Double Exposure

The National Museum of African American History and Culture has amassed an impressive collection of over 20,000 photographs to support the Museum’s Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA). Double Exposure, a multi-volume series based on NMAAHC’s photography collections explores themes presented in the new museum. Each volume features approximately 50 photographs, a foreword by Director Lonnie Bunch, and a brief introductory essays by a photography or topic specialist.


Vol. VII - Pictures with Purpose

Editor(s):  Laura Coyle and Michèle Gates Moresi
Author(s):  Laura Coyle, Michèle Gates Moresi, and Tanya Sheehan
Year:  2019

Pictures with Purpose, explores images from the NMAAHC’s collection of nineteenth and early twentieth-century photography. The volume looks at how early photographs of and by African Americans were circulated and used, and considers their meaning, for the sitter, for the photographer, and for the owner of the photograph. Particularly significant is how African Americans used photography to shape their image within and beyond their communities.

Essays include: Foreword by Lonnie Bunch; The Social Lives of Photographs by Laura Coyle and Michèle Gates Moresi; and Vernacular Photography: A Plurality of Purposes by Tanya Sheehan.  

Image of a man next to a post tightening the knot on his necktie.

Vol. VI - Everyday Beauty

Editor(s):  Laura Coyle and Michèle Gates Moresi
Author(s):  Robin Givhan
Year:  2018

Everyday Beauty features images that pay visual tribute to the extraordinary style and aesthetic of African American figures, famous and anonymous, by highlighting themes of self-representation, resilience, and civic engagement. The photographs depict people across generations showing how staged and candid moments can be both beautiful and precious.

Essays include: Foreword by Lonnie Bunch and Living Beauty by Robin Givhan.

Cover of Fighting for Freedom, featuring a photograph of a WWI solder with the word HERO inscribed.

Vol. V - Fighting for Freedom

Editor(s):  Laura Coyle and Michèle Gates Moresi
Author(s):  Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr. and Gail Lumet Buckley
Year:  2017

Fighting for Freedom looks at African Americans in uniform, from the Civil War to the War in Iraq. This selection of photographs illustrates stories of patriotism, courage, and dignity, and explores the lives and challenges of African Americans in the United States military.

Essays include: Foreword by Lonnie Bunch; Pride in Service by Major General Charles F. Bolden Jr, USMC Retired; and Heroes and Trailblazers by Gail Lumet Buckley.

Vol. IV - Picturing Children

Editor(s):  Laura Coyle and Michèle Gates Moresi
Author(s):  Marian Wright Edelman and Ivory A. Toldson
Year:  2016

Picturing Children features a diverse selection of photographs, including spontaneous records of intimate family moments, playtime, communal activities, and portraits. The images speak not only to the past, but also to our evolving concepts of childhood and the engagement of youth in our society.

Essays include: Foreword by Lonnie Bunch; Our Turn by Marian Wright Edelman; and Picture This by Ivory A. Toldson.

Vol. III - African American Women

Editor(s):  Laura Coyle and Michèle Gates Moresi
Author(s):  Kinshasha Holman Conwill and Natasha Trethewey
Year:  2015

African American Women celebrates portraits and candid photographs of African American women including celebrities, activists, and historic figures who deserve to be better known. This issue portrays the dignity, joy, heartbreak, resilience, commitment, and sacrifice of women of all ages and backgrounds. 

Essays Include: Foreword, by Lonnie Bunch; Picturing Grace, by Kinshasha Holman Conwill; and Ars Poetica, by Natasha Trethewey

Vol. II - Civil Rights and the Promise of Equality

Editor(s):  Laura Coyle and Michèle Gates Moresi
Author(s):  John Lewis and Bryan Stevenson
Year:  2015

Civil Rights and the Promise of Equality features iconic, as well as moving but less well-known, photographs of pivotal Civil Rights events with work by Spider Martin, Charles Moore, and Ernest Withers among other noteworthy and newly discovered photographers. 

Essays include: Foreword, by Lonnie Bunch; Portrait of a Revolution, by Congressman John Lewis; and Reflections for a New Generation, by Bryan Stevenson.

Vol. I - Through the African American Lens

Editor(s):  Laura Coyle and Michèle Gates Moresi
Author(s):  Rhea L. Combs and Deborah Willis
Year:  2015

Through the African American Lens provides an overview of the photography collection supporting the Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts and encompasses the Museum’s overarching thematic selections – History, Community, and Culture.

Essays include: Foreword by Lonnie Bunch; Self-Representation and Hope: The Power of the Picture by Rhea L. Combs; and America’s Lens, by Deborah Willis.