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Eli Reed

Black in America

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Summary

In this film, acclaimed photojournalist Eli Reed, Reed, the first black photographer for Magnum, reflects on his early beginnings as a photographer and discusses his poignant work.

Documenting his mother in front of the Christmas tree, Reed took his first photograph at age ten. After his mother passed away two years later, the photo became a visual memento he frequently reminisced throughout the years. As Reed shares, “It was not until the photos of Magnum Agency caught my eye did I consider being a professional photographer.” Since Magnum photographers were known for their great sense of composition and attention to detail, Reed could relate to the photos he saw, he describes the photos as being both real and artistic.

Reed’s provocative photographs of people and events are portrayed with emotion and sensitivity. While on a photo essay assignment, he documents the story of a small family by getting close to his subjects, underlining the emotional connection between the individuals. Not only does Reed tell an amazing story with his photos, each scene framed by a great sense of composition, it is his incredible insight and true sense empathy for the people he sees through his lens that tells us much more about the photographer and his subjects.

Reed notes, “Of deep heartfelt and personal value is my book project ‘“Black in America”’, a succession of photographs documenting the broader picture of black life in America, embedded into an historical context. With his photographs, Reed does not merely want document a moment in time, but more so, make someone want to “go there”.