Pictures with Purpose, the next volume in the Double Exposure series, explores images from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s collection of nineteenth and early twentieth-century photography that includes daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, cartes de visite, cabinet cards, cyanotypes, stereographs, and other early photographic forms. The volume looks at how early photographs of and by African Americans were circulate and used, and considers their meaning, for the sitter, for the photographer, and for the owner of the photograph. Particularly significant is how African Americans used photography to shape their image within and beyond their communities.
Pictures with Purpose features images of unknown African Americans before and after Emancipation—including children, couples, images of young African American soldiers in Civil War-era military uniform, and African American nursemaids with their white charges. Also included are photographs of renowned African Americans such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and Mary Church Terrell. Photographers include J.P. Ball, Cornelius M. Battey, Matthew Brady, Frances B. Johnston, and Augustus Washington.
Double Exposure is a dynamic series based on the notable photography collection supporting the Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Lonnie G. Bunch III is the Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Tanya Sheehan is chair of the Department of Art at Colby College and an early photography scholar
Michèle Gates Moresi is supervisory museum curator of Collections at the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Laura Coyle is head of Cataloguing and Digitization at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.