Daisy Studio. Studio portrait, 1940s–50s. Photograph: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Featured Image
In 1861, African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass took the stage at Boston’s Tremont Temple Baptist church and declared: “To the eye and spirit, pictures are just what poetry and music are to the ear and heart.”
It was part of his speech Pictures and Progress, one of the most historic lectures on contemporary photography where Douglass talked about how photography could be a powerful force of positive self-representation to overcome racism during the second world war.
His spellbinding words are the inspiration for the exhibition African American Portraits: Photographs from the 1940s and 1950s, which opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on 26 June.