On the eve of the opening of his exhibition “IDENTITY: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders The List Portraits” at the Annenberg Space for Photography, the Los Angeles Times interviewed Timothy about his career, his early years, and the inspiration for his work.
“The idea for the ‘List’ series that would bring him more notoriety originated more than 10 years ago, when Greenfield-Sanders was talking with Nobel laureate Toni Morrison,” explains Tre’Vell Anderson. “She thought it a good idea for them to partner on a photo book of the great black vocal divas. He passed on the idea but was inspired to do something else.”
“I started to think of African Americans that I knew who were so accomplished, who were remarkable people, but you didn’t really see them,” Timothy tells Anderson. “They were lost in the celebrity shine of Oprah and Barack Obama. You didn’t see Faye Wattleton [the first black and the youngest president of Planned Parenthood] and T.D. Jakes [an influential preacher]. I thought that would be interesting for a portrait show.”