Alec Soth, Keynote Lecture: From Here to There Since his inclusion in the 2004 Whitney and Sao Paulo biennials, Alec Soth’s reputation as one of the most interesting voices in contemporary photography has continued to grow. Soth has received fellowships from the McKnight and Jerome Foundations and was the recipient of the 2003 Santa Fe Prize for Photography. His photographs are in major public and private collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Walker Art Center. He has authored two books: Sleeping by the Mississippi (Steidl, 2008) and Niagara (Steidl, 2006). Other publications include One Day. Ten Photographers (Kehrer, 2011), From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America (Walker Art Center, 2010), The Auckland Project: Photographs by John Gossage and Alec Soth (Radius Books, 2010), Rodarte. Photographs by Catherine Opie and Alec Soth (JRP/Ringier, 2010), and more. He is also an active blogger and runs his own publishing business, Little Brown Mushroom. His work can be viewed at http://alecsoth.com/. His publishing projects are viewable online at http://littlebrownmushroom.com
Hosted by the Everson Museum of Art, the exhibition From Here to There: Alec Soth's America provides a focused look at an extraordinary photographer whose compelling images of the American road and its unexpected turns form powerful narrative vignettes. The exhibition will be the artist's first major survey assembled in the United States, exploring over fifteen years of his career, and including an extensive new body of work. The exhibition was curated by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
John Gossage, Featured Speaker: By any measure John Gossage is a non-conformist. He was thrown out of high school at sixteen, yet taught college at the graduate school level for close to twenty years. He was never formally trained as a graphic designer, yet has designed twelve of his own photography books, as well as numerous books for other artists. He grew up in a household where there was no art, no music, and no books, yet has amassed a personal library of thousands of photography books, curated dozens of photography exhibitions, and served as a consultant to art collectors and foundations around the world. Published books include One Day. Ten Photographers (Kehrer, 2011), The Absolute Truth (Super Labo, 2011), The Thirty-Two Inch Ruler/Map of Babylon (Steidl, 2010), The Auckland Project: Photographs by John Gossage and Alec Soth (Radius Books, 2010), The Pond (Aperture, 2010), Here (Rochester Art Center, 2010), Secrets of Real Estate (John Gossage, 2008), America (Rocket Gallery, 2007), Putting Back the Wall (Loosestrife Editions, 2007), Berlin in the Time of the Wall (Loosestrife Editions, 2004), and more.
Doug DuBois, Honored Educator: Doug DuBois received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. His work has been exhibited internationally at galleries such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY; J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA; and PARCO Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, among many others. His work is included in the permanent collections at SFMOMA in San Francisco, CA; The Library of Congress in Washington, DC; and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England, and others. He has received grants and fellowships from Constance Saltonstall; Eliot Porter, New Mexico Council on Photography; Light Work; MacDowell Colony; the National Endowment for the Arts; SITE Santa Fe; Texas Commission on the Arts, and Yaddo. DuBois is currently a professor in the Department of Transmedia, part of Syracuse University's College of Visual and Performing Arts. His recent publication is … all the days and nights (Aperture, 2009). His work can be viewed at www.dougdubois.com.
Mary Virginia Swanson: To Be Published or Self-Publish? An Overview of Options forArtists Mary Virginia Swanson makes it her goal to help guide photographers towards the strengths in their work and to identify appreciative audiences for their prints, exhibitions, editorial, and licensing placement. Swanson has a diverse professional background, having coordinated educational, publication, and exhibition programs for a wide range of institutions and businesses. She is a consultant of licensing and marketing fine-art photography. A respected judge of competitions and awards as well as portfolio reviewer, she is widely recognized for her blog, Marketing Photos. Publications include Publish Your Photography Book (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011), co-authored with Darius D. Himes, and The Business of Photography: Principles and Practices (MV Swanson, 2007). More information about Swanson can be found at http://mvswanson.com.
Andy Adams: Photo 2.0 — Online Photographic Thinking Andy Adams is an independent web producer + photo publisher whose work blends aspects of digital communication, online audience engagement, and web-based creative collaboration to explore contemporary ideas in photography. Recent projects include The Future of Photobooks, a cross-blog conversation that considered the impact of internet culture on photographic production, exhibition and distribution and 100 Portraits — 100 Photographers, a digital exhibition of contemporary portraiture that has shown at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Australian Centre for Photography and numerous festivals in the U.S. and abroad. In his spare time he publishes FlakPhoto.com, an online art space that promotes the discovery of artists, bookmakers and photo organizations from around the world. More about him on his website at AndyAdamsPhoto.com.
Molly Landreth is a Seattle based artist who explores concepts of identity and community by way of intimate large-format film photography and multi-media collaboration. She was recently featured in the New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Time Magazine's Lens Blog and in The Advocate for her work on "Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America." Landreth holds an MFA in Photography,Video, and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts, New York; and a BA in Studio Art from Scripps College in California. She is faculty at The Photographic Center Northwest in association with the Art Department at Seattle University. http://mollylandreth.com/
Amy Stein is a photographer and teacher based in New York City. Her work explores our evolving isolation from community, culture and the environment. She has been exhibited nationally and internationally and her work is featured in many private and public collections such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Nevada Museum of Art, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and the George Eastman House Photography Collection. Amy was raised in Washington, DC, and Karachi, Pakistan. She holds a BS in Political Science from James Madison University and a MS in Political Science from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. In 2006, Amy received her MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Stein teaches photography at Parsons The New School for Design and the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Amy is represented by Robert Koch Gallery in San Francisco and ClampArt in New York.
Phillip Toledano is a conceptual artist for whom everything starts with a idea. The themes of his work are primarily socio-political, although he has of late strayed into the deeply personal. The idea determines the execution. Consequently, his work varies in medium, from photography to installation, sculpture to painting. His first book, entitled Bankrupt (photographs of recently vacated offices) was published by Twin Palms in 2005. The second book, Phonesex (again by Twin Palms) came out in December of 2008. His third, Days with my father, was published by Chronicle, and was released in June of 2010. The rights for Days have been optioned to be a movie. A fourth book: A new kind of beauty (Portraits of people who've recreated themselves through plastic surgery) will be published by Dewi Lewis and released in the fall of 2011. Toledano's work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Aperture, and Harpers, amongst others.
General Speakers, Abstracts & Bios:
COLETTE COPELAND Publish or Perish—the artist as critic
Abstract (lecture): Inspired by the 2010 CAA panel entitled The Artist- Critic: The Critic-Artist, this lecture will address publishing from an artist/writer perspective. The CAA panelists discussed how working artists might bring a different perspective to art criticism. The panelists questioned how artmaking shapes the criticality of the writing as well as how the writing affects the studio practice. In a time where universities and colleges have experienced severe budget cuts, how might a practicing artist employ writing to expand his/her teaching repertoire? In a time where newspapers and magazines are in the red, and online publications seek writers who will write for free, how might an artist writer acquire publishing opportunities? Most importantly, when our studio time is so limited, why take time away to write? What are the benefits—not only to our professional career, but to our own artistic practice?
Bio: Colette Copeland is a multimedia visual artist and cultural critic whose work examines issues surrounding gender, death, and contemporary culture. Sourcing personal narratives and popular media, she utilizes video, photography, performance, and sculptural installation to question societal roles and the pervasive influence of media and technology on our communal enculturation.
For the past nine years, she taught at the University of Pennsylvania in the areas of visual studies, critical writing, and photography. She just relocated to Dallas, TX where she is teaching art appreciation, digital media, and digital video at both Richland and Collin Colleges. She received her BFA from Pratt Institute in New York and her MFA from Syracuse University. She is the recipient of a Leeway Foundation Award for Art & Change. Over the past eight years, her work has been exhibited in thirteen solo exhibitions and fifty-four group exhibitions/festivals spanning eighteen countries. Highlights include the Arad Biennale in Romania; the Museum of Fine Arts in Venado Tuerto, Argentina; the National Center for Contemporary Art in Moscow; Novosibirsk State Art Museum in Russia; City Nord in Hamburg, Germany; Ars Latina in Macerata, Italy, Mexicali, Baja, and Castellon, Spain; Cultural Communication Center in Klapeda, Lithuania; Los Angeles Center for Digital Art; Scope Hamptons in New York; Kratkofil Film Festival in Bosnia/Herzgovina; and a traveling exhibition throughout India and Bangladesh, including Calcutta, Bombay, and Dhaka. Copeland is a contributing writer for Ceramics—Art and Perception, exposure Journal, and Afterimage-Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism, and most recently—Glasstire. For seven years, she wrote a quarterly column for Fotophile Magazine and contributed to The Photo Review. She is a member of AICA—International Association of Art Critics. For more information about Colette Copeland, visit http://colettecopeland.com/
W.M. HUNT W.M. Hunt and “The Unseen Eye”
Abstract (imagemaker): This is a talk about collecting photographs and how it has changed my life or rather given me a life, going from collector to fundraiser to curator, dealer, teacher, and writer. After years of collecting I decided at a certain age that it should be my mission to proselytize about the joys of photography. That’s what this talk is about—a little payback for all the pleasure I have received in the world of photography. My life has been a series of epiphanies, unexpected and full of delight. Collecting and exhibiting the collection are the most fun I have had with my clothes on. More than thirty-five years ago I walked into the old Sotheby’s Parke Benet auction house in New York and bought at an Imogen Cunningham photograph and that changed my life.
The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the Unconscious has just been published by Aperture in the US, Thames & Hudson in the UK, and as L’Oeil Invisible in France. The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the W.M. HuntCollection, an exhibition of over 500 works, will be on view at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY from October 1, 2011 until February 19, 2012.
The talk for SPE is new, but much in the spirit of The Walls of the Dancing Bear Cave (or $#*! I luggedHome), a talk I have delivered at a number of museums over the years as well as at SPE Southest last October. This Collection Dancing Bear consists of more than a thousand magical heart-stopping images of people in which their eyes cannot be seen. Highlights from the collection have been exhibited in Europe in Arles, Lausanne, and Amsterdam. Collectors are a vital component in the world of photography but not usually part of educational symposia. This is a shame because they are a unique breed that fuels the marketplace. The Unseen Eye is meant to been illuminating and entertaining. I am especially eager to present to photographers and educators in the Northeast.
Bio: W.M. Hunt is a champion of photographer: a collector, curator, and consultant. His first book, TheUnseen Eye: Photographs from the Unconscious has just been published. He has been well known as a dealer (HASTED HUNT) and is now creative consultant for Bowler Editions. He has been an adjunct professor at The School of Visual Arts for more than ten years, he produces the “Your Picture …” panels for PDN
PAULA McCARTNEY Expanding My Audience (faster, cheaper, more!)
Abstract (imagemaker): As an artist who makes photographs and books, I am considering new methods of production and distribution to bring my work to a wider audience and better situate myself in the photobook world. My presentation will explore the history and themes of my work through a discussion of the motivations and processes behind the diverse kinds of books I’ve made throughout my career. It will begin with the first unique book I made in 1996 while studying in the full-time program at the International Center for Photography and end with the books I am currently making this year. To date I’ve made ten books ranging from handbound, limited edition, photo-based artist books to a published monograph. I am currently making a new book with a small indie publisher, which will be released in September, and researching digital printing options to create my first large edition self-published book (which will be underway by November).
I began my book career by making artists’ books in editions of five to ten—hand-bound with original prints. I wasn’t considering the democratic aspect associated with the medium but rather thought of my books as three-dimensional artworks in themselves, made in small editions like my photographic prints. In 2005, I received an artist book production grant from the Women’s Studio Workshop to make Bird Watching, and agreed to make an edition of forty books (the smallest edition they would fund). In 2007, I showed this artist book to Jennifer Lippert at Princeton Architectural Press and spent six months expanding my thirty-page artist book into a 120-page trade edition that was published last year. This trade publication brought my book to a much larger audience in an affordable form, while retaining its original vision. I had the opportunity to describe my interest in books and the process of turning my artist book into a trade edition as a case study in Himes and Swanson’s, Publish Your Photography Book.
Now I’m contemplating the fact that while I consider myself an artist who makes books, I realize that very few people have actually seen many of my books in person. While they have been successfully collected by individuals, museums, and university libraries, my artist books are in too limited an edition and too expensive for most people to collect. I couldn’t afford any of my books except for the trade publication of Bird Watching, but I consider myself and my peers to be a part of my ideal audience. This predicament led me to publish my current book with the small indie publisher, Location Books in Minneapolis, MN. Location creates books that they consider to be “exhibitions between covers” and are beautifully printed and bound, yet are in an edition of 100 and more affordably priced. The second book I am working on will be a self-published, press printed edition that will sell for under $40—a cost that addresses the democratic aspect of the medium and my desire for my work to reach a larger audience.
Bio: Paula McCartney creates photographs and photo-based artists’ books that explore the idea of constructed landscapes. She earned an MFA in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2002. McCartney has received an Aaron Siskind Photography Fellowship, a Women’s Studio Workshop artist book production grant, a McKnight Photography Fellowship, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, and has been an artist in residence at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Princeton Architectural Press published her first monograph called Bird Watching in 2010, based on her 2006 artist book of the same name. The project was recently exhibited at the Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn, NY and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, IL. Her books are in many private, university, and museum artists’ book collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Vassar College, in New York; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor, Mills College, Stanford University, and the UCLA Arts Library in California; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN; and Yale University in New Haven, CT. McCartney lives in Minneapolis, MN. For more information about Paula McCartney, visit http://www.paulamccartney.com/
SUZANNE OPTON Soldiers Bio (imagemaker): Suzanne Opton’s book, Soldier / Many Wars, was published by Decode Books in 2011. The Many Wars exhibition will be presented at the Chrysler Museum in 2012. Opton’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Austin Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum; Cleveland Museum; Library of Congress; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Nelson-Atkins Museum; Polaroid Collection; and the Musée de l’Eysée, Lausanne among others.
She is the recipient of a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Vermont Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts and the Fledgling Fund. Opton’s Soldier Billboard Project presented portraits of American soldiers on billboards and in subway stations in eight cities in 2008-2010.
The book Soldier / Many Wars by Decode Books (2011) includes essays by Phillip Prodger and Ann Jones. Other books include Loose Change with an essay by Vicki Goldberg and interviews by Claire Daigle Opton. Opton lives in New York City and teaches at the International Center of Photography. www.SoldiersFace.com or www.suzanneopton.com
KEN SCHLES The photographic books of Ken Schles
Abstract (imagemaker): In September of 2011, I will be publishing my fourth monograph, Oculus. For nearly twenty-three years I have been publishing photographic books with some of the most acclaimed publishers in the world. My journey in publishing reflects the state of the art at the time: the dynamics of a perceived market; the economic realities facing an artist making a book; the technological possibilities for printing and the challenges of distribution to a larger audience. I will talk about the books and these issues.
In many ways, I have been extremely lucky. In 1988, the legendary Jack Woody of Twelvetrees Press published my first book, Invisible City (IC). IC was a NY Times notable book of the year, exhibited by the Museum of Modern Art and more recently listed in Auer and Auer’s 802 books, a catalog of the most important published photographic books. About Invisible City: For a decade Ken Schles watched the passing of time from his Lower East Side Manhattan neighborhood. His camera fixed the instances of his observations, and these moments become the foundation of his invisible city…
The Geometry of Innocence (GoI), my second monograph, developed out of an exhibition at a Dutch photo festival and was published by the acclaimed German publisher Hatje Cantz. “Schles' focus is on the relentless shifting of social structures and spaces that mark the urban landscape of today. While there is no story per se, this breathless sequence of pictures is condensed into thematic clusters, providing a spellbinding and almost physically palpable experience.” GoI was critically well received in Europe ("An object lesson in bookmaking... adrenalizing." European Photography, "The new work, by 40 year old American Ken Schles, is simply breathtaking. A photographic masterpiece." Photonews), but stumbled in the US, coming out September of 2001, two weeks after the 9/11 attacks.
Seven years later, in 2008, I helped launch a new imprint, The White Press, with Schaden.com (Cologne, Germany). The book, A New History of Photography: The World Outside and the Pictures in Our Heads, was on several ‘best of year’ lists and was extensively reviewed and blogged. It also was a finalist for the 2009 Les Rencontres d'Arles Photographie Contemporary Book Award at Arles. The book took full advantage of current printing on demand technology, but was hand-assembled and bound by an artisan bookbinder and issued as a limited edition and sold outside of traditional book distribution systems. The book, a retelling of the history of photography as it ‘spoke’ to me, mimics elements of Beaumont Newhall’s seminal 1938 history of photography. “T.S. Eliot observed: “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.” A simple truth: we reflect ideas that influence us. What we love—our fixations and our obsessions—all are to be seen in the things we do and can be found in the things we create.”
And now, a new release, Oculus: “Oculus takes you on a personal philosophic journey that points beyond the shadow-play of images. It is a meditation on the nature of perception and existence in the gray light of this world. Oculus, a photographic book about images, memory, and the metaphor of light, will be published by the Norderlicht Foundation for Photography in The Netherlands, September 2011.
Bio: Ken Schles photographs. He talks and writes about that experience as well. His books are considered 'intellectual milestones in photography' (Süddeutsche Zeitung). His most recent book, A New History of Photography, was a finalist for the 2009 Rencontres d’Arles Photographie Contemporary Book Award. Vince Aletti in the New Yorker called his book Invisible City, 'hellishly brilliant.' Invisible City was also included in MoMA’s More Than One Photography exhibition and listed in M+M Auer’s survey of photographic books. It has influenced a generation of photographers and is a favorite of the photographer Robert Frank. Books of his have appeared on notable lists published by Photo-Eye and the Sunday New York Times Book Review. His work is included in private and public collections such as MoMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum and The Art Institute of Chicago, among others. Ken Schles is a NYFA Fellow and is an adjunct teacher at ICP. Ken studied photography at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art with William Gedney, Len Jenshel, and Larry Fink, and studied additionally with the artists Reuben Kadish, Hans Haacke, and Martha Rosler, graduating in 1982. He was also briefly a student of the legendary Lisette Model at the New School for Social Research. Prior to his graduation he began working for Gilles Peress. For more information about Ken Schles, visit http://www.kenschles.com/
TATE SHAW Artist publications at Visual Studies Workshop
Abstract (lecture): I’m proposing to speak on the means and purpose of artist publications at Visual Studies Workshop (VSW). VSW has published around 450 artist’s books and critical titles that are resources for the visual arts. VSW Press, founded by Joan Lyons in 1971, is one of the only institutional publishers of artists’ books in the United States. During the past forty years VSW has taken many approaches to producing artists’ publications. In the beginning, VSW had printing presses on-site for artists to physically experiment with. For a number of years VSW employed professional pressmen to run a Heidelberg offset press while artists, staff, and students did much of the pre-press and bindery support work. Later on VSW sold the presses and created a computer lab for artists to develop publications through digital means. Many of VSW’s books are made during artists’ residencies at the Workshop. In some cases it is the first publication for the artist, though VSW has often worked with those who have self-published before and/or have their own imprint. The majority of VSW Press books now utilize some manner of print-on-demand.
VSW Press operates an online bookstore, is frequently invited to attend artist’s book fairs internationally, and has a small bookstore on-site where artist’s books are exhibited and sold. In 1984 Joan Lyons edited the first anthology of critical essays and sources for the field of artist’s book. This volume included a key essay for photography and books, Alex Sweetman’s Photobookworks: the Critical Realist Tradition. Lyons also recently edited a volume on VSW’s publishing activity Artists’ Books: Visual Studies Workshop Press 1971- 2008, an annotated bibliography with statements by many of the author-artists VSW has worked with. All of the above activity, along with coverage of alternative artist publishing in VSW’s Afterimage: the Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism, helped to develop VSW’s Research Center collection, the Independent Press Archive, with around 6,000 independently published titles.
My presentation at the SPE Northeast Regional conference would provide an overview of VSW as an experimental artist publishing house. I would show examples of the early experiments with the printing press, larger offset printed editions, and the more recent activity of using the facility of print-on-demand. I would also provide an indication of the critical thinking and pedagogical strategies that make VSW a unique institution when considering photography and publishing. VSW has established an open mode of critical thinking about photographic images, series, and sequences that support and challenge artists and students to conceptually bind photograph-to-photograph and photograph-to-text in the perceptual space of the book.
Bio: Tate Shaw is Director of Visual Studies Workshop, an independent, nonprofit organization committed to supporting media artists and interpreters of the world of images. In addition he is the chair of The College at Brockport, SUNY's MFA in Visual Studies at Visual Studies Workshop. Tate organizes exhibitions and symposia on books including the 2010 Photo-Bookworks Symposium at VSW in Rochester, NY. He is co-publisher of Preacher's Biscuit Books and his personal works are in many private and public collections for artist’s books internationally. His critical writing has appeared in Afterimage, JAB, Contact Sheet and The Blue Notebook and he has been an invited critic at a number of national conferences and events. His website can be found at www.preachersbiscuitbooks.com/shaw. See details about Visual Studies Workshop at http://www.vsw.org/
ANNE WHISTON SPIRN The Power of a Book to Change Its Author: Dorothea Lange and An American Exodus
Abstract (lecture): More than sixty years after the publication Dorothea Lange’s and Paul Taylor’s An American Exodus in 1939, A.D. Coleman cited its influence: “In terms of both form and content, in style and substance alike, An American Exodus established a model that has dominated documentary photography from the time of its publication down to our own day....No one had ever before seen anything quite like it…yet within two decades its strategies would pervade the form.” It “changed the way investigators used photography as an instrument of social research, affected the ways in which they wrote and/or organized texts to accompany photographs, and reconfigured the ways in which they constructed photography books and exhibits.”
An American Exodus influenced Lange as well. What she sought to express became more comprehensive, expanding the scope of her vision from individual person and family to the larger cultural landscape. She was piecing together what she called the “big story” of “people in their relations to their institutions, to their fellow men, and to the land.” To tell that story, Lange began to group her photographs by subject, to arrange, cross-reference, and “buttress” them with words. Lange developed the “general caption” to define a topic and to cross-list individual photographs and captions after she had finished the dummy for An American Exodus in May 1939. Framed by the general caption, images and words acquire multiple layers of meaning, embodying what anthropologist Clifford Geertz, much later, would term, “thick description.”
The general captions Lange wrote in the latter half of 1939 are both an assortment of individual tales and strands in larger national stories. They extend her experiments of combining words and images, juxtaposing perspectives, setting the stories of individuals and families against stories of towns and regions, combining diverse sources of evidence (from interviews and observations in the field to advertisements to statistics), and organizing these nonlinear narratives within geographic frames. The general captions Lange composed at the end of 1939 in the Pacific Northwest are more sophisticated than the less nuanced paired photograph-captions in An American Exodus, employing a broader range of rhetorical strategies and figurative language. The experience of composing the book transformed Lange’s photography. Lange is not unique in this impact of a book on its author. The experience of composing a book, of weaving the many narrative threads to tell a story, often transforms the author, not the manuscript alone.
The lecture will examine this process through a focus on Dorothea Lange and An American Exodus, but will also make reference to parallels with other author-photographers. This lecture draws from ongoing research and from the award-winning book, Daring to Look (University of Chicago Press, 2008), which presents never-before-published photographs and texts by Lange, to describe her use of words and images as a method of research and a form of art. It also draws from my forthcoming book, The Eye Is a Door: Photography and the Art of Visual Thinking.
Bio: Anne Whiston Spirn is an author, photographer, landscape architect, and teacher. Her books include the award-winning Daring to Look: Dorothea Lange’s Photographs and Reports from the Field (2008), The Language of Landscape (1998), and The Granite Garden: Urban Nature and Human Design (1984). Her forthcoming book is The Eye Is a Door: Photography and the Art of Visual Thinking, the basis for a major exhibit of Spirn’s photographs at the Smith College Museum of Art in 2014, which will serve as the basis for a program on visual thinking across the liberal arts curriculum and will travel to other university museums.
Spirn is professor of landscape architecture and planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she teaches urban design and photography. Prior to her appointment at MIT, she taught at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania, where she also studied (art history at Harvard and art history and landscape architecture at Penn). In 2009, Daring to Look won the J. B. Jackson Book Prize, the Great Places Book Award, and an Honorable Mention in the 2009 PROSE Awards from the American Association of Publishers for excellence in scholarship. In 2007, Spirn received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and, in 2001, Japan’s International Cosmos Prize for “contributions to the harmonious coexistence ofnature and humankind” in recognition of her life’s work. For more, see http://www.annewhistonspirn.com.