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Portraits of My People #319

Portraits of My People series

Portraits of My People #319

1990

Willie Robert Middlebrook

(American, 1957-2012)

Gelatin silver print, photographic painting

Image: 51 x 61 cm (20 1/16 x 24 in.); Matted: 76.2 x 81.3 cm (30 x 32 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1996.235

Edition: unique print

Description

The photographs of Middlebrook’s African American community in Los Angeles explore, question, and convey his social and aesthetic concerns. Since the mid-1980s he has transformed traditional portraits, often of his family and friends, into dense, multitoned, and painterly compositions through complex darkroom techniques that can take up to 30 hours. This piercing, close-up portrait symbolizes, in a fragmentary manner, his experiences and thoughts about the divisiveness of identity.

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