His exhibition Black in America is on display at George Eastman House.
"Eli Reed has been documenting the black experience in America from the time he began taking pictures. This volume, "Black in America", is his provocative and often poignant portrait of black life in America.
As a photographer, Reed is known for his unflinching coverage of events both large and small. Here we see tender moments between parents and children contrasted with the Los Angeles riots. The joy of a wedding follows the sorrow and anger at the funeral of Yusef Hawkins (whose death sparked the Crown Heights riots in Brooklyn in 1991). The deceptive innocence of rural life balances the tension of the urban drug scene. A 104-year-old woman contemplates her life a few pages away from the Million Man March in Washington, D.C.
There is the truth in Reed's work, as well as anger, and compassion. These images communicate to us - sometimes as gentle as a kiss, sometimes as hard as a bullet. They are all part of Eli Reed's America, and ours."
George Eastman House has commissioned Reed to create a contemporary and localized supplement to his series, photographing Rochester's African-American community. I was fortunate enough to lead the organization and producing for his Rochester work. It always amazes me how much you can accomplish with a few phone calls. I took Eli to see the Campbell Brothers, at the House of God in Rush NY. He was blown away by the music and the hospitality that The Campbell Brothers and their church community extended to us.
He also made a contact with Mr. Charles Price, Rochester's first African American Police Officer. Eli and I went to his house where he took a portrait of Mr. Price and his wife.