Fine Arts photographer creates ‘BLACK’ Book celebrating urban vernacular

Gwendolyn Brooks, Lorraine Hansberry, and Gordon Parks are all historical tastemakers who creatively told the story of Black people in Chicago through their art. Today, there is a new name to add to the list. Tyesha Moores, a 24-year-old fine art photographer created a 6×6 coffee table book called BLACK, which chronicles the urban vernacular used by Black youth in Chicago today.

Hailing from the Austin area of the West Side of Chicago, Tye had no idea that her senior thesis project as a student at the Illinois Institute of Art would turn into a full-blown series complete with a visual book three years later. Prior to the publication, Moores premiered this project at over ten art galleries. “The culture of Chicago is so beautiful to me,” says Moores. “Even small things such as our pride in what side of town we’re from and things we say — that’s what I love most about our culture.”

Moores describes The BLACK Book as an ode allowing Black people to see themselves in fine art. “When you’re an artist, everything you put out is personal. The BLACK Book is personal to me. The Black Book is fine art. The film is fine art. Black people are fine art.” “Chicago is a trendsetter in so many ways. We have our way of walking, talking, thinking, sleeping, and breathing. Even in the midst of the good and the bad, I catch myself being around black people and thinking this is so dope!”

Moores gathered a plethora of Chicago creatives that she knows, set up a camera, and asked them what certain words like “edges,” “kitchen,” and “tea” meant to them. Along with the book, Moores also utilized social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter to put the word out about her book. To date, she has sold 50 books through word of mouth alone, with an official release-taking place in February. Beginning in February, Moores will releases five episodes of the series on Instagram, letting viewers get a personal view into the world of urban slang.

“I made this book because it’s so many things that Black people do not do in fear of white people and society judging them. This book combats that.”

For more information on The BLACK Book, visit or her Instagram @photyegraphy.

-Kia Smith, Contributing Writer


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