On Saturday February 21st, Thomas Allen Harris delivered the final program of the Integrated Media Association – Public Media Conference held at the West Peachtree Plaza in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.
Following a screening of excerpts from the “Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People” documentary and multimedia outreach project – Thomas Allen Harris reviewed photos that over a dozen Atlanta families brought to the presentation.
Before the event began, a small selection of images were carefully scanned by volunteers from the National Black Programming Consortium – New Media Institute. After the screening, Thomas Allen Harris invited several individuals, from an audience of well over 60 people, to join him on the dais and discuss why they choose to share their family photos with the group.
Participants included Kerrie Cotten Williams – Archivist at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History and her mother Gwendolyn C. Walker; Dr. Doris Derby noted Civil Rights Movement photographer and director of African-American Student Services and Programs at Georgia State University; and Atlanta photographer Susan J. Ross – who is known as the “photo-griot” in addition to numerous families from the greater Atlanta area.
A diversity of people, like Cara and Michael Reese of Atlanta, brought their entire family to watch clips from Thomas Allen Harris’ documentary on African American photographers and to share images of their own. Within a lively and supportive atmosphere Harris projected selected scans of the photographs that people had brought to the event as the audience members chimed in with their comments and insights.
During their time in Atlanta, Harris and the “Through A Lens Darkly” team made contact with almost two dozen local libraries, universities, media outlets, and individuals. With the resources and contacts gathered in Atlanta, the filmmakers will return to Georgia in the late spring to conduct more extension interviews and research.
Atlanta was a testing ground of sorts for the “Through A Lens Darkly” multimedia community engagement initiative. Harris and his team hope that the ‚ÄòAtlanta Experience‚Äô will be a fruitful experiment in working with both local and national community partners to craft a multigenerational, informative, and entertaining event where people can share and learn about themselves and African American photography. Similar gatherings will be organized in cities and towns across North America in addition to online and virtual versions of the “Through A Lens Darkly” Family Photo Day.
For more information on the “Through A Lens Darkly” documentary and multimedia outreach initiative, visit the “Through A Lens Darkly” website, Blog, and Social Networking site. All are Welcome to participate!!