OCTOBER 16, 2017 8:30 AMby JACQUELINE ALEMANY
Nydia Blas, from the series The Girls Who Spun Gold, Ithaca, New York, 2016Courtesy of Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora
In 1985, Arthur Ashe’s widow, the photographer Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, published a historical survey that she called Viewfinders: Black Women Photographers. Viewfinders chronicled the work of the (largely disregarded) black female photographers that Moutoussamy-Ashe had meticulously unearthed, dating back to 1866. Now, 30 years after Moutoussamy-Ashe’s book, two Brooklyn-born photographers are picking up where she left off, with Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora, an anthology featuring the work of more than 100 female photographers of African descent from around the world.
The idea took root over a decade ago on a spring day in 2006, as a pair of best friends sat on the living room floor of an apartment in Crown Heights, flipping through Viewfinders. “Imagine if we had a book of all female black photographers. Imagine that,” Adama Delphine Fawundu recalled musing aloud to Laylah Amatullah Barryn.
Fawundu and Barryn fell in love with Viewfinders early in their careers. They regarded it as a bible of sorts, and treasured how it cataloged and highlighted the work of women artists whom they admired. But they also chafed at its singular existence. “A Forgotten Group of photographers Is Revealed in Black and White,” read one 1986 review of the book. “Forgotten” was an descriptor Barryn and Fawundu were determined to avoid.
Original Article: https://www.vogue.com/article/black-female-photographers-mfon