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Celebrating Juneteenth 

Photographers Chester Higgins and Lou Jones present unique visual perspectives on Africa

Monday, June 17, 2024 
7:00 pm Eastern Time


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Photo by Chester Higgins
Photo by Chester Higgins. Solar Aksumite Obelisk in Ethiopian highlands stands as a Royal tomb marker. 2016. © Chester Higgins. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Lou Jones
Photo by Lou Jones from panAFRICAproject. Windhoek, Namibia.

Social Documentary Network recognizes and celebrates Juneteenth in this special one-hour Documentary Matters program. We will feature two exceptional photographers, Chester Higgins and Lou Jones, who have both photographed extensively in Africa, each through a different lens. Each photographer will share captivating photos and stories about their experiences photographing in Africa. We will gain insight into why each of these photographers has felt compelled to go beyond typical photography and delve deeper into their subjects.

Lou Jones, founder of the panAFRICAproject, will discuss his ongoing dedication to photographing and documenting the diverse individuals living and working across the African continent today and will present some of his exceptional photographs from two editions of his panAFRICAproject book that create a contemporary visual portrait of modern Africa

Chester Higgins will discuss the making of his book Sacred Nile, a story of our collective spiritual imagination and practice. Higgins celebrates the agency of people of African descent and their influence on the foundation of Western religion. His images illustrate how faith migrated up and down the River Nile from Ethiopia to Egypt leaving vestiges of ancient practice in today's worship. This visual portrayal of faith reexamines our spiritual beginnings.

Chester Higgins

Chester Higgins

For the past five decades, artist Chester Higgins, Jr. has been using his camera to search for the unseen — “that which is innate within all things and informs the appearance of our world.” 

His passion for ordinary people and the rituals that enrich our lives are prominent... “It is inside simple moments where I look for windows into larger meaning,” he says. “Art is an expression of the soul that gives visual definition to an experience.” The images in “Unseen Spirit” are intimate, personal scenes in which most of the subjects appear unaware of the camera. Using light, which “energizes and informs everything it touches,” Higgins gives voice to the essence of what he photographs.

Higgins has spent over five decades documenting the African American experience, past and present. Born in Fairhope, Alabama, Higgins worked as a photographer at the New York Times for nearly forty years. Published collections of his photography include Black Woman; Feeling the Spirit: Searching the World for the People of Africa; Elder Grace: The Nobility of Aging; Echo of the Spirit: A Photographer’s Journey; and his latest book, Sacred Nile.


Lou Jones

Lou JonesLou Jones maintains a studio in Boston, MA, where has photographed for Fortune 500 corporations, advertising agencies, national and international companies. He has completed assignments for magazines and publishers such as Time/Life, National Geographic, Fortune and Paris Match and covered thirteen Olympic Games. Currently Lou Jones has been documenting the entire continent of Africa with his ambitious panAFRICA project. Jones has received awards from organizations such as Communication Arts Magazine, Art Directors Club of Boston, Travel Photographer of the Year, and International Photographic Council (United Nations). Nikon recognizes Jones as a "Legend Behind the Lens" and Lowepro has honored him as a "Champion". He has lectured and taught workshops all over the world including at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City, the Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University, and Estúdio Brasil in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The first book Jones published, Final Exposure: Portraits from Death Row, earned him the Ehrmann Award from Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty.