Contact Sheet 101 features 28 duotone reproductions of photographs by Lewis Watts. Lewis Watts’ photographs explore evidence of culture, history and life as reflected on the surface of environments inhabited and used primarily by people of African descent in the neighborhoods of West Oakland, California. The West Oakland community is a fertile place both visually and culturally. Although usually ignored or reflected only negatively by the media, the faade of this neighborhood has been altered and consciously personalized in ad hoc ways to reflect it’s dynamic past and ever- changing present.
Lewis Watts has been a Lecturer in Photography in the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley since 1978. Watts has had a long association with UC Berkeley where he received both a BA in Political Science and an MA in Photography and Design.
His work has been exhibited in numerous institutions including; The Studio Museum in Harlem, San Francisco State University, The Baltimore Museum, Florida A & M and most recently in a solo exhibition titled Urban Footprints, at the Oakland Museum, curated by Drew Heath Johnson. Watts has had his work included in numerous publications including The Black Photographers Annual, Smithsonian Magazine, The New York Times, and Progressive Architecture. His work is also in several permanent collections including the National African Museum Project at the Smithsonian Institution, The Studio Museum in Harlem and the California Historical Society. Lewis Watts lives in San Anselmo, CA, and he participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in 1996.