DPI Chair Deb Willis Publishes New Book, In Pursuit of Beauty

Wednesday, Dec 19, 2018


Deborah Willis, PhD, chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, has published a new photobook through Shine Portrait Studio. Deborah Willis, In Pursuit of Beauty: Imaging Closests in Newark and Beyond is a lovingly sequenced visual journey that takes us from the home of Harlem fashion icon Lana Turner, to that of Henry Louis (“Skip”) Gates, Jr., in Cambridge, to the artist’s year-long engaged project with Shine Portrait Studio in and around Newark, NJ, where she explores the ways in which the concept of beauty is represented through the intimate space of the closet. In Pursuit of Beauty re-contextualizes Dr. Willis' earlier photographs of barber shops and beauty salons, people posing beauty, street scenes, landscapes, interior spaces, and blackamoors––all punctuated by critical writing about the artist’s expansive practice. Edited by DPI faculty member Kalia Brooks Nelson and Nick Kline, the book also contains contributions by Maurice Berger, Jacqueline Bishop, DPI professor Isolde Brielmaier, Cheryl Finley, Elyssa Goodman, Carla Williams, and Trudy Wilner Stack.

The book was published in conjunction with Shine Portrait Studio’s featured exhibition at Express Newark Deborah Willis, In Pursuit of Beauty: Imaging Closets in Newark and Beyond, which ran from March 27 through December 21, 2018.

"I See Myself In You," a joint book launch event took place at Rutgers Newark on Friday, December 14, 2018 with Dr. Willis alongside her son and DPI alum Hank Willis Thomas ('98) who recently published a new monograph All Things Being Equal (Aperture).