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Documentary Matters

April 17, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Presented by Social Documentary Network and Digital Silver Imaging

Featured presenters: Karen Davis, Janet Jarman & Nicholas Pfosi

Karen Davis

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: A Family Portrait by Karen Davis, is a long-form, visual and textual portrait of a family moving forward in the face of a devastating childhood illness—childhood onset schizophrenia. Combining Davis’s photographs with the family’s contemporaneous words, the book provides an intimate window into a world turned upside down then righted by two shaken but determined parents.

Twenty-five years ago, this family became a subject of Davis’s photographic exploration. As a new photographer and related through marriage, she was grateful for their accessibility, openness and patience. When the son’s condition worsened and the family found itself in the throes of fear and the unknown, they wrote and she photographed, which now makes it possible for Davis to tell their story.

Davis’s talk will present an overview of the book and the steps she has taken to reach this point: a completed book draft seeking a publisher. She will share the process of conceiving (and reconceiving) the project, photo editing, discovering the “book proposal” and the research which that entails.

Dedicated website for this project

Artist Bio

As a photographer, Karen Davis works in the space between documentary and fine art photography, chronicling family and their social milieu. Her prints and artist books are in collections of the Samuel Dorsky Museum/Center for Photography Woodstock (CPW) Collection; Lishui Museum of Photography, Lishui, China; Artist Book Collection, Houghton Rare Books Library, Harvard University; and featured in a permanent installation at MASS MoCA. She is the 2009 recipient of CPW’s Artist Fellowship Award and a 2018 Critical Mass Finalist. Solo and featured shows include: Homegrown,CPW; Unframed, NOBO Gallery, Hudson NY and The McCann Family, Griffin Museum of Photography. Work from her series, Strangely Attracted was selected for inclusion in Exposure 2018, the Photographic Resource Center, Cambridge MA.

Davis is Curator/Co-Founder of Davis Orton Gallery, Hudson NY, now in its tenth year, specializing in photography, mixed media, and artist-published photobooks. She was a long-time teacher of a unique course for established and emerging photographers, Photography Atelier, which she taught at Radcliffe Seminars, Lesley University and the Griffin Museum of Photography. She currently teaches online courses in portfolio development and marketing for the Griffin Museum.

Janet Jarman

Photo by Janet Jarman

Over the past six years, Janet Jarman has immersed herself in covering topics related to human rights and healthcare in Mexico. She is currently producing a book and a feature length documentary about this topic with the assistance of a MacArthur Foundation grant.

Through deeply personal stories, “Birth Wars” explores conflicting visions between midwives and medical professionals about how to provide a safe and dignified childbirth experience to women. Many claim that midwives can play a central role in achieving these goals, if only their work could be formally recognized by Mexico’s medical establishment. For the book and film, Jarman follows the experiences of traditional and professional midwives who are trying to make a difference, and of some innovative health officials who are trying to reduce the antagonism between doctors and midwives.

Artist Bio

Janet Jarman is a photojournalist and documentary filmmaker. Since 2003, she has been based in Mexico where she focuses on topics such as the country’s ongoing security issues, immigration, access to healthcare, and water resource challenges.

Jarman has worked for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, GEO, Smithsonian Magazine, nationalgeographic.com, Stern, Der Spiegel, amongst others. She has also worked for numerous international foundations and NGOs. Her photographs have been featured at Visa Pour l’Image, Perpignan and have received awards in Pictures of the Year International, American Photography, PDN Photography Annual, POY Latam, Latin American Fotografia, Communication Arts, and Best of Photojournalism.

In addition to working on editorial assignments, Jarman has produced various long-term photo and multimedia projects, including Marisol and the American Dream, a two-decade story that chronicles the life of one Mexican immigrant girl; Aguas Negras, which analyzes Mexico’s many water related challenges; and Chaos and Corruption, which focuses on the burgeoning movements throughout Mexican society to force authorities to become more transparent. Jarman began her career in South Florida after graduating from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She worked as a staff photographer at The Miami Herald, and later obtained a master’s degree in environmental issues at the University of London.

Nicholas Pfosi

Nicholas Pfosi will present an ongoing project addressing dating culture in the queer community on the east coast of the United States and Northern Europe. The work has three chapters: looking, cruising, and high and horny.

looking is a series of interviews and portraits with queer men focused on their experiences dating today, presented as an imitation Grindr app. 2019 is the 10 year anniversary of the infamous gay dating app which has had a profound impact on our community.

cruising is a series of landscapes of locations used either historically or contemporaneously for (public) sex. Historically imperative for people of marginalized sexual identities, cruising is fading from the minds of a generation of younger queers as its necessity is subverted by shifts in social attitudes and technology like Grindr, Scruff, Jack’d etc. These images, intentionally relying on the banality of these inconspicuous places, were photographed using medium format film both for its detail as well as an homage to the technology of the time when cruising was more popular. They are accompanied by captions which describe experiences which occurred at these sites. The series is a reflection on this vanishing aspect of queer sexual culture.

high and horny is an ongoing documentary project looking at the world of chemsex from about half a dozen individual perspectives. Chemsex is when gay men use, and often become dependent on using, crystal meth and sometimes GhB, during sexual encounters, often lasting hours or days. While the limited media representation of this experience portrays it as a hedonistic health crisis, the reality is considerably more nuanced than that, which this work aims to address.

Artist Bio

Nicholas Pfosi is a documentary photographer, web designer and filmmaker whose work reflects on modern queer identity. He completed a bachelor’s degree in Child Studies and Human Development with course work towards a double-major in Clinical Psychology and minor in Multimedia Arts from Tufts University in Boston before studying photography at the Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX) in Aarhus, Denmark.

Having interned for the Boston Globe, the Hartford Courant, and the Mail & Guardian (South Africa) Nicholas’s training and approach is grounded in a ‘hold-truth-to-power’ journalism yet grows colored by his view of storytelling as essential to the human social experience.

While working under the mentorship of the Bombay Flying Club, Nicholas, along with collaborator Capucine Chardon, produced a short film Take Me As I Am about CJ, an American expat living in Denmark. Immigrating to Europe after having resigned himself to his family’s impenetrable homophobia, CJ pursues performance art, drag and companionship. The film was recognized by the Picture of the Year International (POYi) competition in 2018.

Documentary Matters

Documentary Matters is an initiative of the Social Documentary Network and Digital Silver Imaging to provide a place for photographers to meet with others involved with or interested in documentary photography and discuss ongoing or completed project. This is a free and open meeting for anyone interested in presenting, viewing, or discussing documentary photography.
You don’t need to be a professional, expert, or established–you just need to be committed to the documentary form and committed to learning from feedback from others. And you don’t need to be a photographer or presenting your work to attend. Everyone is invited to join us, look, listen, and comment. Still photography, multimedia, and video encouraged. Documentary required.

Documentary Matters Registration

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April 17, 2019
6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Social Documentary Network
View Organizer Website