Embodying Self as Subject with Sama Alshaibi and Deborah Willis

​​ ​
​ ​
​ ​ ​ ​ Photograph of Sama Alshaibi (at left) courtesy of Neil Chowdhury. Photograph of Deb Willis (at right) by Adam Ryder.
​ ​ ​


5:30 p.m. Oct. 27, 2022

The question of the photographed subject presents a central ethical and political challenge today that is invariably bound up with centuries of image production, with the lenses through which we have constructed our selves and another’s self. Sama Alshaibi and Deborah Willis will take an immersive look into the visual and identity politics of portraiture and self-portraiture, into imagining the body as a setting in which political and personal narratives intersect and unfold. Together they will inquire into the registers of photography and the human experience—of gender, race, religion, politics and art. What does it mean to excavate image histories that simultaneously revise the sense of ourselves today? How, and to what extent, can we be attentive to what stories live in the body? In what ways are we able to tackle such urgent issues as migrations, borders, and power through photography? Theirs is work not only vital to the civil discourses of our moment, but also of deep significance as we look to yesterday’s discourses and forward to tomorrow’s.

This CCP event is presented with the generous support from the College of Fine Arts Diversity and Inclusion Grant.


About Deborah Willis

Deborah Willis, PhD, is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She is the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.  She is the author of The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship and Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present, among others. Professor Willis’s curated exhibitions include: "Framing Moments in the KIA," "Migrations and Meanings in Art", "Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits” at the International Center of Photography; Out of Fashion Photography; Framing Beauty at the Henry Art Gallery and "Reframing Beauty: Intimate Moments" at Indiana University.