Dawoud Bey
[Photographer, b. 1953, Queens, New York, lives in Chicago.]

 Black people have been killed for directing their gaze at the wrong person. I want my subjects to reclaim their right to look, to see, to be seen. 
 People say don’t stare. Through the photos, not only do I stare, but I allow viewers to stare at the subject, to see things that they cannot see with a casual glance. 
 I always wanted my photographs to challenge the status quo, to contest the kinds of images that existed in popular culture... 
 Improvisational things about picture-making... learned from working with the small camera early on have served me well in being able to think quickly when making [portraits]. 
 If done well, I believe the photographic representation of the human subject has the potential to be more revealing than what is revealed by the eye alone, since the human glance is usually a momentary one. 
 While I have devised various formal strategies for articulating [my] concerns, I think fundamentally the work is driven by a basic curiosity. I seek to find out things about people by making photographs of them.