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"Like his photographic influences--James Van Der Zee, Gordon Parks, and Leonard Freed, among others--Shabazz shares the ability to extend his perception of historical time across registers: from the moment he captures his images to their sequencing in monographs through the process of sorting and presenting work out of his archive to make an argument that pushes the status quo. His practice of naming his influences and riffing on their iconic images is a sincere form of intellectual and artistic respect. Shabazz carries the mantle of his received tradition even as he adapts to shift with changes in the art form. In turn, the uses of his photographs are far reaching as well--from album covers to fashion campaigns and, most powerfully, as they take their place in museum collections such as the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. With extensive global audiences and interlocutors for his work, he also regularly connects with his admirers on social media and on trips abroad, sometimes reconnecting with the subjects of his photography from earlier decades. In these ways Shabazz's work, while deeply concerned with the passage and organization of time, has crossed multiple borders and thus achieved a rare form of timelessness. Shabazz's career continues to evolve as a long arc. His immense archive gains new layers of meaning through each project as he continues to document the mechanisms and movements of history. He continually produces new possibilities for historical reflection, awareness, and action. The pieces of his lifelong artistic practice cohere across time through long-established modes of connection, from encounter to encounter, image to image, and project to project. In short, through his use of photography, Shabazz shapes history."
-Excerpt from Reflecting Forward by Paul M. Farber
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