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Joe Louis, Fighter
Gelatin silver print
19 x 15 ins
Courtesy of Smithsonian Books and the Richard Avedon Foundation.
Louis's fist defined who he was more than anything else, so Avedon boldly recorded his signature feature. The fist became a political symbol of black solidarity and suggests the boxer's dual fight within the ring and against racism.
This photograph is included in Shannon Thomas Perich The Changing Face of Portrait Photography: From Daguerreotype to Digital (Washington, DC: National Museum of American History, 2011)