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PHOTOGRAPHY SURVEYS | COLLECTIONS | MOVEMENTS | EXHIBITIONS

PUBLISHER
DelMonico Books/Art Gallery of Ontario

BOOK FORMAT
Hardcover, 6.75 x 9.25 in. / 192 pgs / 175 color.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: SPRING 2022 p. 35   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9781942884941 TRADE
List Price: $39.95 CDN $53.95 GBP £31.99

AVAILABILITY
In stock

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

Toronto, Canada
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), May 2022

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DELMONICO BOOKS/ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO

What Matters Most: Photographs of Black Life

The Fade Resistance Collection

Edited with text by Zun Lee, Sophie Hackett. Text by Dawn Lundy Martin, Fred Moten, Stefano Harney.

What Matters Most: Photographs of Black Life

This powerful collection highlights the importance of snapshots in Black American life: as tools to challenge stereotypes, and as a way to document family and culture

Thoughtfully illustrated, this volume highlights a selection of photographs of African American family life between the 1970s and the early 2000s—pictures that were lost by their original owners and then found by the artist Zun Lee on a street in Detroit in 2012, marking the beginning of the Fade Resistance collection of more than 4,000 Polaroids. Lee describes the collection as an important record of Black visual self-representation and a means to “reflect the way Black people saw themselves on their terms—without the intention of being seen, or judged, by others.” To Lee, these powerful photographs are an expression of "Black life mattering."
These vivid images chronicle milestones such as weddings, birthdays and graduations, as well as quiet daily moments, offering contemporary views long ignored or erased by mainstream culture. Together, these works highlight the role snapshots have played in Black life, as tools to challenge stereotypical portrayals and as a means to memorialize family, culture and heritage.
Topics such as self-representation, visual history and the social power of photographs are addressed in critical texts by Sophie Hackett, Stefano Harney, Zun Lee and Fred Moten, and an original contribution by celebrated poet Dawn Lundy Martin.


Featured image is reproduced from 'What Matters Most: Photographs of Black Life'.

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Animal

Sara Rosen

By operating as art, artifact, and evidence, the images brought together in What Matters Most shatter deeply entrenched paradigms of false hierarchies long entrenched in the photography world where the snapshot is considered ephemera rather than fine art...within these familiar images where boundaries blur and fade away, exists a deeper truth: art belongs to the people.

What Matters Most: Photographs of Black Life

in stock  $39.95


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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 12/24/2022

Happy Holidays from Artbook | D.A.P.

Happy Holidays from Artbook | D.A.P.

Featured image is from What Matters Most: Photographs of Black Life—a book of found vintage Polaroids documenting special and mundane moments in Black American life, primarily from the 1970s through the early 2000s. "A great many of the photographs in this collection exhibit a kind of wholesomeness of Black family life—holidays, just-born babies, family reunions, graduations, people and new cars, snapshots of everyday life," Dawn Lundy Martin writes. "A woman lies on a sofa talking into a red telephone receiver. Two middle-aged men play cards on Thanksgiving, 1985. A father gives his son his first haircut in a kitchen. A girl in a white dress sits at a white piano. Even cool cats, ya dig, sign photos 'To Dad with Love.' Like all worthwhile archives, this one refuses wholeness, but instead points us toward what’s outside of the frame and in its corners/off center, what’s missing and what’s singular. It’s in these fissures, peripheries and striking singularities where one might glimpse what I think of as a Black understanding."

IMAGE CREDIT: Zun Lee, [Man with moustache crouching and hugging twin boys], 1980–1990. Instant print (Polaroid SX70), 10.8 x 8.8 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario, Fade Resistance Collection, purchase, with funds donated by Martha LA McCain, 2018. 2018/2576. Digital image: © Art Gallery of Ontario.

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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 12/12/2022

In 'What Matters Most," a remarkable collection of anonymous photos of African American family life from the 1970s to the early 2000s

In 'What Matters Most," a remarkable collection of anonymous photos of African American family life from the 1970s to the early 2000s

Featured photograph, from 1976, is from What Matters Most: Photographs of Black Life presenting 175 out of more than 4,000 Polaroids from The Fade Resistance Collection—a collection of abandoned photographs found by the artist Zun Lee in Detroit, 2012. This powerful collection, on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario through January 8, 2023, highlights the importance of snapshots in Black American life: as tools to challenge stereotypes, and as a way to document family and culture. AGO curator Sophie Hackett writes: "Whether people find in them seeds for study, reflecting pools, spectres of anti-Black violence, catalysts for empathy, an index of loss—or experience them, over time, as thousands of private homecomings, individual and irreducible—may these photographs outlast us all."

IMAGE CREDIT: Fade Resistance collection. Art Gallery of Ontario. Purchase, with funds donated by Martha LA McCain, 2018. Digital images: © Art Gallery of Ontario. [Three people in front of red curtain], 1976. Instant print (Polaroid SX70), 10.8 x 8.8 cm. 2018/773

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