What is the relationship between photography and diaspora? How did this relationship stave off the catastrophe of black life? This essay uses the nineteenth-century photographic form of the stereograph as a hermeneutic. Through an examination of two iconic photographs of Pan-African leader Marcus Garvey, the essay shows the role that Garvey and his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) gave photography to both document and confer consistency and legitimacy to the leader and his movement in the midst of organizational tumult. The organization broadly, and Garvey especially, used photography to mobilize racial feeling and to assert a vision of black modernity. The essay then considers the collaboration between Harlem studio photographer James VanDerZee and Garvey, who, through the UNIA, hired VanDerZee to document the organization's activities in the summer of 1924. More capaciously, these pairings encourage us to think about the relationship between photography and diaspora.
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Leigh Raiford; Marcus Garvey in Stereograph. Small Axe 1 March 2013; 17 (1 (40)): 263–280. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-1665479
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