Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply

About the Artist

Dawoud Bey’s work is held by major collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the National Portrait Gallery, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. In addition to the MacArthur fellowship, Bey’s honors include the United States Artists Guthman Fellowship, 2015; the Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography, 2002; and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1991. He is Professor of Art and a former Distinguished College Artist at Columbia College Chicago.

Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply

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Dawoud Bey

With images ranging from street photography in Harlem to a commemoration of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, this volume offers a 40-year career retrospective of the award-winning photographer Dawoud Bey.


Recipient of a 2017 MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” Dawoud Bey has created a body of photography that masterfully portrays the contemporary American experience on its own terms and in all of its diversity. Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply offers a 40-year retrospective of the celebrated photographer’s work, from his early street photography in Harlem to his current images of Harlem gentrification. Photographs from all of Bey’s major projects are presented in chronological sequence, allowing viewers to see how the collective body of portraits and recent landscapes create an unparalleled historical representation of various communities in the United States. Leading curators and critics—Sarah Lewis, Deborah Willis, David Travis, Hilton Als, Jacqueline Terrassa, Rebecca Walker, Maurice Berger, and Leigh Raiford—introduce each series of images. Revealing Bey as the natural heir of such renowned photographers as Roy DeCarava, Walker Evans, Gordon Parks, and James Van Der Zee, Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply demonstrates how one man’s search for community can produce a stunning portrait of our common humanity.

  • Hardcover
  • 11 x 12 inches
  • 400 pages; 129 color and 136 b+w images
  • Published: 2018

Editorial Reviews

“Viewers experience how the collective body of portraits and newer landscapes create an unprecedented historical portrayal of different communities in the United States.” —World of Print

“This is a magnificent achievement. Dawoud Bey is a modern master.” —Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University

Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply is a timeless masterpiece for the ages. With its sincerity, concern, and attention to communities and lives lost, displaced, or erased, it is a documentary record for US history. I’ve never seen a book of this depth and magnitude about the intentions and thoughts of an artist’s own life and work.” —LaToya Ruby Frazier

“This book is a gold mine . . . a gift of a well-measured life. Throughout these pages, Bey graciously allows us to walk through his mind as he tussles with one of the great questions in photography: how best to describe a people at a particular historical moment? As both participant and observer, he delivers the answers!” —Carrie Mae Weems

“In Bey’s penetrating pictures, he seeks and struggles to discover the life force that unites us all in the impossible search for a common humanity. His precise, tenderly seen subjects are subjects we have always known, but have not; should have known, but did not; but now, must know. In their quietude, grace, and virtue they have an urgency for our time, positing an ethics of seeing and being.” —Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art

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