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Moments in Time: Eli Reed and Jamel Shabazz

March 30, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm CDT


The Moody College Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and School of Journalism and Media present Moments in Time: Eli Reed and Jamel Shabazz, a conversation with two photographic legends The two pioneering African American photographers will reflect on their respective artistic journeys, using photography as a medium to creatively document and shed light upon diverse communities around the globe.

The event is moderated by Ja’nell N. Ajani, curator of Jamel Shabazz’s Peace to the Queen: A Retrospective at the Carver Museum and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of American Studies.

View a recording of this event.

Eli Reed

Eli Reed was born in the US and studied pictorial illustration at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, graduating in 1969. In 1982 he was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. At Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, he studied political science, urban affairs, and the prospects for peace in Central America.  

Reed began photographing as a freelancer in 1970. His work from El Salvador, Guatemala and other Central American countries attracted the attention of Magnum in 1982. He was nominated to the agency the following summer and became a full member in 1988. 

In the same year, Reed photographed the effects of poverty on America’s children for a film documentary called Poorest in the Land of Plenty, narrated by Maya Angelou. He went on to work as a stills and specials photographer for major motion pictures. His video documentary Getting Out was shown at the New York Film Festival in 1993 and honored by the 1996 Black Film-makers Hall of Fame International Film and Video Competition in the documentary category. 

Reed’s special reports include a long-term study on Beirut (1983-87), which became his first, highly acclaimed book Beirut, City of Regrets, the ousting of Baby Doc Duvalier in Haiti (1986), US military action in Panama (1989), the Walled City in Hong Kong and, perhaps most notably, his documentation of African-American experience over more than twenty years. Spanning the 1970s through the end of the 1990s, his book Black in America includes images from the Crown Heights riots and the Million Man March. 

Reed has lectured and taught at the International Center of Photography, Columbia University, New York University, Harvard University, and the University of Texas at Austin.  

Jamel Shabazz

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Jamel Shabazz was moved by photographers Leonard Freed, James Van Der Zee, and Gordon Parks’ documentation of African American community. At the age of fifteen, Shabazz picked up his first camera and started to photograph his peers, embarking on a life-long mission to extensively capture various aspects of life in New York City, from youth culture to a wide range of social conditions. Due to its spontaneity and uniqueness, the streets and subway system became backdrops for many of his photographs. 

Shabazz says his goal is to contribute to the preservation of world history and culture. He has shown in over two dozen solo exhibitions; Men of Honor, A Time Before Crack, Pieces of a Man, Represent, Crossing 125th Street, Sights in the City, Back in the Days, and Seconds of my Life, which have been shown from Argentina to The Netherlands, England, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, and throughout the United States.  

An even longer list of group showings include Art Basel Miami, Brooklyn Museum, Newark Museum, CONTACT Photography Festival, Victoria and Albert Museum, Paris Photo, Studio Museum in Harlem, Duke University, and the Adidas Foto Fest in Ethiopia. 

Over the years Jamel has volunteered, working with a wide range of organizations centered on inspiring young people in the field of photography and social responsibility. In addition, he has been a teaching artist with Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, Bronx Museum’s Teen Council youth program, International Center of Photography, Friends of the Island Academy and Studio Museum in Harlem’s Expanding the Walls Project. Adding to his community service he has also worked extensively with the Mural Arts Program in Germantown, Pennsylvania, culminating into a mural of his images which are presently on display. 

Jamel has lectured at Fashion Institute of Technology; International Center of Photography; Brooklyn Historic Foundation; Museum of Modern Art; Parsons School of Design, The New School; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library; and McGill University, Montreal. Shabazz is the author of eight monographs and has contributed to over two dozen others. He is presently working on several new book projects and a series of screenplays.

Ja’nell Ajani

Ja’nell N. Ajani is a proud graduate of Spelman College and holds a MA in Africana Studies with a concentration in Museum Studies as well as an MA in Studio Art, Photography from New York University. Currently a Ph.D. candidate in the American Studies Department at The University of Texas at Austin, Ms. Ajani’s research focuses on the amorphous boundaries between art, commerce, and historicizing artistic legacies with an emphasis on black and brown artist estates. 

Through the development of public programming, conferences, and symposia, Ms. Ajani creates opportunities for global BIPOC voices that aims to elevate traditional exclusionary spaces to reflect the world’s rich cultural engagement. As a curator and scholar, Ja’nell Ajani fosters conversations within and beyond local communities, academia, popular culture, youth organizations and the arts.  

As co-founder of the BASQUIAT: Still Fly @ 55 project, Ms. Ajani produced a series of programming culminating in a symposium based on the consumption and commodification of the artistic legacy of Jean-Michel Basquiat. In addition to her work on Basquiat, Ja’nell Ajani has produced special events in partnership with the Austin Film Festival, SXSW Conference and Festivals, The George Washington Carver Museum, Performa, Times Square Arts, The Brooklyn Museum, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The Studio Museum in Harlem, WBAI Radio 99.5 FM NYC, and The Museum of Modern Art.


March 30, 2022
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm CDT
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Moody College Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
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Target Audience
Alumni, Faculty, Staff, Students, General Public
Creative, Department of Radio-Television-Film, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Moody College, School of Journalism and Media, Storytelling

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