The Image of Whiteness: Contemporary Photography and Racialization

Claudia Rankine (Author) Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa (Text by (Art/Photo Books))
& 4 more


How contemporary photographers have subverted the constructions and complicities of whiteness

From the advent of early colonial photography in the 19th century to contemporary "white savior" social-media images, photography continues to play an integral role in the maintenance of white sovereignty. As various scholars have shown, the technology of the camera is not innocent, and nor are the images it produces.

In this way, the invention and continuance of the "white race" is not just a political, social and legal phenomenon, it is also a complexly visual one. In a time of revivified fascisms, from Donald Trump to Tommy Robinson, we must attempt to locate the image of whiteness anew, so that we can better understand its nonsensical construction. What does whiteness look like, and how might we begin to trace an anti-racist history of artistic resistance that works against it?

The Image of Whiteness seeks to introduce its reader to some important extracts from the troubling story of whiteness, to describe its falsehoods, its paradoxes and its oppressive nature, and to highlight some of the crucial work photographic artists have done to subvert and critique its image.

Edited by writer and photography scholar Daniel C. Blight, The Image of Whiteness includes the work of artists Abdul Abdullah, Agata Madejska, Broomberg & Chanarin, Buck Ellison, John Lucas & Claudia Rankine, David Birkin, Hank Willis Thomas, Kajal Nisha Patel, Michelle Dizon & Viet Le, Nancy Burson, Nate Lewis, Libita Clayton, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Richard Misrach, Sophie Gabrielle, Stacy Kranitz and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa.

Product Details

$35.00  $32.20
Spbh Editions
Publish Date
October 08, 2019
6.1 X 0.7 X 7.7 inches | 1.05 pounds

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About the Author

Claudia Rankine is the author of Citizen: An American Lyric and four previous books, including Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. Her work has appeared recently in the Guardian, the New York Times Book Review, the New York Times Magazine, and the Washington Post. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, the winner of the 2014 Jackson Poetry Prize, and a contributing editor of Poets & Writers. She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2016. Rankine is the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University.
Lewis R. Gordon is Professor of Philosophy and Africana Studies at the University of Connecticut, Visiting Professor at the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica, Nelson Mandela Visiting Professor at Rhodes University, South Africa, European Union Visiting Chair in Philosophy at Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France, and Writer-in-Residence at Birkbeck School of Law. His most recent book is What Fanon Said: A Philosophical Introduction to His Life and Thought (2015).


Daniel C. Blight's The Image of Whiteness: Contemporary Photography and a gripping multimedia analysis of the vital role of photographs in undergirding racism. The book exposes the often unacknowledged, everyday visuals that prop up a grotesque system of white supremacy.--Genevieve Shuster "Document Journal "
Is taking pictures of white sitters in and of itself a supremacist act? Art critic Daniel C. Blight mulls the implications.--Alex Greenberger "ARTnews "
"The Image of Whiteness" [is] a rare text; a white man producing literature on race for a white audience without intentionally or unconsciously justifying a colonialist, imperialist, or white supremacist regime.--Harley Wong "Wear Your Voice "
The Image of Whiteness introduces readers to extracts from the troubling story of whiteness, describing its falsehoods, its paradoxes and its oppressive nature, and highlights some of the work contemporary photographic artists are doing to subvert and critique its image and its continuing power.--Daniel Blight "Guardian "