Deborah Willis, Ph.D., is chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Professor Willis and has an affiliated appointment as University Professor with the College of Arts and Sciences, Africana Studies also at NYU. Professor Willis has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Fletcher, and MacArthur fellowships, the Infinity Award in Writing from the International Center for Photography, and recipient of the Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation Award. Named one of the "100 Most Important People in Photography" by American Photography magazine she is one of the nation's leading historians of African American photography and curators of African American culture. Willis's books include Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery, with Barbara Krauthamer, Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present, and many others.
Her newest book, Out [o] Fashion Photography: Embracing Beauty was released by the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington Press, and a co-authored project, Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery, was released by Temple University Press. Among her other notable projects are Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers - 1840 to the Present, A Small Nation of People: W.E.B. DuBois and African American Portraits of Progress, The Black Female Body in Photography, Let Your Motto be Resistance, and Obama: the Historic Campaign in Photographs. This fall, Dr. Willis curated the traveling exhibition Posing Beauty in African American Culture, which was based on her book Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890's to the Present and has been on tour in the United States for four years. Michelle Obama, The First Lady in Photographs received the 2010 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work Biography/Autobiography. Professor Willis lives in New York.