Yancey discovered photography when she was in graduate school studying art of ancient Greece . She explains that her reward when she had read ancient art history all day was to look at photography magazines in the library of her university (SMU Dallas, Texas). In 1979, she wrote an essay about photography as a universal language, at a time - she says - “ where she didn’t know much” and was awarded a fellowship at the Whitney museum in New York. She explains that before the 80’s the Whitney was neither collecting nor showing photography. She convinced the director to modernize the museum’s collection and spent a year curating photography shows.
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