La Baker Redux

Josephine Baker by Huene, 1927
Josephine Baker by Huene, 1927

The perennial interest in our first black international star seems to be on an uptick again. Huffington Post put this style feature-ette about Josephine Baker up today–with a very glossed over mention of her “dark skin” when in fact the fairness of her skin was just as problematic: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/josephine-baker-beauty-photos_n_3267033.html Colorism anyone?

Another post appeared on the Huffington site recently with a photo of La Baker in an ostrich-drawn carriage–yes, ostrich: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/27/josephine-baker-in-an-ostrich-carriage_n_2966419.html

As specialist on this area, I find the enduring fascination with La Baker fascinating. In the public imagination and the scholarly literature, La Baker has become touchstone for the era that far exceeds in some respects the fame that she had during her heyday between the Wars.

A CATTY ASIDE: Various links on the site suggest the very real possibility that Rihanna may be tapped to star in a biopic (quel horreur!)

Advertisements

Black Ops

My CAA talk went very well according to the feedback that I received. I focused on how shadows assumed a new expressive role as a racial metaphor in modernist photography. I previously shared some of the images that I was considering. Here are some of the ones that were included in my presentation:

A made particular note of the fact that shadows ultimately acquired their own autonomy in images like this:

Ruby Keeler