tv Q A CSPAN February 15, 2015 8:00pm-9:00pm EST
q&a with alan harris. and, the british house of commons. later, london's mayor interviewed by mike allen. thomas allen harris -- announcer: this week on "q&a," our guest is thomas allen harris:, author of "through a lens darkly: black photographers and the emergence of a people," examining images of african-americans from the time of slavery through today. brian lamb: thomas allen harris "through a lens darkly" is what?
thomas allen harris: "through a lens darkly" is a book that examines how african-americans are per trade in -- portrayed in photography, and it is also an autobiography, because my family is descendent of slavery. brian lamb: what is the story of you and your father? thomas allen harris: my father and mother divorced maybe when i was six or seven, and my father never took any photographs of my family my brother me, and both my brother and i are image makers, and my grandfather took thousands of photographs of a family. when i was making film, i was
thinking about the way of framing and taking a picture of a family and what that says about both the person in front of the camera, the person behind the camera, and the connection between the two yeah, and a certain amount of grief because i never got to see myself and my family through my father's lens? brian lamb: still alive? thomas allen harris: yes, my father is still alive. brian lamb: do you have a relationship with him today? thomas allen harris: yes perhaps you could call it a relationship. brian lamb: why did he not take any photos when it seems that everyone else and the family was taking thousands? thomas allen harris: well, he told me, i asked about a year or two ago, why he did not take
photographs, and he said because your grandfather was taking so many images. once my parents divorce, i very rarely saw him, and i did have a step debt, who -- stepdad who takes lots of photographs that he was part of the african national congress, he was south african, he was in exile, so he came to this country and spread the message -- the anti-apartheid message -- and he basically raised me from the time that i was five years old -- nine years old. brian lamb: let's watch for the first minute or so to see what people can get a sense of what this is about. announcer: every negro boy and every negro girl born in this
country had suffered long ago the agony in the body politic in the body social, outside the body of herself, and some images of himself and herself which is not demeaning. thomas allen harris: when you look in the mirror, who do you see? >> i am a professor of photography, i am an artist. >> i am a tap dancer. [laughter] thomas allen harris: you see yourself in the past and the future? do you see yourself through your own eyes? when you look at a black person who do i see? who do you see? do ics now? -- do i see us now? do ics through a lens darkly --
do i see us through a lens darkly? brian lamb: why the name? thomas allen harris: through a lens darkly comes from the bible, corinthians, it is the 13th chapter, and it is, how do we see god? we see god right now through a lens, darkly, so it talks about reflections and the idea of seeing divinity within oneself, and the ways in which one can see the great art has been about reflection of the divinity and how certain types -- and how, within this country african-americans are seen as the opera of being worthy, of --
is the opposite of being worthy, of something opposite of having value. brian lamb: how long did you live in africa and where? thomas allen harris: i lived in africa from the time of 1974 through 1976, and i lived in tanzania, which is in east africa. brian lamb: is there a way to characterize, i mean how old were you are -- are you there? thomas allen harris: i was there at the beginning of adolescence. brian lamb: but is there a way to characterize how africans look at themselves as compared to african-americans look at themselves? thomas allen harris: yes, the film talks about that, and i think that generally in terms of africans, i think that african-americans are a minority in this country, and a have a
particular history, and a particular struggle here, whereas in particular african countries in which they are not necessarily i nor it is, i think are certain ethnic groups that are minorities, but i inc. there is -- i think there is also something in terms of the connection with diaspora. so a lot of african people look to america when it terms -- comes to terms of music or fashion, so there is a lot of back and forth. we went because my grandfather had a dream. he always wanted to go to africa. he was a follower of marcus garvey, and the university negro improvement association in the
1920's, and he came from albany new york, and his dream was to get to the continent, and his dream was never for filled, but he passed that dream onto every one of his children. so my mom moved with me and my brother to east africa, so she went in some ways to fulfill his dream, but in some ways she was looking for that missing face of africa, we thought we could go back to a homeland, and see what thinking we were going back home, and what emerged is that we lacked that back home, there is a connection that we have definitely, but we are definitely americans. we had that connection to the homeland that we want to go back to, but in many ways it is missing. brian lamb: when did you graduate from harvard and what did you study there? thomas allen harris: i graduated
in 1984 and i studied biology. 1.i was taking about becoming a biologist and going into microbiology, and going to medical school and doing at least an md, but at least an md phd, but it somehow didn't happen, and i realized and knew that i had always been a photographer, and had worked with images and poetry, and i was exley my ninth grade poet laureate in high school -- actually my ninth grade poet laureate in high school. but i did not know many filmmakers. but my mom is a scientist and i grew up in the lab, the chemistry lab. also, when i was living in africa, the sciences translated from tanzania to america, so
when i came back, i was able to fit right in, in terms of my studies. i went to an international school in tanzania, so my english was not very, i had basically learned english through secondhand english speakers, well, not secondhand but not native english speakers so growing up when i went to high school, i was not as comfortable with my english skills as much as with science and math, so when i applied to harvard, i immediately followed my strengths, so it took a while to really feel comfortable with my writing and other ways of expressing myself and to realize that somehow i could make a career as an artist, is a film maker. brian lamb: here is a story
about your family and a little more about your father from the film. thomas allen harris: there are secret and every family. -- secrets in every family. sometimes buried very deeply and sometimes they are right out there in the open, willfully unseen. there is one place where all the secrets reside. in the family photo album. in what it chooses to represent. and in what is absent. hidden. my secret? it is connected to the day my father left.
on that day, i remember him roughly wiping of vaseline off of my face, saying "do you want people out there to think you are a greasy monkey?" brian lamb: why did you do that? thomas allen harris: why did i do what? brian lamb: why did you characterize that part of your life in the film that way? thomas allen harris: it was a big story. everyone, i think, kind of has a take story that shapes their childhood, and this story happens to coincide with a big change in my life, my father leaving, and also his, in some ways, trying to pass on what to expect, growing up as an
african-american male. i was not necessarily going to be seen in my fellow humanity and maybe he was also trying to tell me as a little boy, i was six years old or so, what he might have gone through as an african american male with dark skin, beautiful man, first one in his family to go to college with an immigrant -- so i think there is a lot in that story. i think when i was in tanzania, a lot of people would say, there were a lot of exiles that were there, and they would say that they did not necessarily have a fair shake in this country, in terms of african-american men. it is interesting because i have had this certain privilege in
terms of being able to go to certain schools, whether it is a high school, a college or this kind of community access, but i do feel that what we are experiencing right now, in terms of on the streets of this coulter, and what we have experienced over the last 40-60 -- culture, and what we have experienced over the last 40-60 years, and the connection between that and this issue of representation that people have been fighting for their civil rights, in terms of the laws but there is this other part of representation, a kind of representation of how to be perceived in popular culture. and as i was making the film, the film is waste in many ways -- is based in many ways on deborah willis and her work on black photographers, but i was
also very much aware of this other narrative that was going on as well, in which lack people were constructed post-slavery and even before the end of slavery, as something other than human. it was part of the marketing of photographs and memorabilia and stereotypes that now would be considered the class a -- del classe. this is haunting in terms of the way we see ourselves in the way that we see others, and i think people on the streets talking and chanting and asking for -- demanding -- or their rights, after the civil rights, in terms of this protesting, the killing of unarmed african-american men is somehow being seen -- men
they are somehow seen as demons, like darren brown who was shot in ferguson six times, or as something seen that needs to be taken down, or a certain type of respect for citizens, like eric lerner who was -- eric garner who was choked to death. with increasing frequency, i think that has to do with perception and the way we see one another, and not only are african americans perceived as not human or citizen but they are also not necessarily seen as within the family of man, so to speak. so when i was making this film i was very much aware of this idea of the family album, and if we had a national family album how would we construct that? if we had space and time to do
that now, kind of to reconstruct the family album, which is kind of interesting to think about right now, because that family album is rapidly disappearing, in terms of what we grew up with an something that was handed down to us and something that we contributed to this book or these books, you know, it is now a rapidly moving into the space of museums and libraries as we move into a fully digital age. but the i diaz that we as a culture can construct ourselves and the importance of trying to -- but the idea that we as a culture can construct ourselves and the trying to identify, and because of the diet of negative images -- brian lamb: let me show your oh my gosh -- bhomage in the
film to deborah willis. deborah willis: work was centered on ideas that were not necessarily things that people wanted to work with. they were really working on projects that they had ideas on and they wanted to be artists. >> deborah willis. >> deborah willis. >> deborah willis. >> she started doing all of these shows and cultivating these books and putting it out there for all of the people to see. >> if it were not for deborah willis, we would have probably all disappeared at some point. brian lamb: wishing? -- who is she?
thomas allen harris: deborah willis is a groundbreaking scholar who has written definitive texts on african-american contributions to photography she is also an acclaimed artist, professor and chair at the university of -- new york university department of imaging and photography, she is a friend, a mentor to many, many people, and she is in many ways single-handedly changing the way in which we look at african-american contributions to the field of photography. brian lamb: when did she start? thomas allen harris: she started in the 70's, and she was studying photography and her teacher had told her that there are no african americans making contributions to photography, so she set her on a path to
actually improve this -- to actually prove this teacher wrong, and she went out to see photographers and resuscitate them, but also to look at the ways in which black families, who were the principal subjects of black photographers, emerged over time. brian lamb: we're going to show another clip from your film. who did you have in your mind that was going to see this? let me add to that, black people or white people or all of it? as you are doing your work? . -- thomas allen harris: i knew the film was going to be on public television, but i did not know at the time that it would have such a robust theatrical life after sundance, i knew it was going to have a general pbs audience, which in general is a certain demographic, that i did know that i as an artist was
charged with creating content for the underserved. for me, that is an african-american audience and particularly, i was interested in younger audiences i have a certain amount of education experience, that it took me almost 50 years to understand how to see myself in terms of a larger movement people -- movement of people and to understand the country in a way that one could only understand it by incorporating all of these other pieces, which is the contribution of the hundreds of african-american photographers who are taking pictures from the 1840's, '50's, through reconstruction, pictures that were sent to europe to represent the accomplishments of
african-americans 35 years after the emancipation proclamation, throughout the harlem renaissance and the renaissance s that happen all over the country. african-american people were building themselves up way before affirmative action, but there was also this ongoing assault on their images. they somehow were not -- they were not valuable contributors to society. they were not citizens. i actually approached someone at a french tv station about the film and she was very interested in the film, and she came and studied in america, she is a french woman, as she studied in the 1970's, and she stayed with an italian family in new jersey, and a george -- and they drove across the george washington bridge into harlem, and everyone said, lock your doors, lock your doors, and they say, they might drive nice cars
but these people don't have plumbing in their houses. so there is this kind of distortion, and who does that serve? and it also belies the fact that many of us are actually related, like my mother's -- like my grandmother's side of the family, this fluidity between political black, white, or latino. and moving into this new millennium and this world that we have, it is so important for us to not leave any segment of our society and make the segment disposable. you know, we can't afford it. brian lamb: here is -- and you make this point in your film -- the civil rights movement is very important after the civil
war and during reconstruction, but here is something from your film, and it also focuses on the film "birth of a nation" that we just featured on another one of our programs. thomas allen harris: this larger-than-life misrepresentation all but obliterated black families who were building themselves up in the aftermath of slavery. like my grandmother's grandmother, elizabeth, and my grandfather's grandfather, wallace, both from charlton, south carolina. pictured here in our family's oldest surviving photographs.
how do you protect a child? a family? a people? from being branded as the coward? laziness stupid, shifting to the criminalization of black people. this was the rise of what was called the lack group. -- black group. this came as a way of controlling many black people's. >> once photography takes off as a commercial medium for a mass-market audience, you get all of this negative imagery.
there is a lot of imagery of activity that was classified as a crime that got black men arrested during jim crow for life. brian lamb: what has been for you is the most interesting reaction to you have seen in say, young black people, when they watch this? thomas allen harris: people cry, people come back and they see this and they see this too and three and four times, people feel validated they feel transformed, their relationship to their own family albums is also transformative. this -- they all of a sudden realize that the tradition that has been handed from their grandparents has this political social value that they had no idea before. so that is something that has been reoccurring, and in many
ways, the way in which we set about the production, in terms of its transmedia aspect, led to this because when we started making this film well i started the film around tenure to go about 2003, 2004, and around 2008, 2009, we developed a digital family reunion. it was supposed to be an online people could upload their family photographs to become a larger family album, and i was very much aware that like me, lots of other african-americans had photographs in their family that you could not find and the national archives coming in the library of congress, in popular culture. sorry, so i started pitching this around, so afterwards, people started coming and doing the room show, inviting people from the public to share their
family photographs and the first one he was in atlanta in 2009. one woman came with images from her family that dated back to the 1840's, if followed family as they moved in the 1860's and 1870's and i think up to connecticut and then back down in the 1920's to atlanta, i mean, amazing history. stuff i had never seen. so we started this road show and we have done it in 23 cities so far collected 8000 images, and now we have an amazing archive, and we were doing a roadshow that is when i realized that a family album is so potent as a narrative to move through the film, and i guess that was why i aspired to be in the film. i was resistant to be in the film, but there is a way in
which the movement and the bringing together of people across their differences across different geographic spaces, ringing in photographers scholars also for neck killer photographers, -- vernacular photographers, it allowed me to tour. brian lamb: how many different people did you interview for this film? thomas allen harris: 52. brian lamb: how many of those are black photographers? thomas allen harris: about half. brian lamb: how did you go about selecting? thomas allen harris: i worked very closely with deborah willis, and i work with photographers who had in the last 20 years really moved into the space of fine art. so one had a major retrospective
she is the first african-american photographer, she had a retrospective at the guggenheim, my brother, who is a will record photographer, a world-renowned tartar for an artist and younger amazing -- world-renowned photographer and artist, and younger, amazing artists, also some other artists who were part of a collective in new york. one was an amazing commercial photographer, and some younger photographers as well. brian lamb: you must have hundreds of photographs? thomas allen harris: yes. brian lamb: what is going to do with the so-called outtakes that you are not going to use? thomas allen harris: we have
them on the youtube channel and we will have them on the dvd extras. brian lamb: can they see them on the youtube channel now? thomas allen harris: yes ddfr .ddt.com. brian lamb: so people can upload from your website? thomas allen harris: yes and we have another website which brings together both the digital and the cell, and is called one world, one family and me, and that has all of the videos as well. brian lamb: you make a point in your film about when blacks who fought in world war i came back, they wanted the photography to give them the bona fide establishment that they were there. here is an from your film. thomas allen harris: black men
had returned from world war i knowing that they were helping to win the war for democracy and they went immediately to the photograph studios and said, take my picture. it was with a sense of pride and expectation that they received their rights. they were also lynched for it in their world war i uniforms, because it was considered an affront to southern gentry, and affront to white supremacy. >> i am trained to look at images to understand them, to decode them, and i cannot look at these pictures. brian lamb: where did you discover that, i gather they
were southerners, that would lynch or burn these people that key back from world war i just because they were black? thomas allen harris: will that was something that has been in the history books. i had read about that, i think as early as taking black history courses at harvard and that was the idea at the height of jim crow, so the idea that self empowered african-american male with an army uniform, who was a citizen, could somehow change the status quo, and was really threatening to particularly southerners, but lynching happened all over the country, and there is a huge amount of photographs that were done that documented the lynchings, and they were also sent in the mail without any kind of covers or cards, people also cut hair, and
so those images were very prevalent at one point and there was a big exhibition. when i first encountered them it was called, oh goodness, it has just skipped my mind, anyway these images have been put together in a book, but they are also on sale on ebay, you can find them everywhere. you can't find as much online, but you can't find -- you can find them at a variety of different places. not only the lynching images but people find stereotypical images, for instance, the image of the black person with a watermelon, we were doing a digital roadshow in houston, and a woman came up and said that my
daughter found this horrible image, and in fact it was the image of the young naked babies and underneath there was a text that said "alligator bait." and you can imagine a six or old finding this image and finding the violence -- six-year-old finding this image and finding the violence and that and talking about that and we were very thankful for bringing these images to life, because i think it is important to really not only show the positive images of african americans, but also show these other images, and in a sense be a truth and reconciliation, in a way that south africa had you know, after favorite -- after slavery, after the post-civil rights, who we are and what we had been through. brian lamb: how often are you uncomfortable as a black man in this country? or are you ever today?
thomas allen harris: i would say i am comfortable in myself. brian lamb: i did not mean it that way, but as you travel around and face public audiences and all that, your accomplishments are rather significant. do you see president -- prejudice today still? thomas allen harris: yes, you see prejudice constantly. brian lamb: how do you see it yourself? thomas allen harris: well, it was in "the new york times," there was an article in the "sunday times" about hiring practices, i see it. not to eat a dead horse, but the policing in society -- beat a dead horse, but the policing in society. brian lamb: do you see that? does a policeman stop you? thomas allen harris: yeah, i was
at sundance once and someone shoved me, you know and you see snobs, you see this, there is constantly this sense that you don't necessarily belong, but do they keep me down? no. brian lamb: did you see it at harvard? thomas allen harris: oh yeah, i was called the and word several times. brian lamb: by your classmates? thomas allen harris: no not by my classmates, but on cambridge and on the streets of their absolutely -- there absolutely, and the harvard police stopped me and two colleagues and basically roughed us up, and i wrote a big article in it in the "harvard-princeton," and here we are five foot eight and 5'9" and they did not accord us any
civil rights, and they were very, very rough, they were slamming us into the wall and onto the street, so what i think it is is a curative -- is a cumulative sense that you do not have this certain right that somehow you are not afforded rights in this country as african-american males. brian lamb: you deal of something called passing, which has been written about a lot and you deal with it in the film. let's watch a you deal with it. thomas allen harris: -- >> dilley with my father's's sister who had very light skin, and she was borrowed by a local schoolteacher who would take her on train trips, and it appeared that her schoolteacher was traveling with some white child. they could sit in a better class of train seat.
she got used to that and in later life, she passed as a white woman. we never had that type of close family ties with her because we were obviously black and she had been per train that she was -- portraying the she was not. brian lamb: how often do you see that today? thomas allen harris: passing? brian lamb: yes? thomas allen harris: i don't know how often you see it today. i think that it still goes on, i think it was a lot more prevalent before the 1950's, in terms of people having common access to jobs. there was an article, and i mentioned "the new york times" earlier, where people have certain types of ethnic names and their resumes get dumped versus more anglo names, that might be more easily described
as a white american versus an african-american and so there are certain levels of passing changing your name, so race is not necessarily as easily readable. and i think that what was interesting to me was around that issue, because there are different types of passing there is passing to get bread for my family, you know, basically work and come back and he with my family, be part of this community, and there are -- and the with my family, be part of this community, and there are other types, where you think this becomes too much for me, and you become somebody else and you have to cut ties and you have to live a lie, 24/seven and so there is a fear of the found out -- 24/7, and so there
is a fear of being found out. so at the roadshow, there were people who had been passing all of their lives, and so they sent these pictures in a box and they said, this is yours. you know what is more important here is the idea that race is a construction, and that we are related biologically, genetically. why do we keep this construction today. -- today? that is more interesting a question. why are we so invested in our racial identity? brian lamb: how about the young people today. do they know much about slavery? thomas allen harris: i don't think they know much about slavery, and i don't think they know much about history in general.
who i made the film for, i think that in many ways, we have people who are finding themselves to attached or removed from history, because they and their families are not necessarily seen as historical agents, and so i really wanted to make a film in which peoples' families, my family, your family, they did stuff that actually changed the course of history. small things to larger things. my great-grandfather worked for fdr and his close cabinet while he was governor in addition to several other governors and i am sure he had some influence with regards to the ideas around race and/or what african-americans could be, and ideas regarding citizenship in terms of african-americans, and i think people, when we don't
necessarily allow them to see that they are historical agents, and they are disempowered, so when i was making this film, i wanted it to be a very experiential project so they could somehow connect with what they were seeing in the film to their own family or to -- family narrative. brian lamb: where do you live today? thomas allen harris: i live outside new york city not far to the appalachian trail. brian lamb: why that location? . because -- thomas allen harris: because i like to hike and i am on the trail with my dog and my partner a lot. brian lamb: where do you get money for this kind of thing? thomas allen harris: being part of the tenure journey was about the money. i was fortunate that the ford foundation came on board and this was the second film that
they supported directly, and the third film that they supported regarding nelson mandela indirectly, public television, this is the, i believe it is the second film that they have supported through its, the independent television service, and there were a number of grants we were able to secure, the new york state council for the arts. brian lamb: the national endowment for the humanities and the arts, what kind of requirements did they put on you when they gave you the grant money to do this kind of thing? did they have any say so on the content? thomas allen harris: say so on the content, so you give a narrative of the project you are creating, and so the judge based on the narrative. brian lamb: how long does that process take? thomas allen harris: months if
not years. brian lamb: you have a film that i read that you are working on, and i want you to tell me why you named it this way. "queer africans seeking exile in canada." i read that on wikipedia, what is that? thomas allen harris: my colleague and i were working on that, and i was advising her and so i am not sure if she is still making a project, but it was a project i was advising her on. brian lamb: if i said this myself, i would be ostracized, "queer africans seeking exile in canada." thomas allen harris: she is canadian, so she is talking about this, but there is also the queer aspect, i am an openly queer person. brian lamb: why do you use queer is that of gay? thomas allen harris: it doesn't
really matter, you could use african-american or black, but i think in terms of civil rights on the continent, people are being killed because of their sexual orientation, and i don't think there is enough support within the lgbt and large lgbt movement, and the larger civil rights movement, to raise the awareness about what is going on there. it is really, really important. brian lamb: more from your film this is part of the story of photographs of slave families "through a lens darkly," let's watch. >> i remember just looking at them over, and over, and over. >> the eyes are one of the most captivating part of the photographs.
all of the subjects are almost always looking straight at the camera. which is something that slaves and free black people could not do in the 18th and 19th century the could not look directly at another white person or their owners. >> she absolutely understands what is happening to her. she absolutely knows already the power of photography. >> i knew that i could not leave them where they were, i could not leave them where i had found them. so i could reconstruct or build a context for them so they could take on a new life, a new imagery, a new meaning. someone would question their historical past, and at the same time repel the forward into the future. that was my responsibility to the family. brian lamb: when did, and i
don't know what you would call it, was it required when a black people or when they were slaves, could not look white people in the eye? thomas allen harris: well i think it was unspoken for the most part, but you have to look at someone in the eye to be on a level field, in terms of equality, and so certainly i don't know necessarily in the north if that was a prevalent practice as much as in the south , that you cannot look directly at someone and say, we are equal. brian lamb: how many, and -- thomas allen harris: in photography, and i just wanted to add, that is something you could do with the photographer and that was made by several people in this film, where
people with the down and say that i am ready to have my picture taken, and in part you are creating a situation for yourself, and in some ways it is a self or credit. -- self-portrait. some people take selfies today and you decide what clothing you are going to wear and which photographer you are going to go to, and those are things that have a lot of meaning and value. we are just teasing that stuff out. brian lamb: back when those photos were taken, were they taken by blacks or whites? thomas allen harris: probably in the south, by both, but we do know that black photographers took many of the photographs of lack families. so by not looking at the works of black photographers, by not celebrating these works, we are missing the evolution of african-american families from
before the end of slavery to the present day and it really hurt as a nation by not having that visual vocabulary, certainly in hollywood, stories come out of hollywood, and we don't have a sense of fullness of who we are as a country. often, as black actors and black directors are told, they have to act in a certain way, rather than actually a certain story. brian lamb: what is the worst thing that someone can say to after watching something like this? i can imagine the best thing they can say to you, but what if someone ceased -- someone says something to you and you say oh my gosh, i can't believe someone would say something like that? thomas allen harris: i think if someone says they don't get the film, or it does not make sense to them, or they don't see the value of the film, and i think in many ways the film serves as
a kind of a reflective surface, so you see, and you bring a certain degree of what you see and what you want to see. brian lamb: here is a little bit on emmett till. have any of these shots been seen before? thomas allen harris: an acclaimed filmmaker, a documentary film maker, made a film on emmett till that came out seven or eight years ago "the murder of emmett till," and there were several other films that were made, so i don't know -- brian lamb: there is one photo in the casket that is, i don't think -- did you mention in there that "jet. magaz -- "jet magazine" wasn't sold the image? thomas allen harris: yes mamie
till said she wanted the casket to be open so she could show people what had been done to her son. >> all those guys that went to photograph the emmett till trial new they were going to intervene in a political and legal process by bringing those cameras in that place. >> after documenting the trial one was able to create a little template -- pamphlet, and that was an important moment for the press and for photographers at that time. >> mamie till allow the press to photograph her son, her unrecognizable son in his casket.
about talking about that as propaganda, but when you look at the history, and you look and see about what mixed communities did during reconstruction, in terms of education, like one of my historians talk about, or the transition between enslaved to being elected -- holding elected, elected office, that is pretty much a miracle, and to have this kind of birth of a nation -- this kind of "birth of a nation," which was produced
30, 40, 50 years after this happened, and created this lack demon as opposed -- black demon as opposed to thinking about how we created this country together. brian lamb: here is a clip from -- and how long was your documentary? thomas allen harris: 92 minutes. brian lamb: here is one minute. thomas allen harris: my face reflected in their faces. our gaze meeting across time. giving me the power to use my camera lens together with my community to create an homage of an enduring legacy of self affirmation and self invention. >> we have a responsibility in our image making capacity, which
is where we share the wealth of who we are. we have the responsibility to whiten the path to open up all of those possibilities to what blackness can be. now. brian lamb: who is the woman talking just at the end there? thomas allen harris: kerry weems, a wonderful artist. brian lamb: when is this going to broadcast? thomas allen harris: it will be broadcasted on february 16, and it is available online through first run features which is our district it and i believe a dvd is coming out at the end of january and will be on sale throughout february and moving forward. brian lamb: last question to you, when you look back at this 10 year experience putting this together, what in your own mind
changed the most over that time. ? thomas allen harris: -- time period? thomas allen harris: what change the most was my viewpoint, because when they started i had a lot of anger, and that started when i went around the country and around the death of my father, and i think what changed for me was the embrace of my creative power. that is where the solution is. so for me the solution is not in the gun, the solution is the camera how do we reframe narratives, how do we reframe our community, how do we build up and nurture our community as we begin to move into a new space? brian lamb: i always read that you have a camera with you, do you have one with you today? thomas allen harris: yes i do. brian lamb: what kind?
thomas allen harris: a canon s ureshot d-16. brian lamb: our guest was thomas allen harris and he crated the film "through a lens darkly: black photographers and the emergence of a people." thomas allen harris: thank you brian. announcer: four free transcripts or to have your comments about this program, visit q7a.org. -- q&a.org. transcript are also available through our podcast. announcer: hear are previous interviews you might like. author dick lehr examines the