For the brilliantly conceived Black Hollywood: Reimagining Iconic Movie Moments, photographer Carell Augustus recasts familiar shots from classic films and others--as well as career-defining stills of Tinseltown greats--with Black leads. It is a knockout portrait showcase.
For his subjects, Augustus taps more than 60 figures in the world of arts and entertainment. Vivica A. Fox impersonates Old Hollywood's screen siren Veronica Lake. Blair Underwood relives Jack Nicholson's "Here's Johnny!" moment from The Shining. Vanessa L. Williams poses as Cleopatra and is as ravishingly sultry as Elizabeth Taylor ever was. Augustus's book comes from a personal place. A child of the 1980s, he loved movies like The Goonies and Back to the Future. Only later did he "fully understand the implications of dreaming vicariously through those who looked nothing like me," he writes in his introduction. Black Hollywood can be evaluated and enjoyed strictly for its visual dazzle: the photos are stunning and, while remarkably faithful to the source material, spiked with playful departures. But no image in the book has more layers of meaning than Augustus's shot of the dreadlocked Shanola Hampton as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, her fist raised in defiance. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer