When and where do we “see” the emergence of a black German subject? Where do we encounter a visual instantiation of a black subject who is internal to German society and partakes of a relationship to this society that is neither transplanted, transitional, nor transitory, but instead firmly grounded within it? In early-twentieth-century Germany, one important site where this subject emerges is through the medium of photography—specifically, black German family photography. Often considered one of the most mundane forms of photographic imaging, family photos function as a complex site of black European diasporic formation. This essay analyzes a series of images that register blacks as Europeans, yet framed through the lens of national and familial idioms that presents them as undeniable members of German society. In so doing, the article highlights both the tensions of diasporic formation, as well as the coconstitution of racial and gendered subjects therein.

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