8. Sheila Pree Bright, Untitled #3, from the Suburbia series

8. Sheila Pree Bright, Untitled #3, from the Suburbia series

2005 chromogenic prints, 24 x 30 inches
[courtesy of the artist and the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art]

Untitled #5

Sheila Pree Bright was born in 1967 in the city of Waycross, GA. After earning a BS from the University of Missouri in 1998 and an MFA in photography from Georgia State University in 2003, she went on to win awards such as the Center Prize from the Santa Fe Center of Photography. Bright’s photographs engage themes of identity in contemporary African American culture, and encompass narratives of race, class, gender, social justice, and intergenerational relationships. She is best known for complex, meticulously constructed photographic series such as Young Americans, Plastic Bodies, and Suburbia.*

Untitled #3 is part of Bright’s Suburbia series, which examines stereotypes in representations of Black identity by training a lens on upper-class and middle-class African American family homes in suburban areas. Here, Bright reveals only the corner of a pale room, where a brief reflection of a woman is visible in a mirror in the background. Two dolls peacefully rest in a cushioned chair, and the carefully framed vintage portrait provides a sense of days gone by. By focusing on inanimate objects, Bright conveys a subtle, intimate, and poignant sense of “home.”

—Nalani Dowling

*The biographical portion of this entry includes text by Nalani Dowling and Camille Ragland.