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Good And Bad Hair


In a time when image is indeed everything, our personal appearance has a tremendous effect on nearly every aspect of our lives on a daily basis. Our choice of hairstyle can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection by groups and individuals. The choices made by African Americans are particularly charged, often affecting the wearer and the viewer in unique and sometimes life-altering ways.


Good And Bad Hair is my breakthrough monograph that features sixty photographs of African American men, women and children from nine different regions of the United States made over a six-year period. The portraits highlight a dynamic form of personal expression and isolate what amounts to a bold, assertive departure from the common definition of American beauty that excludes the physical features of many people of African descent. This narrow definition of beauty has created race-based standards for what is considered “good” and “bad” hair. At the same time, Good And Bad Hair is a reflection on the general societal role of hair, adornment and personal identity across class, race and gender.