It's the weekend! The Gallery is open 10:30 am to 5:30 pm.

woman and dove

Thomas Allen Harris, Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People (film still), 2014. 90 min, digital, colour, sound.

Member Price
Public Price
Student Price


Tickets are not available. Please check back shortly.


Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People

Wednesday May 10, 2017 and Thursday May 11, 2017

Directed by Thomas Allen Harris
2014, 1h, 30 min.
The first documentary to explore the role of photography in shaping the identity, aspirations, and social emergence of African Americans from slavery to the present, Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People probes the recesses of American history through images that have been suppressed, forgotten, and lost.

Bringing to light the hidden and unknown photos shot by both professional and vernacular African American photographers, the film opens a window into the lives of black families, whose experiences and perspectives are often missing from the traditional historical canon. African Americans historically embraced the medium as a way to subvert popular stereotypes as far back as the Civil War era, with Frederick Douglass photographed in a suit and black soldiers posing proudly in their uniforms. These images show a much more complex and nuanced view of American culture and its founding ideals.

Inspired by the book Reflections in Black by photo historian Deborah Willis, the film features the works of esteemed photographic artists Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Anthony Barboza, Hank Willis Thomas, Coco Fusco, Clarissa Sligh, James Van Der Zee, Gordon Parks, and many others.

Mr. Harris’s film is a family memoir, a tribute to unsung artists and a lyrical, at times heartbroken, meditation on imagery and identity.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times


Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Free Black North.

This is an Accessible Event. Learn More


Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June 3
Wednesday June 14 & Friday June 16
Wednesday July 19 & Friday July 21
Wednesday July 12 & Friday July 14
Be the first to find out about AGO exhibitions and events, get the behind-the-scenes scoop and book tickets before it’s too late.