Billede af Deborah Willis og Nina Cramer

Photo: Det Kgl. Bibliotek

International Photographer's Stage with Deborah Willis (US) in conversation with Nina Cramer

The world-famous photographer Deborah Willis is a leading figure in the cultural history of photography and has a particular focus on the representation of women and African Americans in art.

Body and beauty

Both as a researcher, communicator and photographer and writer, Deborah Willis is internationally recognised for her studies of the representation and production of the African American body and history. These are themes that are expressed both in her art and research, and which are unfolded in books such as The Black Civil War Soldier (2021), Black: A Celebration of a Culture (2014), Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present (2009).

Willis' work is a strong starting point for a more diverse representation in art. This is precisely the starting point for the conversation in The Black Diamond, which will be about the body and art, but also about beauty - a concept Willis has continuously worked with.


With her research and visibility, Deborah Willis has had a great impact on the representation of minorities in photography and has been a growing source of inspiration for other artists, including the world name Zanele Muholi. South African Muholi visited International Photographer's Stage in the summer of 2022, where she talked about her mission in putting activism, ethnicity and vulnerable identities at the centre. Willis and Muholi share a mission to rewrite the perspective of visual cultural history, including queer, African-American and corporeal history.


Deborah Willis

Deborah Willis is an internationally renowned photographer, writer, curator. Willis is a university professor and head of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Additionally, she is director of NYU's Center for Black Visual Culture/Institute of African American Affairs. Willis's art and groundbreaking research focus on cultural histories that imagine the black body, women and gender, and she has received a wide range of international and American prizes and awards for her work.

Nina Cramer

Nina Cramer is a PhD student at the University of Copenhagen's Department of Arts and Cultural Studies. In her research, she deals with the art history of the African diaspora in the Nordics from the end of the 18th century until today (diaspora can be defined as a group that lives outside the homeland). Her PhD thesis deals with Afrodiasporic contemporary artistic practices and discourses in Denmark between the 1980s and 2020s.

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