a Publication of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
919-660-3663 | Fax: 919-681-7600 | firstname.lastname@example.org | documentarystudies.duke.edu Director: Wesley Hogan Associate Director for Programs and Development: Lynn McKnight Publishing Director: Alexa Dilworth Art Director: Bonnie Campbell Communications Coordinator and Document Editor: Elizabeth Phillips Communications Intern: Christopher James The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University teaches, engages in, and presents documentary work grounded in collaborative partnerships and extended ﬁeldwork that uses photography, ﬁlm/video, audio, and narrative writing to capture and convey contemporary memory, life, and culture. CDS values documentary work that balances community goals with individual artistic expression. CDS promotes documentary work that cultivates progressive change by amplifying voices, advancing human dignity, engendering respect among individuals, breaking down barriers to understanding, and illuminating social injustices. CDS conducts its work for local, regional, national, and international audiences. All photographs appearing in Document® are copyright by the artist. | Document® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
CONTENTS FEATURED 3 Interview with New CDS Director Wesley Hogan
BOOKS & EXHIBITS 5 Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene Photographs by 2012 First Book Prize in Photography Winner Gerard H. Gaskin Tiksi Photographs from Siberia’s Arctic Coast by Evgenia Arbugaeva One Place: Paul Kwilecki and Four Decades of Photographs from Decatur County, Georgia AWARDS 9 Winners of CDS’s Inaugural Documentary Essay Prize and Relaunched Lange-Taylor Prize
EDUCATION 11 Undergraduate Education 2013 John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Award Winners
MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts Introducing the Incoming Class of 2015 Continuing Education Spring 2013 Certificate in Documentary Arts Graduates New Fall Classes
OTHER NEWS 15 New YouTube Channel CDS Undergrad Presents Documentary Research FRIENDS OF CDS 15
cover : Tanya being Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Photograph by Evgenia Arbugaeva, from the Tiksi series. above: Still from Taking Root, a film by 2013 Documentary Video Institute students Morgan Capps and Heather Stewart Harvey. opposite: Wesley Hogan next to CDS’s community
garden. Photograph by Christopher Sims.
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Interview with New Director Wesley Hogan
n July 1, 2013, the Center for Documentary Studies welcomed its third director since our founding at Duke University in 1989. Wesley C. Hogan’s tenure follows that of Tom Rankin, who had directed CDS since 1998, and Iris Tillman Hill. Hogan returns to Durham—she received her master’s and doctorate in U.S. History at Duke— from Virginia State University, where she had taught since 2003. During that time she was codirector of the school’s Institute for the Study of Race Relations and also led the Petersburg Civil Rights History community project. As a historian, Hogan is best known for her civil rights–era scholarship, including her award-winning book on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee—Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC’s Dream for a New America. Here, an interview with our new director conducted by summer intern Christopher James, now a senior majoring in mass communication/broadcast media at North Carolina Central University. Can you talk a little about your background, where you grew up, what, over time, drew you to the field of history?
I grew up in Philadelphia. My parents worked, so I went to my grandparents’ house after school. My grandmother was a knitter, and she did crossword puzzles obsessively and jigsaw puzzles; my grandfather was a storyteller, so one of the things I learned really early on was that if I did my homework right away he would tell me lots and lots of stories. One time I came home from school—it had been Hiroshima Remembrance Day, and I think I was seven or eight, so this is elementary school—and I said something like, “They never should have dropped that bomb, that’s horrible, it killed too many children.” My grandfather is a very gentle man, but he drew up and got a very stern look on his face and said, “Don’t you ever say that again.” I was so taken aback; then he saw my reaction, and he began to tell a story about his life. When he was twenty he got sent to the Pacific as part of the U.S. forces that were going to invade Japan. He very much felt that he wouldn’t have made it past his twenty-first birthday
if Harry Truman hadn’t made the decision to use the atomic bomb—he thought he would’ve been killed in the invasion. So it opened me to this lifelong interest in trying to figure out the “what ifs” of history. If that bomb had not been dropped, would I be here, was the chilling question. I loved early on asking those questions and figuring out the best ways to tell a story, and as I went through school I began to look at different ways to ask people to share their stories with me. So that’s initially how I got interested in oral history. What is it about documentary work that fires you up, that compelled you to accept the directorship? Multiple pieces fire me up. But the most important piece is that at heart I’m an optimist and somebody who believes that if you understand the story of someone else, it’s pretty hard for you to do violence to them or be continually in conflict with them. That if we understand better what the other person is going through, we have a better capacity to relate to them and work things out in a peaceful manner and build community. Most universities only have one or two areas [of documentary work] that they are very strong in, but here we have photography, audio, film, and oral history and writing—and for me, putting all of those different kinds of media into one setting where you have creative people doing this work and talking to each other about the best vehicle for telling those stories creates an intellectual zest and energy that I find somewhat irresistible. Truth be told, when I first looked at this job I thought it was not real; I thought there must be some sort of catch somewhere along the way. But the more I learned about the Center the more I found people not only doing really interesting work within their own field, but also trying to find ways to relate to other documentary work that’s happening here. There’s tremendous public programming, there’s the education piece . . . so for me just to stay with the metaphor, it fires on all cylinders. It’s probably going to take me a year to get my head around everything going on here. But it gives me the opportunity to learn and grow as well as be around people who are doing work that I find incredibly worthwhile.
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What are your thoughts on the importance of a Center for Documentary Studies at this particular point in time, both in higher education and in the broader world? Those are linked, but I’ll start off with the broader world. I think we’re all sort of at the bottom of a mountain where there’s been an avalanche of information. It’s impossible for any one person to know how to sort through the constant onslaught and curate the trustworthy sources. We need a really good bs detector, all of us, and we need a really good way to understand situations that we may not be familiar with. Take trying to understand the context for why whites and blacks saw the Trayvon Martin verdict so differently. If you look at the national polls, 80 percent of whites thought that it was a fair verdict and 86 percent of blacks thought it was an unfair verdict. So if some thirteen-year-old kid, regardless of his or her racial background, is looking at that information, how does he or she make sense of that? Are we giving them enough context to understand the history of white supremacy in the country, to understand the history of police brutality and jury fixing? Probably not. I think we have to give everybody in society, not just college students, ways to think about some of the underlying causes of any given situation that they are faced with in their day-to-day life. But CDS also has an undergraduate education mission to train students like you to pick up the torch. Given how difficult it is to make sense of the world around us and to get, find, and share other people’s stories, it’s crucial that people who are undergraduates now have the opportunity to become the next generation of standout documentarians, to have a place to come to learn those skills. How do you plan to reach out to members of that younger generation to get them interested in the documentary field? So here is where we really need people like you to tell us about the best ways for us to grab the attention of people who are under twenty-five; how can we continually engage them so that they can become storytellers in their own right, critical thinkers, people who can not just hear a story but know how to then turn around and document and share it? I would love to set up an advisory committee specifically of young people who have that exact question in mind. We have some fabulous veterans on staff who would be good to include in that mix, but we need to know from people like you, and so I’m going to push you to tell us. The second piece is that I think we need to explore how we’re interacting. We already do quite a bit of this work through Literacy Through Photography, but I would love to continue to explore ways we can meaningfully partner with youth in the community, whether it’s through schools, community organizations, religious organizations. . . . What about your own scholarship, ideas you’re working on or thinking about? My scholarship is rooted in studying how the civil rights movement unfolded, particularly how young people came into the situation and in a very short period of time were able to break open the significantly hard nut of Jim Crow that other people had being trying for some eighty years to crack. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, most of those people were under twenty, most of them were coming from historically black colleges in the South; they came along and put their bodies on the line in a way that power could not ignore. I’ve continued to look at people who do that, mostly young people who find ways to crack open a situation
and move it towards liberation or greater social justice. So right now there are two projects that I’m working on, one is a collection of portraits of young people today who are working in the spirit of SNCC—people looking at passing the Dream Act for undocumented youth, people looking at how to advance gay and lesbian equality in the society at large, and people looking to create better math literacy among young people. The second project is a biography of a woman named Casey Hayden who was part of SNCC and then went on into many other liberation movements—the environmental movement, the women’s movement, and so forth. How do you imagine facilitating the evolution of CDS, building on its legacy? As an oral historian the best tool that I have at my disposal is first, listening to the people who are here in the community and the university and on staff and faculty and finding out how they carry out the mission of CDS day in and day out. Finding ways to carry out that mission, which is geared towards social justice and engaging different elements of the community, and move it forward over the next several years is going to be the work that I engage in over the next six to eight months. So figuring out how we continue to build, finding innovative ways to promote visual literacy and the work of young and up-and-coming artists and enhance our great undergraduate and continuing education programs . . . I think that experimenting with new media platforms is going to be really important to CDS moving forward. Do you feel like this was an opportunity you always wanted, your dream job? I didn’t really know and still don’t know what it’s going to be, but I will say that it’s an opportunity that I am so grateful to have. It gives me so much vitality to think about the possibilities that CDS provides and could continue to provide and could expand to encompass. I hope that I get to make many people’s dreams come to fruition here, which might be a better way to say it than that it’s my dream. I enjoy doing that; I like helping people’s creative juices flow more freely, helping people come together and collaborate and produce something that we wouldn’t have otherwise expected. Out-of-left-field, fill-in-the-blank question: How do you solve for x in the equation, “I’m a sucker for x”? [Laughs] Okay, my youngest child is a baker so I’m a big cake person when she cooks. Let’s see, I’m a sucker for guilty-pleasure TV, I love anything having to do with the water, so sailing, swimming, spending the day at the beach or in the mountains by a river. And I’m still a sucker for Casablanca, which is my favorite movie of all time. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Well, first, thank you for the opportunity to share some of my thinking. I’m really looking forward to this challenge. CDS is a very unusual institution in that it tries to bridge communities that don’t often find very sturdy or wide bridges between them. The documentary arts world and the university, that’s one really exciting bridge for me. And it’s very rare to find universities that are highly committed to their communities in the same way that Duke and CDS are. I’m very interested in exploring how we can use the arts and documentary studies to find innovative ways to increase the art of life in both the university setting and in the local communities that surround Duke. To me, it just feels like a privilege every day to come in here and get started, because there’s a whole lot of wonderful infrastructure that I inherit and that I’m looking forward to moving into its next phase of development.
BOOKS & EXHIBITS
Legendary Inside the House Ballroom Scene By Gerard H. Gaskin Introduction by Deborah Willis With an essay by Frank Roberts
Winner of the 2012 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography
hotographer Gerard H. Gaskin’s work documenting the African American and Latino house and ballroom community was selected from nearly two hundred entries in the sixth biennial Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography competition. Judges for the prize are among the most significant and innovative figures in contemporary photography. Renowned curator, historian, and photographer Deborah Willis judged the 2012 competition and chose Gaskin’s black-and-white and color images, finding them “innovative and spirited,” the images filled with both hope and struggle as “they explore ideas of longing, beauty, and desire.” The competition is open to American and Canadian photographers of any age who have never published a booklength work and who use their cameras for creative exploration, whether it be of places, people, or communities; of the natural or social world; of beauty at large or the lack of it; of objective or subjective realities. The First Book Prize honors work that is visually compelling, that bears witness, and that has integrity of purpose. The winning photographer receives a grant of $3,000, publication of a book of photography, and inclusion in a website devoted to presenting the work of the prizewinners. Gaskin will also have a solo exhibition at the Center for Documentary Studies. His book, Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene, will be published in fall 2013 by Duke University Press and CDS Books of the Center for Documentary Studies. Gaskin’s radiant color and black-and-white photographs take us inside the culture of house balls, underground events where gay and transgender men and women, mostly African American and Latino, come together to see and be seen. At balls, high-spirited late-night pageants, members of particular “houses”—the House of Blahnik, the House of Xtravaganza—“walk,” competing for trophies in categories based on costume, attitude, dance moves, and “realness.” In this exuberant world of artistry and self-fashioning,
people often marginalized for being who they are can flaunt and celebrate their most vibrant, spectacular selves. From the quiet backstage to the shimmering energies of the runway to the electricity of the crowd, Gaskin’s photographs take us to the ball. Legendary, which includes photos taken at ballroom events in New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, and Washington, D.C., is a collaboration between Gaskin, a camera-laden observer who has been attending balls for twenty years, and the house members who let him enter the intimate world of ball culture. In addition to an introduction by Deborah Willis, Legendary includes an essay by Frank Roberts, “The Queer Undercommons.” Gerard H. Gaskin, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, earned a BA from Hunter College in 1994 and is now a freelance photographer based in Syracuse, New York. His photos have appeared in the New York Times, Newsday, Black Enterprise, OneWorld, Teen People, Caribbean Beat, and DownBeat. Among his other clients are the record companies Island, Sony, Def Jam, and Mercury. Gaskin’s photographs have been featured in solo and group exhibitions across the United States and abroad, and his work is held in the collections of such institutions as the Museum of the City of New York and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
EXHIBIT An exhibition of selected black-and-white and color photographs from Gerard H. Gaskin’s Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene will open in the Juanita Kreps Gallery at the Center for Documentary Studies on November 4, 2013, and will remain on view through February 23, 2014. Gaskin will give an artist’s talk at CDS on November 7, followed by a book signing. Following the exhibit, his photographs will be placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts in Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Library.
Vanoy, Latex Ball, Manhattan, New York, 2007. Photograph by Gerard H. Gaskin.
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BOOKS & EXHIBITS
with the idea of who they are and where they want to “live.” I grew up in a very Catholic home. My mother was a threeday-a-week Catholic. So questions about innate versus acquired sexuality, about transformation and performance, are of interest to me. Were people welcoming? How does insider/outsider work in these particular situations?
LEGENDARY INSIDE THE HOUSE BALLROOM SCENE
PHOTOGRAPHS BY GERARD H. GASKIN
Published by Duke University Press and CDS Books of the Center for Documentary Studies Fall 2013 / 120 pages / 92 color and black-and-white photographs ISBN 978-0-8223-5582-3 / cloth $45
To learn more about Legendary and the First Book Prize, visit: firstbookprizephoto.com
y For more information about all of our CDS Books: y documentarystudies.duke.edu/books
Q&A With Gerard H. Gaskin CDS publishing and awards director Alexa Dilworth speaks with Gerard Gaskin about his longtime photography project, featured in his first book, Legendary. How did you become involved in this project? How did it start? More than twenty years ago I met this guy, Douglas Says, a clothing designer and makeup artist who did work with Jules Allen, a photographer whom I was assisting at the time. Douglas knew all of these major figures in the ballroom scene. He made costumes and did makeup for transsexuals who performed at balls and on 42nd Street. He introduced me to people, and I started hanging out at Show World, and then later at a place called Sally’s II (Sally’s I was called Sally’s Hideaway, that’s where Paris Is Burning was shot, and it burned down). And I was attending balls, which back then only happened about ten times a year. So I was just hanging out—for the first year I didn’t make any photographs, though I had my camera on. I got a lot of advice to not start in making images straightaway, as a lot of people in the community weren’t fans of Paris Is Burning, which I’d seen about three years before I started making pictures. They felt exploited— they either ended up on the cutting-room floor or felt like they didn’t get any return for their involvement in the film. (Jennie’s film, like my series, started out as a project for school, by the way.) I didn’t make my first image until 1993.
Some people were welcoming, some weren’t. I’m not an insider. I was perceived as an outsider, someone coming in who isn’t a participant, isn’t a performer. But I am connected to the community. I’m asked to speak and show my work. When something happens like the fight that broke out at a ball in North Carolina—in Charlotte—I get texts and emails and am part of that chain. So it shifts. I’d say I’m more familiar than an insider. Do you get permission? Do you ever ask people to pose? There are people whom I shoot over and over. And then there are the “young and new” people. I’m always wearing my cameras. I want people to see me, know I’m there. Yes, I always ask permission. I make sure my presence is known. And asking people to pose—I do sometimes. I mean, I’ve made dedicated portraits, but I will sometimes ask people to pause, wait a moment, in the middle of things, because I find it quiets things down. In that kind of space, with that many people, it’s impossible to be invisible, so I put it out front and then move into more of a documentary mode. People are naturally wary, it’s a gay space. But it’s changed a lot over time too, with all the videos, so cameras are much more natural. Everybody has a camera or an iPhone. But while the environment has changed, as a non-gay person in a “gay space,” this question still matters very much, is still relevant. The whole project is about being collaborative. I participate in the community; I run stuff past a lot of people— to check in about how images are presented, or for instance, how the book title would be interpreted in the community—I have political questions about representation that I don’t want to make alone. I want the reactions and input of others. I ask and I listen. The project, itself, is the result of relationships. Do you think being from Trinidad, being immersed in Trinidadian culture, had an influence on how you perceived the ballroom scene? Carnival and masquerade . . . I wasn’t so much aware of that as I was of my interest in sexuality, my curiosity about that. Though I think there’s something implicit in the photos that has to do with carnival—a kind of movement, a blur. Can you say a little more about your interest in sexuality? And about how you see performance within that? I’m so interested in people who push the envelope of their assigned gender roles, whether sexual or societal. In ball culture, people make fun of how outsiders view them—there’s this sense of play, of fun. Ideas of inside/outside, top/bottom, masculine/feminine. All kinds of inversions and transformations; it’s about perceptions, and playing with them. I’m drawn to the openness, the willingness to be feminine and masculine at the same time. Men are usually afraid to do that, much less do that comfortably. That’s what I’m interested in, creating a way to be comfortable, which is something so many people never achieve. I’m really interested in how people in the house and ball community create a safe space for themselves.
Why were you interested in looking at this world?
You’ve been working on this project for twenty years. And you keep doing it. Why?
I was just really curious. I wondered, Why does someone decide to become a transsexual? Why do people believe, feel so strongly, that they need to transform themselves? And I am interested in the safe space that they create, how they play
That’s a good question. How to answer. . . . Do you watch cricket? I wanted these photographs to come together as a book. That was always my goal. So I’ve continued on, and now here it is.
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BOOKS & EXHIBITS clockwise from top left: Sinia and Ayana, Year End Ball, Brooklyn, New York, 1999; Storm, Hollywood Ball, Richmond, Virginia, 2011; Ebony Ball, Manhattan, New York, 1997; POCC Ball, Manhattan, New York, 2007. opposite: Tez, Evisu Ball, Manhattan, New York, 2010. Photographs by Gerard H. Gaskin.
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BOOKS & EXHIBITS
Evgenia Arbugaeva’s Hometown Photos from Siberia
Porch and University Galleries | September 16, 2013– January 12, 2014 Reception and Artist’s Talk | November 14, 6–9 p.m. The Center for Documentary Studies is delighted to host an exhibit of this acclaimed series by Evgenia Arbugaeva—images from Tiksi, a remote port town on Siberia’s Arctic coast. The photographer will be in residence this fall at Duke University through a program administered by the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund in partnership with Duke’s Center for International Studies. The residency program was established for Emergency Fund grantees with the goal of connecting international artists with the Duke community to encourage the exploration of social issues through the medium of photography. In addition to the exhibit and a talk at CDS, Arbugaeva will make presentations to both undergrads and grad students in the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program, meet individually with Duke students and faculty, and connect with local and regional artists and arts philanthropists. Born in 1985, Arbugaeva grew up in Tiksi, with its coastal tundra, the aurora borealis, windy snowstorms, and endless days and nights. When the Soviet Union collapsed, her family, like many others, left. She was eight at the time, and carried with her feelings and images of “a magical realm of wonder and discovery where she reveled in the ‘little miracles’ of her endless natural playground,” writes James Estrin in a story on Lens, the New York Times photo blog. Arbugaeva later graduated from college in Moscow, then spent a year photographing nomadic reindeer herders in Russia before heading to New York. She graduated from the International Center of Photography’s Photojournalism and Documentary Program in 2009, and decided to return to Tiksi. “I wondered whether I was making this place up,” Estrin quotes the artist. “After a while, you can’t be sure that your memories really happened. I wanted to make sure this place really existed.” On that and subsequent trips, she found and followed her muse and guide, Tanya, a thirteen-year-old Tiksi resident who helped Arbugaeva reconnect with the wonder of her own childhood there. The photographer received a Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund grant in 2012 to complete the Tiksi series, which this year garnered her a spot on the annual Photo District News “30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch” list as well as a Leica Oskar Barnack Award.
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ONE PLACE One Place: Paul Kwilecki and Four Decades of Photographs from Decatur County, Georgia This exhibit of black-and-white photographs by self-taught artist Paul Kwilecki has generated a lot of interest, so much so that we’ve extended its run through October 5, 2013, after which it will travel to the Crealdé School of Art in Winter Park, Florida, in spring 2014 and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art at the University of New Orleans in fall 2014. The show features selected images from a critically acclaimed book of the same name, edited and with an introduction by former Center for Documentary Studies director Tom Rankin and published this April by CDS in partnership with the University of North Carolina Press. In addition to more than two hundred images, the book also includes Kwilecki’s written descriptions and musings about the people and places he depicted in his photographs—images taken in and around his hometown of Bainbridge, Georgia. Kwilecki developed his visual ideas in series of photographs of high school proms, prison hog killings, shade-tree tobacco farming, factory work, church life, the courthouse. “I don’t make pictures to decorate walls,” Kwilecki said. “I make them to shed light in dark corners.”
First summer day. Tanya and Shake at the melting Arctic Ocean. Photograph by Evgenia Arbugaeva. Outside courtroom, 1982. Photograph by Paul Kwilecki.
Rachel Andrews Wins Inaugural CDS Documentary Essay Prize
he new CDS Documentary Essay Prize honors the best in documentary photography and writing in alternating years, with a focus on current or recently completed work from a long-term project. The first prize competition was awarded in writing. The winning essay, “A New Wilderness at the Maze,” was submitted by Rachel Andrews, a writer and journalist based in Cork City, Ireland. In her piece, Andrews explores the meaning of the demolition of Ireland’s Maze prison, near Belfast, the maximum-security facility where paramilitary prisoners were incarcerated during the “Troubles” (1971–2000) and where ten Republican hunger strikers died in 1981. “I first visited the Maze prison in summer 2007. By then, it was in the middle of being demolished,” says Andrews, “a halfspace between what was once the most notorious prison on the island—indeed, within the British Isles—and a vast, 360acre site yet to be developed, possibly into a soccer stadium. . . . There were no ghostly resonances of the kind I had expected. The walls did not talk. . . . It was the blankness that so staggered me, that contrasted so fully with my expectations of the place, and it was the blankness I wanted to write about. “I visited the Maze on five different occasions after that initial visit, spending a day or two there each time. During my visits, I walked around taking notes and making recordings. I spoke to former prison guards, many of whom had returned to the site as security officers, one guard in particular, who had been shot during the breakout in 1983 when 38 Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoners escaped. I also spoke with residents of the neighboring village, Halftown, whose houses backed onto the prison. And I have incorporated my own emotions and personal reflections as I feel they give important context to the strong reactions I had to the prison.” Andrews receives $3,000 and will take part in CDS’s upcoming Documentary Writer Speaker Series. Her work will also be placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts at the David M. Rubenstein Library, Duke University. An excerpt from “A New Wilderness at the Maze” will appear in the next issue of Document, and the essay in full will be published on our website in early 2014.
Maggie Messit and Leslie Starobin were each awarded Honorable Mention for their beautifully accomplished essays by Duncan Murrell, CDS’s writer in residence and prize judge, and the members of the Center for Documentary Studies Documentary Essay Prize Committee. To read more about the winner and to learn about the upcoming Documentary Essay Prize for photography, visit:
From the series Deconstructing the Maze, a collaborative art project for which Rachel Andrews contributed writing, 2008. Photographs by Dara McGrath.
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Jen Kinney Wins the 2013 Lange-Taylor Prize CDS is proud to announce the winner of the relaunched Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize. First announced a year after the Center for Documentary Studies’ founding at Duke University, the Lange-Taylor Prize was created to encourage collaboration between documentary writers and photographers in the tradition of the acclaimed photographer Dorothea Lange and writer and social scientist Paul Taylor. The year 2010 marked the twentieth anniversary of the prize; in 2011, in recognition of the rapidly changing environment in which documentary artists conduct their work, we suspended the Lange-Taylor Prize competition in order to evaluate the best avenues for supporting documentary projects over the next twenty years. The prize now supports documentary artists—working alone or in teams—who are involved in extended, ongoing fieldwork projects that rely on and exploit, in intriguing and effective ways, the interplay of words and images in the creation and presentation of their work. Jen Kinney, who graduated in 2012 from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in photography and imaging, won the prize for City Under One Roof. Her project, set in Whittier, Alaska, is about shared space and questions of structure: how the structures that people inhabit “shape and order their lives; how, in turn, people construct, alter, and destroy spaces; and how these constant renovations to our physical world mirror changes in the stories that we tell ourselves; how we structure our lives to these stories.” Kinney combines photographs and writing to “illuminate the interplay between space and story. The
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images provide the texture of the town, the stage upon which its folklore is set, and elevate the process of photographing from an act of description to a search for the foundations of mythmaking.” Kinney will be going back to Whittier to make more environmental portraits as well as photograph residents with their families and in their workplaces. She also intends to conduct more interviews and do more of her own writing, as “text is essential, because while the photographs in my project are my creations (with the exception of historical and vernacular images), the stories being told are a combination of my voice and the voices of those I interview. In all likelihood the stories will conflict with one another, and with the town’s official history, and I want to welcome and celebrate these varying accounts.” Kinney will receive $10,000, a solo exhibition at the Center for Documentary Studies, and inclusion in the Archive of Documentary Arts at the David M. Rubenstein Library, Duke University. A selection of writing and photographs from City Under One Roof will appear in the next issue of Document. The members of the Lange-Taylor Prize Committee also awarded a Special Recognition to Bianca Giaever, a Seattle native and recent graduate of Middlebury College, for her innovative and inspiring video Holy Cow Lisa, which can be seen on Vimeo (vimeo.com/54700919). To view Jen Kinney’s work and to see a full list of this year’s Lange-Taylor Prize finalists, visit:
Dismantling the Ushagat, 2012, from the project City Under One Roof. Photograph by Jen Kinney.
Undergraduate 2013 John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Award Winners While many of our awards are national or international in focus, the John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Awards, established in 1989, go to undergraduates attending universities in North Carolina’s Triangle area to help them conduct summer-long documentary fieldwork projects using audio, oral history, photography, film/ video, and/or narrative or creative writing. Congratulations to our three 2013 award winners; we’ll be following their progress as their projects take shape. Phoebe Ora DeKornfeld (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is producing a thirty-minute audio documentary about the destructive impact of obstetric fistula—a childbirth injury suffered during prolonged, unassisted labor— on women in Sub-Saharan Africa through the story of one Malawian woman, Melia Solomon, who suffered its devastating consequences. Phoebe met Solomon last year when she was in Malawi with six other UNC media students to document a safe drinking water initiative. She toured the Bwaila Fistula Clinic in Lilongwe, where Solomon now helps other women. Phoebe writes, “The Bwaila Fistula Clinic seeks to eradicate this medical, and social, affliction. The clinic provides effective and compelling holistic care, sending women home physically, psychologically, and emotionally healed. I am interweaving her story with the oral histories of the patients she now helps against a rich fabric of cultural sound—from rural village life to Lilongwe’s bustling street markets.” Madeline Miller (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is exploring the ways in which the elderly are able to find and cultivate privacy and personal space—a sense of home and belonging—within the public areas of nursing homes. She started her audio project by interviewing her grandmother in the “Dining Room” of the facility in which she lives in Mebane, North Carolina. As Madeline writes,“The ‘Dining Room’ had the trappings and decorations that one would expect to
find in a real dining room in a real house, and one could close the door and visit with some privacy. As in my grandmother’s case, some residents do not realize they are in a facility, but that doesn’t mean they don’t question where they are. While some residents demonstrate incredible resilience in their ability to personalize their space and create a home, others experience a profound sense of loss and isolation.” Madeline interviewed nursing facility residents and staff, as well as older people who are still living in their own homes and communities, to capture the challenges faced by the elderly as they transition to institutional care facilities, “where many Americans will live out their last years.”
Jacob Tobia (Duke University) writes, “In 1996, South Africa became the first nation in the world whose constitution protected citizens from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. . . . Marriage equality followed in 2005, and in the minds of many, South Africa lived up to its reputation as the ‘Rainbow Nation’ by establishing full legal equality for LGBT people.” Jacob is documenting, through photography and oral histories, the complications inherent in this story—the racial and class tensions that persist and how different the experiences of low-income, black LGBT South Africans are from their upper-class, white counterparts. He hopes that in “collecting the histories of LGBT-identified South Africans across racial and class boundaries” he will better understand how difference impacts the LGBT community. “What are the limits of understanding and tolerance between LGBT people? What are the limits of legal equality, and how did the pursuit and attainment of legal equality shape divisions and unities within the community?” Jacob is creating a manuscript suitable for publication, a website, and an exhibit that combines his oral history interviews and photographic portraits. Guidelines for the 2014 John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Awards are online; submissions will be accepted the month of February 2014.
Self-portrait by John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Award winner Jacob Tobia, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2012.
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mfa eda MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts Incoming Class of 2015 One of the most innovative university arts programs in the country, the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts, launched at Duke in 2011 and just graduated its first class this May with thesis project screenings, installations, and exhibits at venues across town enjoyed by a wide and enthusiastic audience. The rigorous two-year program brings together the documentary approach and experimental production in analog and digital media. The MFA program welcomes students from the full arts spectrum to apply, whether based in traditional fine arts such as painting, sculpture, writing, photography, and film, or so-called experimental practice such as computational and new media, sound work, performance, and installation. “For the third year in a row we welcome an extremely diverse and experienced group of MFA students to Duke,” says the program’s director, Tom Rankin. “As the MFA thesis show from our first graduating class demonstrated, this group of artists infuses CDS, the Duke campus, and all of Durham with a range of artistic ideas that expands our notions of ‘experimental and documentary arts’ while also elevating the arts generally, on campus and in town.” Presenting the incoming class of 2015:
Aaron Canipe was born and raised in Hickory, North Carolina. He received his BFA in photography from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in 2012. Canipe’s work focuses on documentation of the American South through a lens of personal memory, prose, and history. Matthew Cicanese is a conservation ecologist, wildlife macrophotographer, and documentary filmmaker who explores realms of the micro-cosmos in the natural world. The Florida native graduated from Florida Southern College with a BS in environmental studies. Through his imagery and films, he hopes to inspire an appreciation of the fragility, beauty, and deep complexity of Earth and its biodiversity, work he would like to continue as a National Geographic photographer and filmmaker. Marina Danic graduated in journalism from the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade, Republic of Serbia, and completed graduate studies at the Faculty of Drama Arts in Belgrade in film and television production. As a U.S. Embassy Fund scholarship recipient at Cleveland State University and the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2009, she studied documentary and feature film, along with contemporary art critique. Marina works on creative projects related to the visual anthropology of postindustrial cities and experimental photography and film. Tracy Fish, born and raised in Brooklyn, graduated from Coastal Carolina University in 2012 with a BA in art studio and a concentration in photography. In May of 2012, she studied
top to bottom, left to right (photo by or image of): Matthew Cicanese, Marina Danic, Tracy Fish, Aaron Kutnick, Ava Lowrey, Nicholas Pilarski, Mendal
Polish, Windrose Stanback, Ava Lowrey, Libi Striegl, Alina Taalman, Grant Yarolin, Brooke Darrah Shuman, Aaron Canipe
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Li Haodong is a Chinese artist who studied television directing and editing during college. He fell in love with filmmaking in high school, when he realized that a good film has the power to change people’s lives, and he is looking forward to dedicating himself to producing meaningful works. Anna Kipervaser is a multimedia artist from Chicago by way of the Ukraine, with a BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati. In 2003, she founded the mobile artist space Manual Productions, organizing exhibitions in abandoned spaces around the country. In 2008, she cofounded On Look Films; the independent film and multimedia production company is currently in post-production on Voices and Faces of the Adhan: Cairo, a feature-length documentary film about the Muslim call for prayer in Cairo. Kipervaser’s time in the Middle East has moved her to use film as a tool to help bridge cultural gaps, increasing awareness of social and cultural issues.
raphy has led her all over the world, but she especially enjoys working on long-term projects close to home. Stanback’s work involves creating collaborative partnerships and exploring innovative ways for her subjects to become more active participants in the sharing of their stories. Libi Striegl received a BA and BFA in film studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder, studying under Phil Solomon. After a five-year detour into public service and animal behavior, she returned to filmmaking as an art form in order to explore the traumas sustained by workers for animal welfare. Striegl’s work incorporates a variety of still and motion photographic techniques; she is interested in incipience, cessation, memory, and time travel. Alina Taalman is a documentary editor and cartographer interested in environmental media. She graduated from Humboldt State University, where she studied geography and geospatial science, and is interested in merging cartography and geospatial analysis with documentary forms to examine issues of conservation, land use, and environmental change. Taalman’s GIS analysis of the potential effects of fracking on bat habitat recently won the Cartography and Geographic Information Society’s Arthur Robinson Award for Best Printed Map.
Aaron Kutnick is captivated by the social processes around the production and dissemination of audiovisual representations. He has worked as a media producer at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian’s Film and Video Center in New York and as a visual researcher for the University of Maryland’s Anthropology of the Immigrant Life Course Research Program. Kutnick recently interned with a Peruvian indigenous rights organization, documenting youth leadership workshops and community radio production.
Grant Yarolin, a photographer from Cleveland, received a BA in English from Reed College. His recent work uses portraiture as a vehicle for exploring the relationship between identity, environment, and the perception of images in urban neighborhoods. Yarolin’s current project, These Walls of Dust and Man, uses photography to blur the unstated lines of delineation between communities and facilitate cultural exchange.
Ava Lowrey is a recent graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied documentary production. As creator of the blog Peace Takes Courage, Lowrey has been featured in the New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, and CNN. Currently, she is in post-production on her short documentary, Fred: The Town Dog, which won Best Documentary Pitch and Best Doc in the Works at the Fusion Film Festival. The Alabama native’s films often focus on sharing untold stories centered in the South.
Nicholas Pilarski has a background in music, theater, and film, and he has created a wide range of both avant-garde and commercial art. He has performed in numerous theatrical productions, including the Blue Man Group, and has accompanied several Grammy nominated artists. Pilarski was recently awarded a fellowship through the University of Michigan, traveling to West Bengal to research how Theatre of the Oppressed techniques can be incorporated into filmmaking and multimedia practices. Mendal Polish is a San Francisco native with a BA in film and digital literacy from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She has been teaching digital storytelling, blogging, and technology classes to the prison re-entry population at an HIV/ AIDS service organization in Philadelphia, and before that facilitated citizen journalism classes for political activist groups in the city. Her work has been featured in San Francisco’s Frameline Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and has travelled the international lesbian and gay film festival circuit. Brooke Darrah Shuman is an audio producer, filmmaker, and educator. She has filmed squatters in post-Katrina New Orleans, followed a man who catalogs stray shopping carts all over Staten Island, and produced music videos with ten-yearolds. She is a cofounder of Vittles Films, a documentary film company, and is an associate producer for the in-progress documentary film Farmer Veteran. Windrose Stanback grew up in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, but has recently called Washington, D.C., home while completing a BFA in photojournalism at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. Her passion for documentary photog-
abroad in Nanjing, China, where she realized that despite the similarities between her education in photography and the other students’, theirs remained a different school of thought due to a different culture. The experience inspired her to explore how other cultures can influence the way an individual learns, expresses, and interacts with the arts.
y mfaeda.duke.edu Spring 2013 Certificate in Documentary Arts Graduates The Center for Documentary Studies offers Continuing Education classes in the documentary arts—photography, film/video, audio, writing, multimedia—to people of all backgrounds. Some enroll in the Certificate in Documentary Arts program, a more structured sequence of courses culminating in a final seminar in which students finish a substantial documentary work. The following eleven students completed their final projects in this spring’s seminar, taught by folklorist and filmmaker Nancy Kalow. In May they presented their work to the public and received their certificates. JT (Jenn) Blatty graduated from West Point in 2000 and served six years as an active duty U.S. Army officer; during deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, she discovered a passion for photography. Her audio/photography project, Fish Town, takes a look at the remaining fishing communities of Louisiana, and a landscape that has transformed along with the industry. “You shoulda seen it,” Blatty’s interviewees told her. “This was God’s country.” Terry Grunwald is “a Southern Jewish country girl raised on a chicken farm near Danville, Virginia” who now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. She worked in government and nonprofit agencies for over forty years, directing programs in community development, crime victim services, and community technology. Wait! Breathe! Sing!, her first video documentary, profiles singer Katherine Kaufman Posner, offering a glimpse into the power and beauty of opera. Christine Harrigan has worked in the medical field and has been an actress in New York and Los Angeles. She hopes to make a career in documentary film and television. Her video, Chuck, profiles one of the lead singers of the popular 1970s rock group Three Dog Night. From the rock bottom of heroin addiction and homelessness, Chuck Negron eventually became clean and sober, happier now at seventy than he was when he was young, rich, and famous.
Find out more about CDS at documentarystudies.duke.edu
Jenny Morgan is a documentary artist based in Raleigh, North Carolina, who works in audio, photography, and writing. She tapped into her background in Middle East Studies and Arabic for Pray, Baby, Pray: A Palestine Mix Tape. The audio project draws on the writings and life stories of two young Palestinian female writers living in the West Bank, and explores identity, family, and life and death under occupation for an emerging generation of Palestinian women. Nick Pironio is a Raleigh, North Carolina–based photographer interested in projects that illuminate the human condition and document subcultures in American society. His work has appeared in many newspapers and publications such as Wired, Garden and Gun, Elle, and National Geographic Traveler. His images in Urban Chickens explore the urban chicken-raising subculture, offering insights into the culture of “local” as a counterpoint to the global economy. Donna Kay Smith has worked in the mental health field for over thirty years. When her son was diagnosed with a severe mental illness in 2003, she was exposed to the reality of living with these diseases, and to the fact that “the voices of people with mental illnesses are mostly unheard.” Her video, I Think About That Sometimes, lets one woman share her story about living with mental illness, “for ultimately the ability to tell one’s own story shapes what others understand.” Maggie Smith has taught photography workshops to children of migrant workers in Thailand and at a public middle school in Durham, North Carolina. She has been traveling across the state for the past year recording the stories of women in prison and transitioning out of prison. Her Benevolence Farm Documentary Project is a series of multimedia portraits conducted in collaboration with Benevolence Farm, a transitional living program on a working farm for women leaving prison in North Carolina. Lynda-Marie Taurasi is a former journalist now working for a nonprofit in international development. Until recently, she taught English as a Second Language and ESL-based American civics and politics at Durham Technical Community College. In Union Strong Success Is Sure is her multimedia project documenting a teacher-training program at two primary schools in rural Liberia. Julie Thomson has a background in art history, freelance writing, and publishing; her documentary projects often explore the intersections of place and memory. Her audio documentary, In Search of the Marble Donut, “documents my search for a marble donut like that one I had as a child at the now-closed Anastasia’s Donuts in Okemos, Michigan,”
a quest that has taken her to donut shops in Michigan, North Carolina, and San Francisco. Nora E. Weatherby is an oral historian, writer, and creator and director of the Birth Narratives Oral History Project, which collects, archives, and produces stories about childbirth from women and men around the United States. She describes her audio essay, Over the Dancing Flames, as an exploration of her perspective on home, family, and loss, “a conversation between generations, touching on memory and myth within family stories and how they interact with the sense of place.” Robert Marshall Wells is an associate professor of communication at Pacific Lutheran University in Washington State. Prior to joining the faculty in 2003, he enjoyed a thirty-year career in mass media. He spent a year-long sabbatical studying at the Center for Documentary Studies, and his documentary film, The Art of Persuasion, explores Pi Kappa Delta, the venerable collegiate national speech and debate society whose members have included former Texas governor Ann Richards, broadcasting pioneer Edward R. Murrow, and actor Spencer Tracy. View the projects:
New Classes In addition to the many established classes in our Continuing Education program’s Fall 2013 lineup, we’re excited about these brand-new offerings: Audio: One Voice: Constructing a Narrative; Working with Music in Audio Storytelling Photography: Photogram and Lumen Print Workshop; Cameras Across Cultures Video: Introduction to Archival: Two Case Studies; Introduction to DVD Authoring; Introduction to iPhoneography; Making the Conflict Documentary; Writing the Documentary Script Writing: Writing Documentary Nonfiction; Documentary Poetry and Remembrance Multimedia: Audio Slideshows; Phoning It In: Making Audio Slideshows with Your Smartphone Special Topics: Documentary and the Creative Impulse; Get Connected: Using Social Media to Distribute Your Work
Register for Fall 2013 CDS Continuing Education classes:
left: From Urban Chickens. Photograph by Nick Pironio. right: From Fish Town. Photograph by JT (Jenn) Blatty. opposite top: Still from Joint, a film by by 2013 Documentary Video Institute students Jill Hamilton and Mike Jones. opposite bottom: From left, Altelisha Taylor, Brandon Putnam, Ash-girl Chapfuwa, Duke University President Richard Brodhead, Mariah Hukins, Tabria Williford. Photograph by Chandra Guinn.
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YouTube Channel The new Center for Documentary Studies YouTube Channel includes selected offerings from our video trove—everything from undergraduate and continuing education student films to audio slideshows highlighting new photo books to the Professor Diablo documentary performance series. Also, don’t forget to check out the CDS Vimeo page, which showcases more of our student films as well as other work from CDS programs.
adversity has been a lot more powerful than sitting in a classroom day in and day out talking about abstract social issues.” Charlie Thompson, CDS’s director of undergraduate education, reported that “members of the Council were deeply impressed by Tabria’s presentation, which reflected both the academic rigor of her classes as well as the creative choices she made in shaping her fieldwork.”
Connecting with the Center for Documentary Studies
Student Presents to President’s Council on Black Affairs
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Center for Documentary Studies student Tabria Williford was one of five Duke undergraduates selected to present her research work to the university’s President’s Council on Black Affairs during its Spring 2013 semester meeting. Williford’s documentary project, Durham Food Bank and Urban Ministries: Documentary Photographs, 2011–2012, was drawn from fieldwork she completed during her first two years of study at Duke. Williford, who plans to pursue a CDS Certificate in Documentary Studies, shared with the Council photographs and writing from Multimedia Documentary, taught by Christopher Sims, and American Dreams/ Visual Research, taught by Katie Hyde. Speaking of her coursework at CDS, Williford remarked, “In each class at CDS, I have been able to engage with a variety of academic approaches, meet with individuals throughout Durham, and make my own photographs while also understanding their broader cultural and social meanings. Interacting during my fieldwork with those who face
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DOCUMENT a Publication of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University | Fall 2013