first concerted effort to analyze and respond to the photographic images of blacks in society.

Following in the mentality of Willis’ book, Lafayette students were invited to participate in a campus-wide photography project, “Picturing Us,” documenting the experiences of and with students of color. Students used one-time use cameras to portray their experiences at the College. Photos selected by a committee are displayed in exhibitions at several high-visibility locations across campus, including Farinon Center, Williams Center for the Arts, and Gilbert’s. The project concludes with a brown bag discussion, “A Picture’s Worth,” noon Friday in Interfaith Chapel, Hogg Hall.

“[The project] is wonderful,” says Willis. “I think that students visualizing this experience will be a great addition to the discussion.”

Both events are sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Development. “A Picture’s Worth” is also sponsored by Association of Black Collegians and the Office of Religious Life.

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