Nina Berman Photography
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Please join me in a panel presentation and discussion celebrating the release of a special issue of the journal Public Culture, “Climate Change and the Future of Cities: Migration, Adaptation, and Social Change on an Urban Planet.”
5 – 8pm
20 Cooper Square 5th floor
NY, NY 10003
I’ll be showing my fracking work. Other contributors include Daniel Aldana Cohen, Gökçe Günel, Eric Klinenberg, Liz Koslov, and Andy Lakoff, followed by a reception.
The special issue of Public Culture includes essays by Eric Klinenberg, Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer, Andrew Lakoff, Daniel Aldana Cohen, Gökçe Günel, Valeria Procupez, Liz Koslov, Austin Zeiderman, and Jerome Whitington, a photo essay from Colin Jerolmack and Nina Berman, and interviews with experts from Rebuild by Design’s international working group, including Henk Ovink, Mindy Fullilove, Edgar Pieterse, Fernando de Mello Franco, and Maarten Hajer. This exciting collection represents the culmination of years of international research and collaboration on the impacts of climate change in cities, and was produced with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. The entire special issue is available free online for a limited time.
I’ll be presenting new photographic and video work at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in the exhibition “Marcellus Shale Documentary Project: An Expanded View, ” opening May 6 – July 31, 2016.
The exhibition continues a multi-year collaboration between photographers Noah Addis, Brian Cohen, Scott Goldsmith, Lynn Johnson and Martha Rial, organized by Brian Cohen, and curator Laura Domencic.
One of the works to be exhibited is a large scale mosaic of a drilling rig combined with 1740 images captured with a wildlife camera by Frank Finan showing truck traffic during a fracking operation in Susquehanna County, PA
© Nina Berman 2016
Four images from my ongoing Homeland series is published in Issue 30 of The Baffler, Panic! Room
The Aftermath Project has awarded me the 2016 grant to produce a new body of work Acknowledgment of Danger which will investigate the environmental legacy of the American military and the war economy on the American landscape.
I’ve been researching the subject for years and now thanks to Sara Terry , the Aftermath Project founder and to the 2016 judges, I can begin.
From my proposal:
Vietnam, 1987, was the first time I saw the effects of war; conjoined twins were lying on a bed, their bodies connected at the waist. In utero, they had absorbed dioxin, also called “agent orange”. In the photograph I made that day, one child holds a nurse’s hand, the other fingers a cash bill offered in meek apology by a visiting U.S. war veteran.
The twins lived the pain of war even though they hadn’t yet been born when the US introduced environmental destruction as a war tactic. Defoliate the landscape, and the enemy would have no place to hide. It was a chemical version of the old “smoke ’em out” strategy.
War is the dirtiest business in the world and the United States is the planet’s most prolific and chronic polluter.
Decades and generations after armed conflict ends, civilian populations live amid war’s residue. Rarely is the American military held accountable. It dumps, it discharges and returns home, leaving someone else -‐ from the Philippines to Iraq, from Vieques to Okinawa-‐ to clean up the mess.
The situation within the United States is much the same. We live in a constant state of war’s aftermath with vast stretches of the American landscape contaminated by the business of war and armed aggression: unexploded ordnance, toxic chemicals, depleted uranium, radioactive particles, a filthy legacy stretching from World War II to contemporary wars of democracy.
Scratch a cancer cluster or dive into a superfund site and the likelihood is that the US military played a role. Some of the history is known -‐ the down winders in the atomic west for example -‐ but a great deal more is obscured, covered up, artfully redefined, with the lasting impacts of environmental pollution rarely connected to armed conflict and the American war economy.
With the Aftermath grant, I will document the toxic legacy of war on the American landscape.
I’ll be posting pictures along the way, beginning in New Jersey and the Passaic River, which is contaminated with dioxin as a result of agent orange production for the Vietnam War.
From November 5 – December 5, 2015, photojournalism students at Columbia Journalism School looked at the geography of poverty in Morningside Heights and Harlem. We will be presenting this work at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Monday December 7 at 7:00pm as part of a conversation on poverty and economic inequality with Matt Black, Susan Meiselas, and Alissa Quart. The event is supported by the Magnum Foundation and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.
7 PM – 8:30 PM, SAINT JAMES 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street
New York, NY 10025
Our introduction text:
The Geography of Poverty: Morningside Heights/Harlem
It doesn’t take more than a short walk down the block to realize that Morningside Heights and Harlem are changing. Glassy high priced apartments stand in place of crumbling lots. Banks and gourmet shops outnumber bodegas and barber shops. A neighborhood where taxi drivers once feared to venture, is now marketed as the Factory District, the newest destination for the city’s ever expanding creative class.
Two of the biggest players driving the gentrification are this Cathedral, and our university. Needing money for repairs, the Cathedral leased its land to luxury housing developers whose high priced rentals units have helped push the cost of housing in Morningside Heights up 30%, one of the sharpest increases of any neighborhood in the city.
Meanwhile, Columbia is re-shaping Manhattanville to the north, with a $6.8 billion 16 building development rising on what used to be a working class commercial warehouse district. As the first building, the Jerome L Greene Science Center, designed by star architect Renzo Piano nears completion, a visual picture emerges of a neighborhood co-existing but in sharp contrast. On one side is Columbia and its $9.2 billion endowment. On the other side just across Broadway is the aging, underfunded, and poorly maintained Manhattanville projects, home to 2,700 residents where the average annual income wouldn’t pay a semester’s college tuition.
Already, Morningside Heights has the highest income disparity of any community in the city with the top fifth of residents median income at $207,000 per year, and the bottom fifth only $6,000 a year.
While institutions work to mitigate the impact of their development – Columbia is paying $100 million in community give backs and the Cathedral continues to be a vital social service provider – without truly affordable housing and commercial rent regulation, gentrification will inevitably mean eviction. In New York and in most cities, this process is marked by race. The newcomers are generally white and more privileged. The existing communities are more black, brown and the working poor. In Harlem, this change is particularly profound given the community’s historic place as the center of African American culture.
The reconstruction of New York City is often captured through before and after comparisons showing seemingly instantaneous growth. In our four-week investigation, we had the unique opportunity to photograph neighborhoods in the midst of transition. Poorer residents, and small business owners still call Harlem home. Can these people who trace their communities back generations, find a place amidst the “Enclaves”? Further, can there be peace and harmony within communities, and a sense of belonging for long-term residents and newcomers alike, without addressing the causes of structural inequality? It appears, for residents of Harlem and Morningside Heights that the fight is over. Gentrification is seen as a fact of life, an unstoppable force, for better or for worse.
December 7, 2015
Aleksandra Konstantinovic, Erin Golkaskson, Fahrinisa Oswald, Kevin Milian, Harriet Dedman, Luciante Hoffman, Max Siegelbaum, Victor Vaiana, Wendy Lu, Ben Parkin
Professor Nina Berman
njb22 (at ) columbia.edu
Digital photography has changed the nature of photojournalism inspiring new creative practices that challenge conventional standards of storytelling and image truth.
At the same time, the ease with which images can be digitally altered and shared across social media platforms, often stripped of context and attribution, has led to a crisis of credibility and confusion over standards.
Add to the equation, an energized, seeing public, not to mention corporate and political actors, unrestrained by ethical conventions, now flooding global image streams with millions of news like images, unverified, but in effective competition with professional photojournalists and documentarians for attention in the media space.
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, the Tow Center and photographers Nina Berman and Gary Knight hosted a one day conference Image Truth/Story Truth October 16, bringing together industry professionals, academics, cultural theorists and historians to discuss the changing nature of photojournalism and documentary photography in the digital age.
What role does the professional photojournalist play in this new media landscape? What are the ethical standards of commissioning, producing and disseminating photojournalistic images across global platforms? In the age of social media and democratization of production how should subjects play a role in framing and directing their own stories?
To see more on the conference go here:
To see some responses, check out Brian Palmer
The full schedule:
Welcome and Intro: Nina Berman
Contests and Ethics: World Press Photo Award:
Lars Boering, David Campbell
Media awards highlight important photography and offer an opportunity to scrutinize the production, intent and legitimacy of both story and image. The arrival of digital photography has changed aesthetic practices raising important questions about standards, conventions and ethics. World Press Photo will lead the discussion and present research governing its 2016 contest.
World Press Photo response:
Moderator: John Edwin Mason. Panelists: Gary Knight and Sean Elliot
Panelists will offer responses to World Press Photo and discuss broader
questions of context and ethics of photojournalism production and post production.
Politics of the Image and the Constructed Event:
Moderator: Marvin Heiferman, Panelists: Kiku Adatto, Suzie Linfield and Michael Shaw
News images claim to be representations of some kind of truth, but what truth and for whom? How do we consider an image as “news” in an age of photo ops, embeds and staged events? This panel explores the politics of recently published editorial images, the narratives they support or undermine, and the intersection between ‘truth’ and fairness with commerce and ideology.
The Press and Photography.
Moderator: Claire Wardle. Panelists: Santiago Lyon, Aidan Sullivan, Michele McNally, Kenny Irby
The 24 hour news cycle, social media, user generated content and new technologies are changing how and what media companies report and publish. This panel looks at how large media organizations leverage their freelance and staff resources, verify images, maintain credibility and ensure fairness in representation while operating in a commercially competitive environment.
What is a photograph? The future of photography and the professional image maker. Moderator: Anne Wilkes Tucker, Fred Ritchin, Stephen Mayes, Jeff Howe and Shree K. Nayer
Throughout photography’s history, image makers have pushed the line of authenticity, by working as witness, creator and director. Yet within both the lens and film, and now digital sensors and algorithms, there are inherent biases. And so, given the fast paced technological changes altering both the production and consumption of images, what is in store for the future? How do journalists and documentarians prepare ethical, moral and intellectual foundations with which to meet the challenges?
Summary: Michael Sandel
Kiku Adatto has taught about art, culture, and civic life at Harvard University for many years and is Scholar in Residence at the Mahindra Humanities Center. She is the author of Picture Perfect: Life in the Age of the Photo Op.
Nina Berman is a documentary photographer and author of Purple Hearts, Back from Iraq and Homeland. Her photographs and videos have been exhibited at more than 100 venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art 2010 Biennial. She is a member of the NOOR photo collective and is an associate professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Lars Boering is Managing director of World Press Photo Foundation and has been involved in photography for over 25 years. He is founder of the Noorderlicht masterclass Groningen, teacher and advisor in visual communication and has curated 23 exhibitions.
David Campbell is a writer, professor and producer. His analyses of photojournalism and the new media economy are available at http://www.david-campbell.org. He is currently working as a research consultant to the World Press Photo Foundation, and is Secretary to the World Press Photo Contest jury.
Sean Elliot is Chief Photographer at The Day in southeastern Connecticut where he has worked since 1993. He is a graduate of the Boston University College of Communications. Sean has served the NPPA in some capacity since 1999 including a two terms as President of the association and a decade on the Ethics Committee which he now chairs. Sean was a member of that committee when the NPPA’s code of ethics was re-drafted in 2004.
Marvin Heiferman is a curator and writer who organizes projects about photography and visual culture for institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian Institution, International Center of Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art, New Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art. A contributing editor to Art in America, Heiferman has written for numerous publications including The New York Times, CNN,Artforum, Design Observer, Gagosian Quarterly, and Aperture. His most recent book is Photography Changes Everything (Aperture, 2012), and new entries to his online project WHY WE LOOK are posted daily.
Jeff Howe is an assistant professor and the program coordinator for Media Innovation at
Northeastern University . He is a contributing editor for Wired and the author of
Crowdsourcing: How the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business.
He was a 2009-2010 Nieman Fellow at Harvard and is currently a visiting scholar at the MIT Media Lab
Kenny Irby is the founder of Poynter’s photojournalism program and a senior faculty member who lectures in the areas of digital photographic reporting, visual journalism leadership, ethical decision making and diversity integration. He has served as a juror on numerous contests including the Pulitzer Prize for photographic reporting. He was formerly deputy director of photography at Newsday.
Gary Knight is an English photographer and educator. He is the founder of the VII Photo Agency, founder and Director of the Program for Narrative & Documentary Practice at the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University, co-founder of The GroundTruth Project and a Canon Ambassador.
Susie Linfield is the author of The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award . She writes about culture and politics for a wide variety of publications, including “The Nation,” the “New York Times,” “Dissent,” “Aperture,” and the “Boston Review.” Linfield is an associate professor at New York University, where she teaches cultural journalism.
Santiago Lyon is the VP for Photography at the Associated Press, responsible for the AP’s global photo report and the hundreds of photographers and editors who produce it. He has 30 years of experience as a photographer and photo editor and received multiple awards for his photography from a conflict zones around the world prior to taking on his current role in 2003. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 2003/2004 and a Sulzberger Fellow at Columbia University in 2012.
John Edwin Mason teaches African history and the history of photography at the University of Virginia. He has written extensively about photography in South Africa and is currently working on a book about the American photographer Gordon Parks.
Stephen Mayes is Executive Director of the Tim Hetherington Trust with 30 years experience managing the work and careers of photographers in diverse areas of fashion, art, commerce and journalism, most recently as CEO of VII.
Michele McNally is the director of photography and an assistant managing editor of The New York Times. She has served as juror and chair of many photography contests including Pictures of the Year, World Press Photo, Overseas Press Club and the Pulitzer Prize. Prior to joining the Times in 2004 , she was the picture editor of Fortune magazine.
Shree K. Nayar is the T. C. Chang Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. He heads the Columbia Vision Laboratory (CAVE), which develops advanced computer vision systems. His research is focused on three areas – the creation of novel cameras that provide new forms of visual information, the design of physics based models for vision and graphics, and the development of algorithms for understanding scenes from images.
Fred Ritchin is Dean of the School and Scholar in Residence at the International Center of Photography, former professor of Photography and Imaging at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, co-director of the NYU/Magnum Foundation Photography and Human Rights Program, and author of In Our Own Image, After Photography, and Bending the Frame.
Michael Sandel teaches political philosophy at Harvard University. He is the author, most recently, of What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, and Justice:What’s the Right Thing to Do?
Michael Shaw is the publisher of ReadingThePictures.org, the only site dedicated to the daily analysis of news photos and media images. A clinical psychologist, he writes and lectures widely on visual politics and media and visual literacy.
Aidan Sullivan is the Vice-President of Getty images where he oversees senior photo editors and heads Getty Reportage, the company’s premier photojournalism and documentary division. He was formerly a photo editor at the Sunday Times and the Sunday Times Magazine in London. He is the founder of the Ian Parry Scholarship .
Anne Wilkes Tucker Recently retired as the founding photographic curator at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Anne Wilkes Tucker has organized more than forty exhibitions; authored, edited or contributed essays to over 100 books and catalogues, and built the MFAH photography department into one of the world’s leading collections.
Claire Wardle is the Research Director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School. Her research examines journalism, social media and verification. She is also the co-founder of Eyewitness Media Hub, a group undertaking research and building resources to support the safe and ethical use of eyewitness media.
Curator Susanne Slavick’s Unloaded Exhibition opens August 25 – October 24 at Northern Illinois University bringing together work by 20 multi media artists on the subject of gun ownership in the USA. Three of my photographs are included.
For more information on the exhibition and issue follow the Unloaded facebook page
Artists include Susanne Slavick, Lauren F. Adams, Joshua Bienko, Casey Li Brander, Anthony Cervino, Mel Chin, Cathy Colman, DADPRANKS (Lauren Goshinski, Kate Hansen, Isla Hansen, Elina Malkin, Nina Sarnelle and Laura A. Warman), James Duesing, Jessica Fenlon, Vanessa German, Jinshan, Andrew Ellis Johnson, Jennifer Nagle Myers, Adrian Piper, Don Porcella, Devan Shimoyama, Renee Stout and Stephanie Syjuco.
Come and Take it Rally, San Antonio, Texas 2013
©Nina Berman, 2013, All Rights Reserved