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Carrie Mae Weems in "Compassion"

“Narrative and storytelling is in the blood,” declares Carrie Mae Weems. Through a mixture of archival personal photos and the artist’s first major photo-documentary series, Family Pictures and Stories, Weems takes the viewer on a personal journey through her childhood in the 1950s to a broader examination of “the history of black subjects in photography” in the series From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried.

Continually innovating, Weems has since adopted new strategies of picture making in the series Constructing History: A Requiem to Mark the Moment in which students at the Savannah College of Art and Design reenact pivotal Civil Rights and new moments from the past forty years. The segment follows the artist back to her home in Syracuse, New York, where she is seen staging the second chapter of the project in an ornate hotel ballroom, focusing on the drama of the 2008 presidential campaign.

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Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Carrie Mae Weems

Carrie Mae Weems’s vibrant explorations of photography, video, and verse breathe new life into traditional narrative forms like social documentary, tableaux, self-portrait, and oral history. Eliciting epic contexts from individually framed moments, Weems debunks racist and sexist labels, examines the relationship between power and aesthetics, and uses personal biography to articulate broader truths. Whether adapting or appropriating archival images, restaging recognizable photographs, or creating altogether new scenes, she traces an essential indirect history of the depiction of African Americans for more than a century.

“Narrative and storytelling is in the blood.”

Carrie Mae Weems

Memories

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