How Photography Is Being Revolutionized in the Coronavirus Era


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Today, Antwaun Sargent is known as the preeminent critical and curatorial voice for one of the most important movements in contemporary photography. Along with its accompanying exhibition, his book, The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion, stands as an important statement on a diverse set of young artists finding their own unique ways to break down the traditional boundaries separating two disciplines that have always been more intertwined than has been widely acknowledged.

Yet just a few years ago, Sargent was virtually unknown to the fine-art establishment. He found his footing as an independent writer looking to spotlight rising black artists in his peer group (think: Jordan Casteel, Awol Erizku, and Jennifer Packer), then quickly expanded his scope to place their practices in conversation with a long line of artists of color whose pioneering work too often went unrecognized by the (usually) Western white male gatekeepers of their respective eras. His essays have since appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and several institutional publications, enlightening audiences on not only the work of particular photographers, but also on how their collective efforts are shifting the conventions of image-making—inside and outside the art world alike.

On this week's episode, Sargent joins the podcast for a wide-ranging conversation touching on everything from Awol Erizku's instant-classic pregnancy-reveal photos of Beyoncé, to the leveling power of social media for a generation of image-makers eager to control their work's distribution, to how photography is simultaneously evolving in response to the coronavirus crisis and memorializing its effects on global culture.

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