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'Through a Lens Darkly' explores African American 'self invention' through photographs

Photographer Thomas Allen Harris
Photographer Thomas Allen Harris
Russell Frederick, Chimpanzee Productions
Photographer Thomas Allen Harris
Untitled Photograph by Lyle Ashton Harris and Thomas Allen Harris
Lyle Ashton Harris and Thomas Allen Harris
Photographer Thomas Allen Harris
Photography by Renee Cox as seen in "Through a Lens Darkly"
Screen Shot from "Through a Lens Darkly"

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Photographs are the keepers of our histories, from life changing moments to times we'd rather forget.

But images also tell larger stories of social and political change.

A new documentary "Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People" does just that. 

The film, which is being considered for the short list for a Documentary Academy Award, is the first to explore the role of photography in shaping the identity, aspirations and social emergence of African Americans from slavery to present day.

Photographer Thomas Allen Harris is the creative force behind the project. He told Take Two that, growing up, there were very few affirmative images of African Americans. He was, therefore, drawn to photos of "all kinds of things that affirmed our humanity and our self invention." Now he shares those types of images -- of the ordinary and the extraordinary -- in "Through a Lens Darkly."

Watch the trailer:

"Through A Lens Darkly" premieres in Los Angeles on Friday, Nov. 14 at Laemmle Playhouse 7.

Join Thomas Allen Harris for a discussion at the West Hollywood Library on Saturday, November 15 for TALKING CLOUD: (RE)MEMORY, DIS-MEMORY, AND THE NEW-OLD ARCHIVE(S). Click here for more information.