london

Photographer unknown, untitled, ca. 1904, digital fiber print, 16 × 12". From the Larry Dunstan Archive. From “Made You Look: Dandyism and Black Masculinity.”

“Made You Look: Dandyism and Black Masculinity”

The Photographers' Gallery

Photographer unknown, untitled, ca. 1904, digital fiber print, 16 × 12". From the Larry Dunstan Archive. From “Made You Look: Dandyism and Black Masculinity.”

Curated by Ekow Eshun with Karen McQuaid, “Made You Look: Dandyism and Black Masculinity” gathered portraits realized over more than a century by photographers based in the UK, US, and Africa. At a moment when black artists, thinkers, and politicians have achieved unprecedented prominence while overwhelming racism continues to target black communities across the world, the exhibition countered stereotypical perceptions of black men based on “archetypal colonial imagery,” prejudice, and psychological projection—elements that “still carry the power to sting,” as Eshun points out in an accompanying publication. How does one pose for a portrait under such circumstances?

The focus here was on the modern dandy as a figure of resistance. Before slavery was abolished, donning a suit meant putting on the garb of a free man. Today, it remains a way to manifest authority and self-esteem.

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