Sheila Pree Bright Biography

Sheila Pree Bright is a highly acclaimed, award-winning photographer. Born in Waycross, GA, Bright grew up in a military family, spending her formative years between Germany and the United States. After taking a photography class during her senior year at the University of Missouri, Bright’s passion for photography was sparked. From this moment, Sheila Pree Bright's artistic journey flourished and in 1988 the young artist moved to Atlanta where she would later earn an MFA from Georgia State University.  

Bright’s work is often described as being anthropological in nature. The artist is fascinated by those ‘unseen’ communities throughout the world; communities where groups of people go unnoticed. Bright's images are a reflection of this powerful human experience. Through her images, she gives voice to those who live unheard, and in doing so, Sheila Pree Bright explores complex socio-political ideas in her work. Beyond the aesthetic, Bright’s creative outputs reflect real contemporary stories that are deeply imbued by historical context and social commentary.

Sheila Pree Bright's work aims to challenge the traditional narratives and power structures of Western thought that have traditionally informed the academy. The artist is inspired by the interplay of culture and counterculture and embarks on a subversion of traditional structures through these phenomena. Her internationally acclaimed photographic series, #1960Now, Young Americans, Plastic Bodies, and Suburbia are prime examples. 

Bright’s #1960Now photographic series forms a reflection on the fight for racial equality which continues from 1960 to the present day and combines portraits of social justice activists past and present with documentary images from recent protests in the United States. The project seeks to employ photography as a medium for protest. These striking black and white photographs shed light on the continuities that exist between the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement, in so doing, demonstrating that the fight for justice is not yet over. 

As well as participating regularly in acclaimed solo and group exhibitions across the United States, Bright is actively involved in a range of public art projects, as well as documentary filmmaking, lectures, and publications. In 2018, Bright’s photographic monograph, #1960Now: Photographs of Civil Rights Activists and Black Lives Matter was published by Chronicle Books.

The importance of Bright’s work has not gone unnoticed and the artist is the recipient of numerous awards, fellowships, and artists’ residences. Bright has been nominated for multiple awards including the ICP Infinity Award, the Ted Prize, the Magnum Foundation Fund.