Deana Lawson was born in 1979 in Rochester, United States. She became interested at a young age in the social conditions of the African diaspora and of the African-American community. A native of Rochester, the birthplace of the Kodak company, Lawson grew up with a photographer father and a mother who collected family photo-albums, which profoundly influenced her art practice. Borrowing from both documentary aesthetics and from vernacular photography, her works are typified by their meticulous staging in which the often nude or semi-nude models, whom she meets by chance and invites to pose for her, interact with each other. Through these carefully studied stagings and this apparent intimacy, Lawson confronts the viewer with a complex vision of Black identity. She reveals the body’s ability to “channel personal and social histories” by using the different formal languages of photography.
Her work was included in the exhibition 'Untitled, 2020' (2020) at Punta della Dogana.