A Photographic Tribute to the Physical and Spiritual Beauty of Black Women

by Hannah Baxter

Defining the Black American Woman is not an easy task. She is layered, multifaceted, complicated and her representation tends to spark debate. Since 2002, one photographer has attempted to capture the essence of what it means to be a modern black woman in America through an ever-expanding exhibition of portraits called WOMEN OF A NEW TRIBE. 

Jerry Taliaferro’s subjects come from a variety of backgrounds, with different ages, professions and socioeconomic standings represented. The project has traveled to several U.S. cities and twice to Europe, much to the delight of the media and the public. Neil A. Barclay, President and CEO of the African-American Cultural Center of Greater Pittsburgh, wrote , “When I first encountered Jerry Taliaferro’s acclaimed traveling exhibition  of black and white photographs I was immediately impressed with his ability to tell a story.  Using the synergy of portraiture and symbolism,  he has found a way to tell the story of a woman and a people.”  

On June 23, 2014,  the African American Resource Center of the New Orleans Public Library will open the WOMEN OF A NEW TRIBE Exhibition at the main branch of the library at 219 Loyola Ave in downtown New Orleans.  Last month photographers Debra and Jerry Taliaferro traveled to New Orleans to capture portraits of local artists, activists, chefs, educators and civic leaders to be included as part of the exhibition. 

Check out his website here for more information and examples of his photography, and be sure to check for updates about his next visit to a city near you!


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