Deborah Willis (born February 5, 1948) is a contemporary African-American artist, photographer, curator of photography, photographic historian, author, and educator. Among her awards and honors, she was a 2000 MacArthur Fellow. She is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at Tisch School of the Arts of New York University.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Willis is the mother of conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas. Her father was a photographer as well, and her close familial ties are apparent in works such as Daddy’s Ties: The Tie Quilt II (1992), and Progeny: Deborah Willis and Hank Willis Thomas (2009).