The Greats: Dawoud Bey

One of five covers for T’s 2020 Greats issue. Photograph by LaToya Ruby Frazier

Photographer Dawoud Bey got his start as a street photographer who took portraits of the Black residents of Harlem and Brooklyn, N.Y., documenting Black life through his intimate and beautiful images, before it was trendy. After spent decades trying to elevate the images of Black people beyond the simple documentation of oppression and social neglect, in his newest series of work,Night Coming Tenderly, Black, the artist sets forth to evoke the journey of enslaved people moving towards freedom on the Underground Railroad. Check out this feature in The New York Times by Lauretta Charlton to read more about the decades-long influence of this singular photographer.

“What underlines and underpins all of this are these places, and what these places are and what they were and what they represent in our collective history.” - Dawoud Bey