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    “Picture Books” Exhibit Opens at Power Plant Gallery

    September 16th, 2014
    Selection of photobooks featured in "A Survey of Documentary Styles in Early 21st Century Photobooks."

    A selection of photobooks from “A Survey of Documentary Styles in Early 21st Century Photobooks,” featured as part of “Picture Books.”

    Picture Books, a juried exhibition of self-published and handmade photography books, opens on September 19 at the Power Plant Gallery. In addition to individual submissions, the exhibit—presented in partnership with the Click! Triangle Photography Festival—includes A Survey of Documentary Styles in Early 21st Century Photobooks from the Indie Photobook Library, curated by Larissa Leclair and Darius Himes. Picture Books explores the emergence, diversity, and artistry in photography books, encouraging viewers to consider nontraditional definitions of the photo book.

    Picture Books
    September 19–November 7, 2014
    Power Plant Gallery, American Tobacco Campus
    320 Blackwell Street, Durham, North Carolina

    Exhibit-related events at the gallery include:

    Reception with Larissa Leclair
    Thursday, October 9, 5–8 p.m.

    Book Signing with invited local authors
    Friday, October 17, 5–8 p.m.

    The Power Plant Gallery is an initiative of the Center for Documentary Studies and the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts at Duke University.

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      Listen: Student Work from the 2014 Making It Sing Audio Institute

      September 15th, 2014
      2013 Hearing Is Believing

      Students and faculty from the summer 2014 CDS audio institute, Making It Sing.

      This summer, nine producers from across the country came to the Center for Documentary Studies for the Making It Sing Audio Institute, an intensive annual weeklong course offered through our Continuing Education program. Open to audio producers of all levels of experience, from beginners to accomplished industry professionals, the workshop helps them boil down their raw tape into carefully constructed short narrative pieces. CDS audio program director John Biewen and visiting instructor Shea Shackelford were joined by veteran editor/producer Loretta Williams to guide small-group workshopping sessions. The resulting pieces were played at a listening session on the institute’s last day. Listen to six of the audio stories below.

      Country Life | Nina Feldman


      Dot’s Own Thing | Hans Anderson


      Happy Place | Marie Lovejoy


      Hundred Waters | Luisa Beck


      James River and the Kanawha Canal | Peter Solomon


      Slow Down, Mr. Werner! | Karen Werner


      Strong Medicine for Addicted Nurses | Laura Benshoff

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        September 16: Visiting Filmmaker Events with Stanley Nelson Kick Off With “The Murder of Emmett Till”

        September 12th, 2014
        Filmmaker Stanley Nelson. Photo courtesy of Firelight Media.

        Filmmaker Stanley Nelson. Photo courtesy of Firelight Media.

        This year, Duke University’s Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Visiting Filmmaker Series will feature the work of award-winning documentary filmmaker and 2013 National Humanities Medal recipient Stanley Nelson—screenings of four of his films culminating in a conversation between Nelson and Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel at the Nasher Museum of Art in October. The first screening in the series, The Murder of Emmett Till, will be introduced by documentary theater playwright Mike Wiley, a recent Lehman Brady Visiting Professor at Duke and UNC–Chapel Hill; one of Wiley’s most acclaimed works is Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till.

        During his visit to Duke, Nelson will also participate in a discussion on the challenges of documenting civil rights with former SNCC field secretary Charlie Cobb, the first activist-in-residence of the SNCC Legacy Project, a partnership between Duke and the history-changing civil rights organization. The conversation will be moderated by Center for Documentary Studies director Wesley Hogan and SUNY-Geneseo Professor Emilye Crosby

        Tuesday, September 16, 7 p.m.: The Murder of Emmett Till
        Richard White Lecture Hall, Duke University East Campus /1308 Campus Dr., Durham, North Carolina / Map

        Wednesday, September 24, 7 p.m.: Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple
        Griffith Film Theater, Bryan Center, Duke University West Campus / 125 Science Dr., Durham, North Carolina / Map

        Thursday, October 2, 7 p.m.: A Place of Our Own
        Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Old Fayetteville St., Durham, North Carolina / Map

        Tuesday, October 7, 7 p.m. : Freedom Summer
        Durham Public Library, Main Branch / 300 Roxboro St., Durham, North Carolina / Map

        Thursday, October 16, 12:30–2 p.m.: Discussion with Stanley Nelson and Charlie Cobb, moderated by Wesley Hogan and Emilye Crosby
        Center for Documentary Studies / 1317 W. Pettigrew St., Durham, North Carolina / Map

        Friday, October 17, 6–7 p.m.: Conversation with Stanley Nelson and Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, reception to follow / Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University/ 2001 Campus Dr., Durham, North Carolina

        Nelson’s films—including the critically acclaimed Freedom Riders, A Place of Our Own, Wounded Knee, and The Murder of Emmett Till, among many others—have illuminated both well-known and unknown narratives of African American history in America. In 2012, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival honored filmmaker Stanley Nelson with its annual Full Frame Tribute for his significant contribution to the documentary form. Click here to read a Full Frame interview with Nelson in 2012, discussing his distinguished career and his dedication to foster the next generation of documentarians.

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          Full Frame Third Friday Screening of Festival Favorite “A Will for the Woods”

          September 10th, 2014
          Film still from "A Will for the Woods"

          Film still from “A Will for the Woods”

          A Will for the Woods, winner of the 2013 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival Audience Award, returns to Durham for a free Third Friday screening as part of the Full Frame Road Show presented by PNC. This multi-director feature documentary (Amy Browne, Jeremy Kaplan, Tony Hale, and Brian Wilson) follows musician, psychiatrist, and folk dancer Clark Wang as he prepares for his own “green burial,” a burgeoning movement that uses burial to conserve and restore natural areas, forgoing contemporary funeral practices that operate at the ecosystem’s expense. View trailer.

          Friday, September 19, 7:30 p.m.
          Full Frame Theater, Power Plant building
          American Tobacco Campus
          320 Blackwell St., Durham, North Carolina

          While battling lymphoma, Clark and his partner Jane have become passionate about green burial, compelled by both the environmental benefits and the idea that one can remain within the cycle of life, rather than being cut off from it. The spirited pair have inspired a compassionate local cemeterian, and together they aim to use green burial to save a North Carolina woods from being clear-cut—Clark’s dream of leaving a loving, permanent legacy.

          For more information, including other upcoming Full Frame programming, click here. Note that while Full Frame Third Friday screenings are free, all attendees must reserve a ticket via Eventbrite, available at 9 a.m. on the day of the event.

          The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is a program of the Center for Documentary Studies.

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            Jon Lowenstein Wins 2014 Lange-Taylor Prize for “South Side”

            September 4th, 2014
            A young man floats in the air while jumping on a trampoline at a summer block club party, Auburn-Gresham, 2009. Photograph from "South Side" by Jon Lowenstein, winner of the 2014 Lange-Taylor Prize.

            A young man floats in the air while jumping on a trampoline at a summer block club party, Auburn-Gresham, 2009. Photograph from “South Side” by Jon Lowenstein.

            The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University has awarded the twenty-second Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize to American photographer, filmmaker, and writer Jon Lowenstein for “South Side,” his testimony to the Chicago neighborhood where he has lived and worked for over a decade. The $10,000 award is given to encourage documentary work in the tradition of acclaimed photographer Dorothea Lange and writer and social scientist Paul Taylor, and supports documentary artists—working alone or in teams—whose extended fieldwork projects rely on the interplay of words and images.

            With his “South Side” project, which combines Lowenstein’s photographs, moving images [see “A Violent Thread”], personal narrative writing and poetry, oral histories, and found ephemera, Lowenstein examines “the legacy of segregation, the impact of vast wealth inequality, and how de-industrialization and globalization play out on the ground in Chicago. . . . I have witnessed and documented the systematic and ongoing de-construction and undermining of communities and the ensuing fight to maintain a semblance of order while those neighborhoods crumble in front of our eyes.” As a white man in a predominantly black neighborhood whose presence and identity is often questioned, he says, Lowenstein has also been trying to find his own place in the story of a community that “so many people ‘like me’ had long since abandoned . . . . It’s one thing to work in the area and return to a more wealthy area at night. It’s another thing to ‘buy’ into the community.”

            With the award, Lowenstein will continue his fieldwork, which includes geo-tagging and mapping his photographs with Instagram (follow him @jonlowenstein), and plans to publish a book of his “South Side” images and writing, as well as continue to make short experimental films, in hopes of “weaving together the disparate strands” of the project to “shed light on where we are at not only in Chicago but in the United States at this vital moment in our nation’s history.”

            Click here for more information on “South Side,” including a slideshow of images, and Lowenstein, a member and owner of NOOR Images whose work has been seen in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Photo District News, The Daily Beast, and NBC News, among others.

            The members of the Lange-Taylor Prize Committee also awarded a Special Recognition to Dragana Jurisic, a photographer and researcher born in the former Yugoslavia and now based in Dublin, Ireland, for her project “YU: The Lost Country,” in which she retraces as closely as possible Rebecca West’s journey across Yugoslavia in the late 1930s, recounted in West’s Black Lamb Grey Falcon (1941). With her own annotations in a first-edition copy of Black Lamb and her own photographs, Jurisic creates a new work to relive her own “experience of Yugoslavia and re-examine conflicting emotions and memories of the country that ‘was.’”

            Click here for more information on the other finalists, both solo artists and teams, for the 2014 Lange-Taylor Prize.

            Click here for more information about the Lange-Taylor Prize, and 2015 guidelines. Submissions will be accepted from February 1–May 7, 2015. 


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              Watch: Undergraduates Explore the Lives of North Carolina Activists

              September 4th, 2014
              Students interview Allison Riggs, staff attorney for voting rights at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. Photograph by Bruce Orenstein.

              Students interview Allison Riggs, an attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. Photograph by Bruce Orenstein.

              Center for Documentary Studies visiting artist Bruce Orenstein teaches a class each semester in which undergraduates work with grassroots organizations in North Carolina to produce advocacy videos for social change. As part of the growing collaboration between Orenstein’s coursework and the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, this summer the Human Rights Center website featured some of the work undertaken by students in Orenstein’s Spring 2014 Video for Social Change class—interviews with North Carolina social activists, lawyer advocates, and labor leaders, and a short video on the history of Black Workers for Justice that incorporates clips from the interview with BWFJ founding member Angaza Laughinghouse. Visit the webpage here.

              This semester, Orenstein’s students will interview low-wage workers, economists, and business and community leaders to produce a series of video and audio vignettes for a CDS traveling exhibit, Trying to Get By: Stories of North Carolina’s Low-Wage Workers in the New Economy.

              Watch these videos from previous Video for Social Change classes:
              The School-to-Prison Pipeline
              Forward Together, Not One Step Back (voting rights)
              Your Voice, Their Money (money and politics)

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                Learn More About Our Continuing Education Classes in the Documentary Arts

                September 4th, 2014

                The Center for Documentary Studies. Photograph by Joel Mora.

                Join us at the Center for Documentary Studies on September 8: Prospective and current students are invited to an information session on our  Continuing Education classes in the documentary arts—photography, video, audio, writing, multimedia, and special topics. Continuing Ed instructors and program director April Walton will answer questions, provide recommendations and advice, and discuss the Certificate in Documentary Arts program. The session is free, but please register here to help gauge attendance.

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                  September 17 & 18: Events with “Hard Art, DC 1979″ Photographer Lucian Perkins and Exhibit Curators

                  September 3rd, 2014
                  Bad Brains frontman H.R., Valley Green Housing Complex, Washington, D.C., 1979. Photograph by Lucian Perkins.

                  Bad Brains frontman H.R., Valley Green Housing Complex, Washington, D.C., 1979. Photograph by Lucian Perkins.

                  The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University is hosting events to celebrate the traveling exhibit Hard Art, DC 1979 with photographer Lucian Perkins—along with musician/writer Alec MacKaye—and curators Lely Constantinople and Jayme McLellan. The exhibit is on view through October 11, 2014; click here for more information and a slideshow of images.

                  In 1979, a soon-to-erupt hardcore punk scene took hold in Washington, D.C., with bands like Bad Brains, the Teen Idles, and the Slickee Boys at the forefront. Perkins, a future two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning photojournalist, was a 26-year-old intern at the Washington Post when he shot the images featured in the Hard Art exhibit (and accompanying book) at several pivotal shows—now-iconic photographs from a transformative cultural movement.

                  Wednesday, September 17, 6–9 p.m.
                  Reception and artists’ talk (7 p.m.) with Lucian Perkins and Alec MacKaye

                  Thursday, September 18, 6–9 p.m.
                  Reception and curator’s conversation (7 p.m.) with Jayme McLellan and Lely Constantinople

                  Center for Documentary Studies
                  1317 W. Pettigrew St., Durham, North Carolina

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                    Deadline Extended to September 22 for CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography

                    September 2nd, 2014
                    Vanessa at Judges Table, Revlon Ball, Manhattan, 1997. Photograph by Gerard H. Gaskin, winner of the 2012 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography.

                    Vanessa at Judges Table, Revlon Ball, Manhattan, 1997. Photograph by Gerard H. Gaskin, winner of the 2012 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography.

                    Submissions for the seventh CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography competition will now be accepted through September 22, 2014, a one-week extension.* The prestigious biennial prize is awarded by the Center for Documentary Studies and the Honickman Foundation. Sandra S. Phillips, senior curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, is this year’s prize judge; Joshua Chuang, chief curator of the Center for Creative Photography, is selection panel judge.

                    For more information on the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography, including application instructions and galleries of past winners: Delve more deeply into news about the prize and the photography world in general on the new First Book Prize blog.

                    The competition is open to North American photographers who have never had a book-length publication, and honors work that is visually compelling, that bears witness, and that has integrity of purpose. Winners receive a grant of $3,000, publication of a book of photography, inclusion in an online exhibition of prizewinners, and a solo exhibition; photographs are then placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts in Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Library. “A photographer’s first book is an amazingly potent object,” says Phillips. “Picture books, books of photographs, are not being lost to the digital revolution; if anything they have become only more meaningful, more treasured.”

                    *There is a grace period through midnight (EST) on September 26, 2014, for applicants who have started their submissions before the September 22 deadline.


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                      “An Everyday Affair” Exhibit of Vintage Kodak Ads and Cameras Closes September 13

                      September 2nd, 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

                      An exhibit at the Center for Documentary Studies surveys 101 years of Eastman Kodak ads to examine the ideology of simplicity and pleasure that the company sold to America with its products. An Everyday Affair: Selling the Kodak Image to America, 1888–1989, was curated by MFA|EDA alum and former CDS exhibitions intern Lisa McCarty, who writes:

                      “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, transforming the once costly and cumbersome pursuit of image-making into an inexpensive, spontaneous pursuit.

                      An Everyday Affair: Selling the Kodak Image to America, 1888–1989
                      Through September 13, 2014
                      Center for Documentary Studies, Porch and University Galleries
                      1317 W. Pettigrew St., Durham, North Carolina

                      “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.”

                      An Everyday Affair features reproductions of Eastman Kodak 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.

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