Photoville spotlights untold stories of Black and Brown master printmakers

Russell Frederick (left) and Anderson Zaca.  Givaldo Aires
Russell Frederick (left) and Anderson Zaca.
Givaldo Aires

The DarkRoom Masters, a documentary video series featuring Black and Brown master photographers and printers, launched over the weekend in the “10 Under 10” at New York City’s famed photography festival, Photoville.

The video series was featured in the opening night events at Bridge Park, Pier 1, on Saturday, Sept. 18.

The DarkRoom Masters is a newly launched project by local photographers and director Russell Frederick and Anderson Zaca.

Under the “safe light”of the dark room, Frederick and Zaca take the audience on a fine art journey to discuss traditional printmaking, photography and the politics of printing.

“The unique documentary is a cross between LeBron James’s The Shop and Kamau Bell’s United Shades of America, taking an authentic and up close look at the lives and craftsmanship of some of the country’s best photographers and printers who have been overlooked and undervalued by the industry,” said DarkRoom Masters in a statement on Monday.

“For too long, the rich legacy of these photographers has not received visibility or appropriate recognition, leaving so many of this elite class of printmakers unknown and under-valued,” said Fredrick, an educator and vice president of Kamoinge Collective.

Through banter and laughs, Zaca and Russell explore the unique techniques of traditional printmaking, the history and legacy of Black and Brown efforts to gain recognition and the political significance of these photographers’ body of work.

“We really wanted to capture these masters doing what they do best, shooting and printing. And for us, as both students and colleagues, we are able to get real about cultural identity and the evolution of the craft,” said Zaca.

The series feature Beuford Smith, Joseph Rodriguez and Adama D. Fawundu in their element at Penumbra Foundation Studios.

Together, Russell and Anderson take an interdisciplinary approach as educators, activists anthropologists, exploring the critical role these photographers played in changing the perception of communities of color by sharing their distinct view of the world.

“We feel blessed to be in conversation with our friends, our mentors and our contemporaries about the past and the future of our art, and the industry and the significance of our contributions to the cannon of photography,” the producers said.

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