The Julia Harper Day Award was created in 1992 by the Center for Documentary Studies in memory of the young woman who was the Center’s first staff member and who, herself, was a photographer and writer of real accomplishment. This award of $500 recognizes a graduating Duke senior who has demonstrated excellence in documentary studies and has contributed significantly to CDS programs.
This year’s award winner, Sarah Goetz, grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Sarah is a visual studies major graduating with a Certificate in Documentary Studies. Sarah’s capstone project, Encyclopedia Americana: Burma-Cathay, is a collection of gum-bichromate and platinum-palladium photographs of her installation, a gentle brain washing, and is accompanied by a film presenting the process, installation, and demise of the work.
“When Sarah took Large Format Photography, she quickly became comfortable with the collaborative and difficult camera, which is a testament to her ample spirit of adventure,” says CDS instructor Lisa Satterwhite. “What makes Sarah special is how she lets her intellect out to play, and it’s her lack of self-consciousness and trust that bring stunning appeal to her work. Sarah simply pays close attention to the present and all the beauty therein.”
At CDS, Sarah has also worked with Web Content Manager Chris Sims as an intern and work-study student, and was instrumental in re-designing the CDS blog. “In her time working with me, Sarah has been equal parts smart, tenacious, and creative. Without her help last summer, we could not have re-designed CDS Porch. It was an ambitious project for a student intern to help manage,” says Sims.
After graduation, Sarah will spend a year working for the Duke Visualization Technology Group while continuing to build her art and film portfolio for graduate school. “I hope to work on combining cameraless film techniques like scratching, bleaching, and ink transfers, with some documentary 16mm footage I shot in Italy, North Carolina, and Romania. I also hope to shoot a piece on VHS this summer on Route 66 about the 1950s’ attachment to the road,” she says.