Cover Image: The African Lookbook

The African Lookbook

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Member Reviews

I found myself questioning the way I view images of African women I grew up with and appreciate this book for that. The historical context was also fantastic.
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The African Lookbook by Catherine E. McKinley is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid-November.

150 years of African women’s fashion, design, and textile arts - McKinley goes into delineation of social class, disposable funds, and interprets photographs. There is so much beauty in the subject matter and presentation, but yet also fetishization and speculation of bare flesh.
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After 150 years of photography of African women being used for titillation, mockery and other ugly goals, this fascinating book compiles historic pictures of African women from 1870–1970 that instead celebrated who they really were. It's full of striking portraits and informative text about this complicated history. While the continent of Africa has many countries, most of these women are from a handful of them and give a glimpse into these countries' fashions, traditions, cultures and more. The author is African American and Jewish, and works hard to incorporate respectful photos that really show the souls of these women of all ages.

I read a temporary digital ARC of this book for review.
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Evocative and stirring. One does not often considered pictures when thinking of the soul. The pictures within this book provide glimpses into the souls of those captured within. There are stories accompanying each photo can vary in length and depth. The true prize are the photos. There are some slanderous words used by the photographers and some intimate shots of women that can be unsettling.  The book is a jewel.
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