LETTER FROM THE EXPOSURE COMMITTEE
Everyday we are bombarded by images of little import. Driving down the road, one is force-fed pictures of kitchen appliances, cars, and perfumes. Too often we question what we could add to our closet or garage. What, if instead of concentrating on the 100 percent Egyptian cotton, 300 thread count tag, we considered the moral fabric of our society? Photojournalism does that. It rips open our preconceptions and exposes us to the bluntness of life and war. It demands our complete consciousness and binds us with the responsibility of recognizing the texture of humanity -- its suffering, but also its joy.
The old proverb posits that a picture is worth a thousand words. This phrase may have grown cliche, but the immediacy of photography remains unique. The photographs we confront in books like War, Inferno and RETHINK are chilling and leave us emotionally distressed.
Never forgetting this psychic discomfort, we want to become informed viewers: informed about ways of seeing and about the events we see. Instead of looking and saying "someone should do something about that," we hope to gain knowledge that will enable us to respond effectively. Moreover, we wanted to have our questions answered by those who could answer them the best: those taking, publishing, critiquing, and disseminating photographs. As we looked for a source for such an education, we were hard pressed to find the type of scholarship desired.
And so, EXPOSURE: A Center for Photojournalism, Documentary Studies, and Human Rights was born. Our center has progressed more quickly than we could have ever imagined. The opportunity to collaborate with contributors to RETHINK has inspired us and will energize and motivate us in the development of EXPOSURE.
Camille Agon, Sarah Arkin, Vera Belitsky, Allison Bransfield, Tiffany Chen, Julia Clark, Matthew Edmundson, Anna Foucher, Ayesha Husain, Takahani Kromah, Sabrina Lopez-Ivern, Guergana Petkova, Sarah Sliwa, Adrienne Vannieuwenhuizen, Esra Yalcinalp
Exposure Exhibit: Slater Concourse Gallery
DIRECTOR LETTER FROM SHERMAN TEICHMAN
Documentary photography has always been integral to EPIIC's educational process. And whether our annual theme was international terrorism or the international environment, global inequalities or global sport, human rights have been a core component of our curriculum.
For nearly two decades, EPIIC has been privileged to collaborate with some of the foremost international photographers of our time, people with acute sensibilities for the human condition. Beginning with Micha Bar Am in 1985, these distinguished photographers have included Jose Azel, Peter Goins, Ed Grazda, Stan Grossfeld, Susan Meiselas, Eduardo Morales, James Nachtwey, Jean Marie Simon, and Judy Walgren. They have presented at our forums, exhibited at Tufts, donated their images and books, and mentored our students.
They have helped to inspire our students, whose photographic essays have ranged from documenting spirituality in Harlem to crude (oil) capitalism in Baku, from images of the first democratic election in Kryghzstan to anti-corruption demonstrations in Jakarta; from housing developments in Soweto to the Yangtze River in the Three Gorges Dam regions of China; from photographing the building and impact of the security wall in Israel/the West Bank, to documenting cultural genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina, published evidence that has recently been used in the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic at The Hague.
Their professional, post graduation work includes reportage photography in West Africa appearing in the New York Times; Fulbright Scholar work in Bulgaria; teaching photography in Mattapan/Dochester as a street worker; recording the impressions of pastorialists in the Karamojong Cluster of Africa and forensic photography of the killing fields of the former Yugoslavia.
We are now entering into a wonderful relationship with Giorgio Baravalle of de.MO, the Aperture Foundation, and with James Nachtwey and the VII Photo Agency to create EXPOSURE. We are doing it to educate for change, confident in Nachtwey's conviction that "photography can give people a voice, that it can create consciousness and prompt conscience."
Director, Institute for Global Leadership
LETTER FROM JAMES NACHTWEY
I am writing in enthusiastic support for the concept of our photojournalism project. It is unprecedented and will create a space for a kind of conscientious documentary photography that is long overdue; A place to energize us and to allow us to reflect on the value of all of our experiences. I believe that EXPOSURE will help us all to understand photography as a valuable tool that can help us learn how to make sense of the violence, the destruction, the chaos of this world. EXPOSURE will help to create an incredibly important historical legacy, providing meaning in our lives. Most importantly, it can help to create a public awareness integral to the process of change.
EXPOSURE has tremendous potential that I think the Institute for Global Leadership is ideally able to nurture. I have a strong respect for the Institute's decades of effort at understanding conflict, its causes and consequences, of the unflinching way it looks at famine, war, ethnic cleansing, and complex humanitarian emergencies.
My confidence in this project is derived from my visit to Tufts last year when I was inspired and got to know your high caliber students. They are the most vibrant group of students I have ever encountered. They are not only intellectually curious but they are clearly ethically engaged in wrestling with the right issues and care deeply about what is happening in their world.
Things at the Institute for Global Leadership happen in the right direction and in the right sequence as far as I am concerned. The students are being taught about the essential why and what of things, context, and the intricacies of meaning. Then they are taught the tools - not the other way around which is all too frequently the norm of how students aspire to become photographers. And as I understand it from the record of your alumni, and from conversations and working with your current students, it is a program that has always understood politics, art, and ethics as integrally intertwined
Folks like Matt Edmundson, who was a truly extraordinary intern and person, not only have energy, determination and a great attitude, but they possess unusual sensitivity and a sense of urgency about important issues that require public attention. It was so encouraging to meet them. They have renewed my sense of faith in the future - for they have the drive and we will help them acquire the critical skills to take it forward.
They are encouraged, engaged and eager to participate in the process of change. We need their pressure for change. I think that they understand that photography can give people a voice; that it can create consciousness and prompt conscience.
It is a delight to see that Jacob Silberberg, who first invited me to accept the Jean Mayer Award, is now publishing his photographs in the pages of the New York Times. And I am excited for Matt and certain he will accomplish valuable things in documenting the situation in Israel and refugees in Kenya - just keep him out of Afghanistan for now!
I am very pleased that Giorgio Baravelle of de.MO is involved. It is a wonderful confluence. He has such a strong sense of social consciousness, the determination to make a difference, and the resolve to make things better. His work presents our photography to the world - helping to make it more permanent. I urge you to consider and explore all kinds of collaboration.
LETTER FROM MORT ROSENBLUM, FORMER AP CHIEF CORRESPONDENT
I waxed enthusiastically when you first described the program you had in mind for Kosovo. And now that I have experienced it firsthand, it is hard for me to marshal enough wax to express my admiration.
Finding a way to train young journalists-internationalists has been a personal obsession for as long as I can remember. That is why I wrote COUPS AND EARTHQUAKES in the 1970s. For nearly four decades at The Associated Press, my biggest challenge was identifying and training young people who understood how to carry the realities of one society across cultural bridges to other societies who live in different realities.
It is no exaggeration to say that your pioneering and courageous concept of sending students into the wild to learn basic skills in unfamiliar settings is the most useful tool I have yet seen.
In Kosovo, I watched an 18-year-old from a pampered upbringing in New Jersey blossom over a single week into a wise world observer. I saw students conduct interviews in hard-times settings, in an ambience of hope that they might affect better understanding or under hostile stares from people who mistrust outsiders. In short, they saw a broader world as it really is, and they were eager for help in learning how to tell others about it.
For me, the lesson was how committed young people can be to getting things right - the attitudes and deeper motivations of people rather than just the strings of facts as stressed in classic journalism education. Whether these students go on to be reporters, policy analysts, diplomats, or simply enlightened parents, they represent something fundamental and admirable.
I discussed this experience at length with Gary Knight, who reached the same conclusions from his standpoint. Whether students use computer keys or a camera, the point is the same. At the heart of any sensible and sensitive reporting is that basic matter of human understanding. Gary was able to show, rather than tell, what goes into a real photograph. And that makes all the difference. Night after night, he stayed in our "newsroom" long after midnight with students who learned to dread his now-famous pronouncement: "That's boring." It did not take long for pictures to stop eliciting that response.
I have written to Fred Chicos to express my admiration not only for his generosity in supporting the Kosovo program but also his foresight in seeing a promising new future. This is exactly the direction we must take.
Journalism schools are fundamental for the basic skills. But good reporting depends upon understanding people in their own contexts, and this cannot be learned in any classroom. And more, good reporting is not just for journalists. It is essential to anyone who intends to look beyond his or her immediate surrounding.
I am convinced that others will follow Fred's example on a larger scale. Any forward-looking, enlightened organization with the goal of promoting worldwide understanding would be crazy not to jump at the chance. I urge you to develop this concept to its full potential.
With kind regards,