Camille Billops was born in Los Angeles, CA. She earned a B.A. in art and education for children with physical disabilities and a M.A. in fine art in 1973. Billops studied for her Ph.D. at the D’Université of Paris-Sorbonne, France. By 1965 Billops had established an international reputation as a sculptor, printmaker, and photographer. Her work has been exhibited globally.
Working with photographer James Van Der Zee and poet Owen Dodson, Billops created The Harlem Book of the Dead (1978), which includes a foreword by Toni Morrison. Billops has served as editor of an art journal, The Afro-American, in 1976 and as art editor of Indiana State University’s Black American Literature Forum. Billops has taught for various university art departments. In 1975 Billops and her husband founded the Hatch-Billops Collection, Inc., a non-profit research library of African American historical documents focusing on the arts. The library includes oral histories, slides, photography, and art that Billops and Hatch have collected over two decades in their SoHo, Manhattan loft. They have also published their interviews with African American artists, writers, and musicians in a journal, Artist and Influence.