Library of Congress acquires major archive of African American photographer Shawn Walker

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tags: photography, Library of Congress, Shawn Walker

The Library of Congress announced Wednesday the acquisition of the entire archive of African American photographer Shawn Walker.

Capturing street shadows with the same care he brought to taking pictures of Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison, Walker has spanned genres and blended styles over his five decades as a photographer. He spent 30 years documenting community parades and has recently turned his attention to other visual investigations: reflections and walls.

Beverly Brannan, the library’s curator of photography, found the artistic aspect of Walker’s archive surprising. “I work almost exclusively with documentary photographs,” she said, “but he examines crystals and reflections and abstract patterns of things.”

The Walker archive — 100,000 photographs, negatives and transparencies capturing life on the streets of Harlem from 1963 to now — will be the library’s first full archive of work by an African American photographer accessible to the public. Such an acquisition is rare — until now, the library had only seven comprehensive, single-photographer archives. (The library’s Robert McNeill archive, the only other comprehensive, single-photographer archive by an African American, is restricted from public view until Oct. 1, 2022.)

Read entire article at Washignton Post

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