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a Publication of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

919-660-3663 | Fax: 919-681-7600 | | Director: Wesley C. Hogan Associate Director for Programs and Development: Lynn McKnight Publishing Director: Alexa Dilworth Art Director: Bonnie Campbell Communications Coordinator and Document Editor: Elizabeth Phillips Digital Arts and Publishing Intern: Tory Jeffay 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 Contested CDS Radio Project on the Role of Sports in American Society FILM 6 2014 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival Award Winners MAGAZINE 7 Vanishing Point Students Launch an Online Documentary Publication AWARDS 8–9 2014 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography EXHIBITIONS 10 An Everyday Affair Selling the Kodak Image to America, 1888–1989 Curated by Lisa McCarty

summer 2014

Hard Art, DC 1979 Photographs of the Capital’s Punk Scene by Lucian Perkins EDUCATION 12 Undergraduate Education 2014 Certificate in Documentary Studies Graduates 2014 Julia Harper Day Award Winner

Continuing Education Featured Course: Photography Institute OTHER NEWS 15 The Power Plant Gallery Marco Williams: 2014–15 Lehman Brady Professor FRIENDS OF CDS 15

cover : Bad Brains frontman H.R. at the Valley Green Housing Complex, Washington, D.C., 1979. Photograph by Lucian Perkins. left: Callie Scher (right) with teammates from Durham’s Jordan High School. right: Lacrosse player Thomas Schmidt. pages 3, 4, 5: Players on the Durham Eagles Junior Midget football team. Video stills by Hannah Colton, from the Contested project.

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featured Contested Radio Project Looks at the Role of Sports in American Society


’ve forgotten where the germ came from, what first prompted me to think, “Hmm, how about a radio project telling stories about sports and the role they play in society?” Once I started looking at the world with that prospect in mind, though, it seemed so obvious, so ripe. “Sports are, after all, where America happens,” the tennis icon Billie Jean King wrote not long ago in Sports Illustrated (in an article about Jason Collins’ coming out as the first active gay athlete in a major sport). OK, maybe King’s statement is a tad too sweeping—America happens in lots of places—but sport certainly occupies an outsized space in the life of the United States. It is so much with us that we may not stop to register its ubiquity. Sport is part of the water we swim in. A few of my favorite illustrations: As an industry, sports are worth up to half a trillion dollars a year (including ticket sales, broadcasting, equipment and apparel, and the stadiums we typically build at public expense). In forty American states, the highest-paid public employee is not the governor or the president of the university system but a football or basketball coach. TV viewers consistently rate ESPN the cable channel they value most—which allows ESPN to charge subscribers quadruple the fee of the next most expensive national network. Virtually all “family” restaurants, and bars of many stripes—that is, not just sports bars—routinely display multiple screens showing athletic contests. Don’t care about big-time spectator sports? The majority of American children, boys and girls, now participate in an organized sport at some point in their lives. Media typically look at sports straightforwardly: who won, who lost, and why. And almost all of that coverage is about the 1 percent of athletes competing at the highest levels of college and professional sport. With Contested, a one-hour broadcast, we set out to take a different kind of look, to tell stories exploring the role of sports in the lives of regular people; in particular, young people. Contested is produced in collaboration with State of the Re:Union, the thoughtful public radio show hosted by

By CDS Audio Director John Biewen

Al Letson, which usually focuses its one-hour episodes in one place. We decided to do the show right here in Durham. Why not? The Triangle is a sports-obsessed region in a sports-obsessed land, a national mecca for a major sport, college basketball, and home to one of sport’s most storied rivalries. Children grow up in Durham steeped in the belief that sports matter, that athletic success is as potent a form of success as there is. That said, Durham is not all that special in this regard. We could have done the project almost anywhere. (It’s perhaps coincidental that Durham provided the setting for one of the best sports movies of all time. Bull Durham was a baseball movie about other things. We, too, set out to tell sports stories about other things.) The broadcast will also feature highlights of a roundtable conversation, recorded at Devine’s sports bar on Main Street in Durham, with three people thoughtful about sports and the wider society: Martina “Coach D” Dunford, founder of Durham’s New Horizons Character and Leadership Academy; Dwight Hollier, a former UNC–Chapel Hill and NFL linebacker and counselor, now working with NFL players; and Jan Boxill, a former athlete and coach who’s now a philosopher and director of the Parr Center for Ethics at UNC–Chapel Hill. Contested does not take a pro or con position on sports. It does raise questions about American sports culture and what it has become, how it mirrors us in ways both encouraging and troubling. And it invites us to stop looking at sports as somehow separate from the “real” business of creating a culture and a society. Sport, too, is “contested terrain” on which we confront and work through our divisions. The scholar Gerald Early, an adviser on the Contested project, puts it this way: “We go to sports with the idea that they’re going to transcend these kinds of social issues, but . . . sports wind up intensifying them more than transcending them.” In other words, sport may not be the place where “America happens.” But it’s one of them.

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athletes Contested follows several young athletes and their families: Thomas Schmidt, a senior at Durham’s Jordan High School, is headed to Boston University on a lacrosse scholarship. His parents have provided him with a personal trainer since he was fourteen and flown around the country dozens of times with his traveling teams and to “recruitment camps.” The Schmidts are convinced that without those investments of time and money, Thomas could not have achieved his dream of a Division I athletic scholarship. The brothers Geonnie Brodie and Jalanie Taylor, twelve and six, are both players in the local Pop Warner football program, the Durham Eagles. Their single mom, La’Toya Taylor, struggles to pay the hundreds of dollars it costs for her sons to pursue their football dreams (including gas money, cleats, and game tickets), but she does it anyway. “[I] want them to feel the same, or have the same opportunity, that the other kids have,” La’Toya says. Callie Scher, co-captain of the women’s soccer team at Durham’s Jordan High School, is also a passionate fan—of Duke men’s basketball, first and foremost, but of other men’s and women’s sports as well. It’s not lost on her that girls have all but caught up to boys in rates of sports participation, but that sport in the public mind, and certainly in the media, is still a man’s world. That chasm plays out in the culture of her school. “It bothers me a lot,” Callie says, “because we go out there and work as hard as [the boys] and we want people to come to our games and support us, but they really do say to our face, like, ‘It’s boring, we don’t want to come watch you.’” The Contested episode will air on public radio stations across the country starting May 14, 2014. It can be found on the State of the Re:Union website after May 20.

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Photographs by Jen Kinney from City Under One Roof, Whittier, Alaska, 2011–12

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Photographs by Jen Kinney from City Under One Roof, Whittier, Alaska, 2011–12

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2014 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival Award Winners


he seventeenth annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, a program of the Center for Documentary Studies, was held April 3–6 in downtown Durham, North Carolina. The four-day event, one of the premier documentary festivals, featured screenings of feature and short nonfiction films from around the world, filmmaker Q&As, panel discussions, and plenty of opportunities for dialogue and entertainment, including an Awards BBQ on April 6. While a number of films screened out of competition, the forty-eight films in the NEW DOCS program were eligible for this year’s awards—thirty-three features and fifteen shorts selected from over twelve hundred submissions, including ten World and ten North American premieres. Juries and Full Frame audiences selected ten awards, including the Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award. The CDS Filmmaker Award is a $7,500 annual prize juried by CDS representatives that was created to honor and support documentary artists whose works are potential catalysts for education and change, who best connect the power of the documentary tradition with community life, and who best lead viewers to understand and reflect on themselves and the world portrayed. This year’s award went to Darius Clark Monroe’s Evolution of a Criminal, which also received the Reva and David Logan Grand Jury Award. Monroe was a teenage honor student in Texas when, overwhelmed by his family’s financial problems, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He and two friends, one of them armed, robbed a suburban Houston bank. Monroe was tried as an adult and sentenced to five years; while in prison he pondered the implications of his decision and also came to the realization that he wanted to be a filmmaker. A decade after the crime, he went back home and turned the camera on himself, interviewing family, friends, teachers, and victims who were in the bank at the time of the robbery in order to tell the story of what happened and examine how his actions had affected numerous others. Grand Jury members praised the film, which was executive produced by Spike Lee, “for its mix of autobiographical storytelling and inventive use of re-creations” and “for its ability to disrupt what has become a familiar narrative.”

y Interview with 2014 Full Frame Tribute honoree Steve James y

Other 2014 Full Frame Awards Full Frame Jury Award for Best Short White Earth, J. Christian Jensen. Against the backdrop of a North Dakota winter, a mother and three children describe the impact of the oil boom on their lives.

Full Frame Audience Awards Feature: The Hand That Feeds, Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick. New York City restaurant workers stand up for their rights, despite the threat of job loss and deportation. Short: The Silly Bastard Next to the Bed, Scott Calonico. A humorous retelling of how JFK handled a scandal over some pricey bedroom furniture during the last summer of his presidency.

Full Frame Inspiration Award The Overnighters, Jesse Moss. A pastor in an oil boomtown opens his doors to desperate and disillusioned jobseekers, and unintended consequences follow from his well-intentioned actions.

Full Frame President’s Award Santa Cruz del Islote, Luke Lorentzen. On a remote island, one of the most densely populated on the planet, a community struggles to maintain its way of life as resources and opportunities dwindle.

Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award Return to Homs, Talal Derki. On the front lines of the Syrian civil war, two friends determined to defend their city abandon peaceful resistance and take up arms.

Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award for Human Rights Private Violence, Cynthia Hill. Two women’s complex stories of survival explore the way we talk about and deal with domestic violence as a society.

Nicholas School Environmental Award The Great Invisible, Margaret Brown. A chilling investigation of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, told through the stories of people still experiencing its aftereffects—from oil executives to Gulf Coast residents.



Vanishing Point New Student-Run Digital Magazine By CDS Writer-in-Residence Duncan Murrell


t is a truism about this place, the Center for Documentary Studies, that we attract some of the most thoughtful and creative students at Duke. They work hard, they’re here in the Lyndhurst House till all hours—in the darkroom, in the computer labs, scribbling away in the booths, spending hours with headphones on endlessly rewinding and editing. They make art, and it’s always struck me as a real shame that more people don’t see this work, which all of us around here already know to be fantastic. With the idea that we might, in some small way, project this work to the world, we started a class this semester, Documentary Publishing. It was a leap of faith for all of us: Could we bring together fourteen undergrad and grad students with no prior publishing experience to make a professional-quality digital magazine of documentary arts? I’m happy to report, as their instructor, that we all had nothing to worry about. After much thought, study, argument, design, re-design, and planning, after much work to develop a professional process of editing, copyediting, proofreading, design, and promotion—all of which is being codified in a growing stylebook/publishing/workflow guide that we hope will help subsequent generations of staff to keep the magazine going into the indefinite future—the students published the first issue of Vanishing Point in March, less than two months after first meeting. They’ve drawn on the best of student work here at CDS and Duke, as well as work from some UNC– Chapel Hill students. Their magazine is truly multimedia, giving equal weight and attention to film, audio, writing, and photography. That first issue, “Vol. 1: A Place in the World,” featured writing about ballet dancers and about heavy metal concertgoers; films about a blind widower’s evening rituals and about the joyous, raucous journey to adulthood of five teenagers with autism; photo essays about the objects Chinese students at Duke keep in their dorm rooms and about the life of a Native American leader in a nearby town; and an audio story about the life and views of a Vietnamese manicurist. The reception to the first issue was intense and unexpected. The prominent literary news site The Millions was moved to write, “The students working on Vanishing Point

are creating something really incredible. We’re impressed. . . . It seems abundantly clear that college students are better at putting together web publications than 99 percent of established publishing outfits.” The director of a similar project at Dartmouth, comparing it to their own publication, wrote in with his support: “It’s brilliant. . . . The ante has been upped.” And at the University of Michigan, the publication of Vanishing Point prompted one prominent writer and instructor to tell us that he admired the magazine and had been inspired to get his own students into the publishing game: “I’ve got some dreams and I intend to throw down. Give me a semester or two.” So there are measurable, brag-worthy outcomes of our first foray into teaching web publishing here at CDS, but it’s important to say that none of that was really the point of this experiment. We wanted to create an outlet for the work of our students not just for the sake of publishing a magazine, but also so that students in all of our disciplines might have an audience to think about as they make their documentary art and a visible standard of excellence in student work to which they could aspire. For the Vanishing Point staff, the point hasn’t been only to make a website, it’s also been to have real, consequential, ongoing discussions about what “documentary” is and what makes a work of documentary art great, at least great enough to publish; along the way, the students have often seen their ideas expanded by new, strange, compelling work. In short, our Documentary Publishing students are developing and elaborating their taste, an aesthetic and thematic frame through which to look at the world and at documentary art. They’ve begun that lifelong quest that never ends. And, incidentally, they’re walking out of the classroom capable of starting their own magazines from top to bottom. Someday, we hope that Vanishing Point will have proven to be the starting point for a new generation of publishers bringing great documentary art to the world.


opposite : Still from Evolution of a Criminal, directed by Darius Clark Monroe. top : Image from the Prelinger Archives, from Vol. 1 of Vanishing Point.

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Steven B. Smith, The Weather and a Place to Live, 2004 Larry Schwarm, On Fire, 2002

CDS / Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

Larry Schwarm, On Fire, 2002


“I am very pleased, and honored, to partic A photographer’s first book is an amazing about pictures: we see too many of them, most significant form of communication. W the web; we see fewer of them in books The technology of the book is ancient and pictures at will, we can pick up the book in a certain order, we can contemplate wh that contribute to the reverberant meanin photographs, are not being lost to the di come only more meaningful, more treasur

—Sandra S. Phillips, Senior Cur Judge, 2014 CDS/Honickman F

Gerard H. Gaskin, Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene, 2012

Danny Wilcox Frazier, Driftless: Photographs from Iowa, 2006

cipate in the First Book Prize competition. gly potent object. Today we are very casual , in a way they have replaced words as our We see photographs in our cell phones, on s, printed the old-fashioned way, on paper. d still has advantages—we can re-see the and sit comfortably with it, we can read it hat an author has written of the pictures— ng of the pictures. Picture books, books of igital revolution; if anything they have bered.”

Jennette Williams, The Bathers, 2008

Benjamin Lowy, Iraq | Perspectives, 2010

rator of Photography, SFMOMA First Book Prize in Photography

Submissions accepted June 15 to September 15, 2014





An Everyday Affair Selling the Kodak Image to America, 1888–1989 Porch and University Galleries | Through September 13, 2014 “The idea gradually dawned on me that what we were doing was not merely making dry plates, but that we were starting out to make photography an everyday affair.” —George Eastman, founder of the Eastman Kodak Company Between 1888 and 1975, the Eastman Kodak Company invented the first handheld camera, roll film, 35mm negative and slide films, the first line of color film for amateurs, and the first digital camera—essentially making photography as we’ve experienced it for the past hundred years possible. Kodak transformed the once costly and cumbersome pursuit of image making into an inexpensive and spontaneous affair, such that almost anyone could become a photographer. Alongside their technical advances, Eastman Kodak broke new ground in commercial marketing. By pioneering the use of print advertisements featuring persuasive slogans and romanticized illustrations, Kodak convinced consumers that photographing their daily lives was both a joyful pastime and a familial duty, and they made it as easy as pressing a button. Take a Kodak with you. Kodak as you go. Keep a Kodak story of the children. Make somebody happy with a Kodak. You can keep happiness with snapshots. Treasured moments deserve Kodak film. You press the button, we do the rest.

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Kodak’s promotional pleas, along with their amateurfriendly cameras, ushered in an era of documentary compulsion that continues to thrive today. Ironically, while these innovative production and marketing strategies led to the worldwide ubiquity of photography, they also may have contributed to Kodak’s eventual bankruptcy in 2011 as other companies began to simplify and glorify digital technology more effectively. An Everyday Affair surveys 101 years of Eastman Kodak advertisements in five thematic groupings to examine the ideology of simplicity and pleasure that the company sold to America with its products. The exhibit features reproductions of advertisements—from the Wayne P. Ellis Collection of Kodakiana and the J. Walter Thompson Company Domestic Advertisements Collection, held in the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History at Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Library—as well as a selection of vintage Kodak cameras. —Lisa McCarty, An Everyday Affair curator and 2013–14 CDS exhibitions intern

top : Advertisements from the Wayne P. Ellis Collection of

Kodakiana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.



Photographs by Lucian Perkins Juanita Kreps Gallery | June 2–October 11, 2014

Lucian Perkins’ arresting gelatin silver and black-andwhite inkjet photographs bring alive a soon-to-erupt hardcore punk scene in the nation’s capital on the eve of the Reagan presidency, an enormously influential artistic and cultural movement inspired by then unknown bands like Bad Brains, the Teen Idles, and the Slickee Boys. Perkins, a two-time Pulitzer Prizewinning photojournalist (1995 and 2000), was a 26-year-old intern at the Washington Post when he shot the images featured in Hard Art at four shows in D.C. in the fall and winter of 1979–1980—at Hard Art Gallery, Madams Organ Artist’s Cooperative, and the Valley Green public housing complex. The Valley Green show was conceived of by Bad Brains frontman H.R. as a Rock Against Racism action, a movement born in the U.K. that aimed to promote greater racial harmony through music. The negatives languished in storage until 1995, when Perkins hired photographer/photo archivist Lely Constantinople to organize several decades of his work. Going through what Constantinople describes as “an ocean of negatives, prints, contact sheets, all jumbled into a mass in his basement,” she was stopped in her tracks by the remarkable, but unmarked, negatives from the Valley Green show—“What is going on here? Where is this?” She then recognized her boyfriend (now husband), Alec MacKaye, in some of the other negatives. MacKaye was fourteen when the images were shot, a young hardcore fan who would become a prominent musician. His older brother, Ian, later of Minor Threat and Fugazi fame, was there too, with his band, the Teen Idles. Perkins let Constantinople make two sets of contact sheets from the the punk show negatives to give to the MacKaye brothers, who were ecstatic over this historical record of a time that the New York Times described in a 2013 story as “a seminal moment in music history.” With Perkins’ blessing, Constantinople retained the images with the idea that they might be published or exhibited at some point. Hard Art, DC 1979 was published in 2013 (Akashic Books) and includes a narrative by Alec MacKaye and an essay from D.C. kid turned punk legend Henry Rollins. The accompanying



Hard Art, DC 1979

traveling exhibition was organized and edited by Constantinople and Jayme McLellan, director of Civilian Art Projects gallery. “One of the things I still get chills about with these photographs is their raw power, their non-agenda openness,” says Constantinople. “It feels like you’ve been dropped into a time, a place, a moment. You’re not looking at there, you are there—with it and of it.”

top : Alec MacKaye with Charlie Danbury of Trenchmouth, Madams

Organ Artist’s Cooperative, 1979. middle and bottom : Charlie Danbury, Valley Green Housing

Complex, 1979. Photographs by Lucian Perkins.

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Education Undergraduate Education 2014 Certificate in Documentary Studies Graduates The Certificate in Documentary Studies program attracts undergraduates to the Center for Documentary Studies from across the arts and sciences. Under the guidance of Alex Harris and Libi Striegl (and Nancy Kalow in the case of William Baumgartner), eight students in the 2014 spring semester Capstone Seminar completed a final project as the culmination of their documentary studies classes. On April 27 the students presented their projects at a ceremony in the CDS auditorium and received their certificates, followed by a celebratory BBQ. Here, the 2014 Certificate in Documentary Studies graduates describe themselves and their work:

William Tobias Baumgartner Boulder, Colorado Major: Program II—Visual Media and Health Disparities (Documentary Studies and Global Health) My Duke experience has been characterized by a pursuit of multi-disciplinary studies. Through my self-created Program II major, I have been able to synthesize studies in documentary film and photography, biology, global health, statistics, epidemiology, and cultural anthropology (among others) in order to create multimedia pieces that explore and narrate complex health issues around the world. In four years at Duke, I have made films in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Guatemala, Bolivia, Durham, and Colorado, on subjects ranging from HIV to drug abuse to electronic music. The Center for Documentary Studies was a huge part of my decision to attend Duke University, as faculty reached out to me before I had even made my decision and showed me the passion and dedication CDS has for teaching storytelling. I am hoping to spend the next year making a documentary film on Latin American water policy, and I will attend medical school this or the following year. Ultimately, I hope to constantly integrate health and media in order to tell untold stories of global health disparities.

Danzhou Duojie Yushu, Tibet Major: Cultural Anthropology, with a Certificate in Arts of the Moving Image Before my family owned a TV, I remember my parents narrating fairy tales and real stories. Those stories were my window into the lives of my parents and grandparents, and in some ways, the reservoirs of my knowledge about my culture and its past. However, the introduction of modern media technology has replaced the bedtime storytelling tradition. While I enjoyed growing up watching TV and movies as a member of one of the first generations in Tibet to consume such forms of entertainment, a part of me still longed for the bedtime storytelling of my parents. I believe that documentary fulfills the

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telling of traditional stories through modern means and preserves stories as episodes of the history and culture of a people. When I first tried to make films, I quickly realized the need to receive a proper training in filmmaking. Duke stood out as I was searching for the best documentary schools, and the Certificate in Documentary Studies program will enable me to achieve my dream. My capstone project is a film about the process of recovery in the aftermath of a 2010 earthquake that devastated my hometown in Tibet. For the past three summers, I went back home and tried to capture the recovery and the reconstruction of the town. This film tells the story of the courage and the struggle of the people to rise from the rubble of the earthquake and build a new home.

Adrienne Harreveld Jupiter, Florida Major: History Minor: Political Science  I came to Duke from a performing arts high school where I concentrated in music performance. After arriving in Durham I wanted to completely forget my artistic background and only focus on what I thought my true passions were: policy and politics. But during my first semester of just academic work, campaigns, and thought talks, I deeply missed the creativity I had previously been immersed in. This is what led me to take classes at the Center for Documentary Studies. I wanted to integrate my passion for policy, history, organizing, and journalism with creativity and artistry. Getting the Certificate in Documentary Studies has been the defining experience of my college career. It has introduced me to so many different, vibrant communities in North Carolina and instilled within me a love of storytelling. My capstone project is a historical archive and twenty-minute video piece on the history of Internationalist Books, a leftist/anarchist bookstore in Chapel Hill. I have loved combining my academic historical training with documentary and hope to continue making projects like this in the future. I hope to pursue a career in policy journalism or documentary.

Jordan Imbrey Charlotte, North Carolina Major: Communications—Media Production Minor: Writing for the Screen and Stage I have loved telling stories since childhood and developed a passion for filmmaking in high school as I embarked upon a journey to make a series of three thirty-minute superhero comedy films. I spend most of my time writing, directing, and producing fictional films on various comedic and absurd subjects. Courses in documentary studies have provided me the tremendous opportunity to explore the telling of nonfictional narratives—I have fallen in love with projects that attempt to span the border between fiction and nonfiction. Taking courses toward the certificate has been fascinating; I have learned more and more about what documentaries can achieve, both on a philosophical level and a tangible one. Courses with Bruce Orenstein and Michelle Lanier taught me about the power of the docu-


Katia Griffin-Jakymec Louisville, Kentucky Major: International Comparative Studies (South Asia)

I became interested in cultural representations, connections, and real voices through my major. As my passion for identity, storytelling, and the “outward gaze” grew, I gravitated toward documentary studies as a means and platform for captivating, sometimes jarring, authentic expression of the world(s) around us. The Center for Documentary Studies has exposed me to fascinating new forms, themes, and questions, guiding me to seek the familiar in the foreign and the foreign in the familiar. My capstone project follows the lives of three South Asian international scholars’ spouses at Duke University as they experience and navigate the spaces and faces of Duke and Durham. How does the idea of home change or remain the same? How do mundane everyday moments embody their sense of alienation or belonging? How do they tell their own stories? I include my interlocutors’ recorded voices and/or handwritten reflections on family photographs as I seek to portray how they reflect on their own lives on this campus.

David Mayer Durham, North Carolina Major: Visual and Media Studies

People’s stories have always been what drive me. I have always been obsessed with how other people live and with the stories that people tell about their own lives. I became interested in pursuing the Certificate in Documentary Studies in my freshman year when I took Gary Hawkins’ introductory course on documentary filmmaking. Professor Hawkins taught me an approach to storytelling that changed the way I see moviemaking. He showed me what is possible through cinematic techniques.  For the past two years I have worked on my capstone project, a documentary film titled Questions for My Grandfather. It is a movie about trying to find the story of the grandfather that I never met. We all tell stories about ourselves, and these stories come to define us. And as I found out while making Questions for My Grandfather, these stories even come to define the generations of people that will live long after we are gone. This is why I want to make documentaries: to tell and share stories.  


Natalie Robles Goldsboro, North Carolina Major: Cultural Anthropology Minor: Music While I believe everyone is essentially a documentarian, I plan on becoming a documentary filmmaker after navigating this world with a nuanced, anthropological eye. I’ve taken an interest in filming the outcasts—those who are misunderstood or stereotyped in society. I’ve documented displaced families in Medellín, Colombia, street musicians in New York City, and an impoverished blues musician in North Carolina. I emphasize that I’m not here to give people voices, because I don’t have the ability to do so for anyone but myself. All I do is merely remind us that we are all human and that all stories deserve to be heard. My capstone project, Kinston & Mother Earth, is a sociological analysis of one company’s power and presence in a town with a rich history but vulnerable economic status. I document the effect a recent and successful brewery, Mother Earth, has on a complex community of people, as locals deal with newfound tourism, hippie gentrification, and chronic unemployment. Kinston has been a laboratory for resurgence and revitalization every twenty or thirty years. What do Kinstonians think of this newest craft beer and gourmet food renaissance? How does a town interact with change? Who is benefitting and who isn’t? Most may see Kinston as just another dilapidated southern town, but its metamorphosis is emblematic of many changes occurring in towns all over the country. I am fortunate to see it happening from the ground up, and as one watches my documentary, I hope the viewer can see that transformation is incredibly complex, even in the tiniest of towns.



mentary form in policy. Josh Gibson led me to investigate the borders and questions of documentary work. In Karen Price’s course on Los Angeles, I got a picture of how narrative films can be woven together to create a documentary thesis, and with Katherine Hyde, I learned about the origins of and ethical issues associated with this kind of storytelling. The capstone seminar with Alex Harris has been a great opportunity to distill this learning and apply it to a project of my own—an investigation on a very basic level into what it means to be “normal” in my generation. We are bombarded with Baby Boomers trying to define us in Time magazine and trendy articles that refute that description, but what, at ground level, do college students say is normal for us?

Yvette Vasquez San Diego, California Major: Cultural Anthropology When I close my eyes, I can still see my grandmother standing in front of the stove, one hand on the counter while the other rhythmically stirs the pot of frijoles placed before her. I can hear the tortillas crackling over the adjacent flame. The scent in the air is a wonderful dance between the spice of the serrano peppers she mixes into the beans and the spice of cinnamon infused with the aroma of coffee that sits in a pot on the counter. As I open my eyes, I am once again reminded of the immense role documentary work has played in my life. It is the wish to capture moments such as these that drives the passion for my work, largely through writing and photography. By capture, I mean to go beyond a scratched note or an instantaneous click of the shutter. I have learned that beauty is found in the mundane. In this, documentary work has encouraged me to experience the moment as the best means through which to truly understand. In doing so, I seek not to capture an image, but an experience. This yearning has affected every aspect of my time here at Duke. Whether I am writing my thesis in cultural anthropology or completing my capstone project in documentary studies, retrospective images from my childhood in San Diego are what continue to drive this challenge within myself.

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Continuing Education



Featured Summer Course: Photography Institute June 2–6, 2014

2014 Julia Harper Day Award Winner David Mayer The Julia Harper Day Award was created by the Center for Documentary Studies in 1992 in memory of the young woman who was the CDS’s first staff member, a writer and photographer of real accomplishment. This $500 award goes to a graduating Duke University senior who has demonstrated excellence in documentary studies and contributed significantly to CDS programs. This year’s Julia Harper Day Award goes to David Mayer, a visual and media studies major and Certificate in Documentary Studies graduate (see page 13) who grew up in Durham, North Carolina, the son of two college professors. David grew up listening to his parents tell stories about kids who go on great adventures, and he grew to love the art of storytelling. David’s other obsession has been sports. In his freshman year, he earned a spot on the Duke basketball team as a walk-on. Having accomplished that goal, he left the team the following summer “longing for something else,” having fallen in love with filmmaking through a course taught by Gary Hawkins, Documentary Experience: A Video Approach. Since then David has made two documentaries, including his latest, Questions for My Grandfather, an intimate and personal retelling of his grandfather’s Holocaust story as a parallel to his own comfortable suburban upbringing. David received a John Hope Franklin Award from CDS in 2012 to help fund the first of several trips to Germany to capture footage related to his grandfather’s life, guided by a journal Paul Mayer began in 1945 just before his deportation. Gary Hawkins, who nominated David for the award, had this to say about him: “David’s first film, which concerned the self-appointed Goth caretaker of a cerebral palsy victim, was elegant, the best in the class. With his next, Questions for My Grandfather, David tackled not only the feature documentary process but a process of self-illumination as well. He shows enormous promise as a thinker and a filmmaker—I believe that he will go on to distinguish himself in the national and international filmmaking community.” Case in point—his next ambitious film project is Maidenhead (working title), which addresses poverty in the town of Maidenhead and the greater London area. The project has been fully funded, and David will begin production in the fall of 2014. Having worked with David on Maidenhead already, Professor Hawkins says he expects him “to deliver a festival-worthy film.” We’re happy that David will bear this CDS honor as he makes his way into the documentary filmmaking world, staying true to his storytelling roots and knowing he has found his passion. —Charlie Thompson, CDS director of undergraduate education top : From Questions for My Grandfather by David Mayer. right: Amy, 2007. Photograph by Harlan Campbell.

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This summer, the CDS Continuing Education program’s revamped Photography Institute, which in the past has revolved around portfolio review, will be more of a getyour-hands-dirty affair, in which students will capture, manipulate, and print images while crossing the analog/ digital divide. The updated institute was the brainchild of its instructor, CDS photography and digital arts associate Harlan Campbell. Students will make images using both digital and largeformat film cameras. Film negatives will be scanned in high resolution, adjusted in Photoshop, and printed with archival inks using inkjet printers. Digital images will be converted into physical negatives and printed in the darkroom. In this way, students will get a grounding in traditional photographic processes as well as current digital techniques and will learn to seamlessly blend the two methodologies. Shooting with the 4 x 5 film camera forces students to slow down and think carefully about every aspect of what they’re doing, from the composition to the exposure, and shooting digitally has practical and powerful benefits that allow the user to work in ways that simply aren’t possible with film. “The idea is to get everyone out of their box,” says Campbell. “It’s about liberating yourself from selfimposed constraints. Someone who shoots with the same camera, the same way, and prints the same way—the medium can end up being the style,” rather than the photographer’s personal vision. “There are those who say ‘film is superior to digital,’ or ‘film is dead, let’s move on.’” says Campbell. “I think there’s benefit in having access to all of it, and using the respective strengths and limitations of the media to our advantage.” He sees parallels between the emergence of the smartphone, which has put a camera in everyone’s pocket, and the invention of the portable 35mm camera, which helped free photographers from formal portraiture conventions and led to the rise of street photography. “A compelling photograph can be made either deliberately or spontaneously, so in that respect you can take images from an iPhone as seriously as you take images from a 4 x 5 camera,” he says. To register for the Photography Institute and other summer courses:



A Laboratory for the Documentary Arts The Power Plant Gallery in downtown Durham celebrated its one-year anniversary this spring as an active arts space. An off-site extension of the arts at Duke University, the gallery is a joint initiative of the Center for Documentary Studies and the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program. The 1,500-square-foot space was conceived as a laboratory for documentary and experimental art practices and features a rotating program of work by students, faculty, and visiting scholars, as well as locally, nationally, and internationally recognized artists working in a range of media, from photography and painting to video and installation. Adding to the gallery’s draw is its location in the renovated Power Plant at the historic American Tobacco Campus, a dynamic facility that also includes a stateof-the-art screening space in the Full Frame Theater as well as the Boiler Room, a unique event venue flanked by mammoth coal-fired boilers used in the original building. The offices of the Center for Documentary Studies’ Full Frame Documentary Film Festival are also housed on the first floor of the building.


Marco Williams: 2014–15 Lehman Brady Professor Since 2000, the Center for Documentary Studies has coordinated the Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professorship in Documentary Studies and American Studies, which brings distinguished practitioners and scholars of the documentary arts to Duke University and UNC–Chapel Hill to teach courses on both campuses and engage in lectures, screenings, and other events for students, faculty, and the general public. CDS is honored to host acclaimed documentary filmmaker Marco Williams as the next Lehman Brady Professor for the 2014–15 academic year. The Peabody and Emmy Award winner is an arts professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts whose producing




and directing credits include In Search of Our Fathers, Freedom Summer, Two Towns of Jasper, and The Undocumented, among many others. During the Fall 2014 semester Williams will teach Documenting Personal Narrative, a class open to both undergraduate and graduate students that will explore the relationship between the personal and the communal through first-person narrative in documentary film.

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JOIN FRIENDS OF CDS You can support the programs and projects of the Center for Documentary Studies—a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization affiliated with Duke University—by making a contribution through Friends of CDS. Two Ways To Give: You may make a secure

online donation at documentarystudies.duke. edu/donate or you may send a check payable to “Center for Documentary Studies” to Friends of CDS, 1317 W. Pettigrew Street, Durham, NC 27705. For More Information: Contact Lynn

McKnight, Associate Director for Programs and Development, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University: 919-660-3663 or

View of the Power Plant Gallery. Photograph by Christopher Sims.

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"Document" Summer 2014  
"Document" Summer 2014