Black Photographers Reflect on Self-Portraiture and Identity

In a feature for the New York Times, photographers discuss how and why they create--affirming the power of self-expression during times of uncertainty.

Photograph by Erik Carter for the New York Times.

Many artists and creators have turned to photography as a way of documenting themselves and their surroundings during the pandemic, especially as the United States continues to fight for racial equity and access through protests and other calls to action. Recently, the New York Times brought together over a dozen Black photographers and asked them how they were using self-portraiture to reflect on their identity. Through their photographs and own words, these photographers tell stories of joy, sadness, persistence, and more.

"As I look at these images, I can envision how the photographers shifted their focus to construct new works or culled their own archives to revisit ideas — seeking answers to their own questions about one’s sense of self and responsibility during this unspeakable time." - Deborah Willis