(American, b. 1944)
Gelatin silver print
Image: 34.9 x 27.2 cm (13 3/4 x 10 11/16 in.); Paper: 35.4 x 27.7 cm (13 15/16 x 10 7/8 in.)
Dudley P. Allen Fund 2021.107
Roberta Flack was awarded a full scholarship to Howard University on the basis of her talent as a classical pianist.
Anthony Barboza’s portrayal of the singer is a radical departure from commercial portrait norms of the 1970s, exploiting an extreme close-up and bright highlights that sculpt the artist’s face out of deep shadows. Flack appears in the throes of singing, eyes closed but lips open and outlined with a thin line of light. The image is a study in blackness, exploring Black skin and the extreme ranges of black and white photography.
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