The New Black Vanguard celebrates black fashion photography in a shifting landscape, exploring how it reflects community, culture and beauty.
Recently released in New Zealand, The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion showcases the work of 15 black photographers around the world and how they confront issues of race, beauty, and sexuality.
Created by New York-based curator and critic Antwaun Sargent, whose writing has appeared in the New Yorker, US Vogue, W and the New York Times, the book features a rich combination of images, essays, and interviews that examine the role black bodies have played in fashion, art, and culture. “The New Black Vanguard is a contemporary black fashion photography that is inclusive and reflective of a wider world — in terms of skin color, body type, performativity of gender, and class — and also captures, celebrates, and expands the notions of beauty and agency,” says Antwaun.
The book is a timely release; though recent years have seen much more visible diversity across the fashion industry and increasingly frequent conversations around inclusion and appropriation, it remains undeniable that representation cannot be limited to who is in front of the camera or on the runway, and that the meaning, intention, and purpose of a piece of work are defined by who is creating it and why.
Photographer Tyler Mitchell, whose work graces the book’s cover, made history when he became the first African American photographer to shoot a cover story for US Vogue – the magazine’s September 2018 issue that featured Beyoncé.
The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion by Antwaun Sargent, published by Aperture, distributed by Thames & Hudson, $90. Available at Unity Books.