Lorna Simpson is a significant figure in a generation of artists who came to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s whose work addresses issues of identity. Her practice, which includes photography, text, film and video, explores issues of race, gender and sexuality, often in the broader context of particular socio-political moments.
Photo Booth is a multi-part installation comprising fifty found photo booth portraits predominantly depicting black men and fifty ink drawings on paper of the same dimensions as the photographs. The elements are each individually framed and they are hung on the wall in a deliberately loose and irregular cloud-like shape.
The photographs are all small-scale black and white photo booth portraits taken in the 1940s. The historical specificity of the images was important to Simpson. She has said, ‘The ’40s, in American culture, were a tough time in terms of life, work, Jim Crow laws, segregation and lynchings…