Documenting the South: A Response to Place

There are unique challenges in representing the South. How do you avoid clichés and stereotypes to create an honest, authentic portrait? We will discuss photographers and filmmakers known for their work in the South, including William Christenberry, Sally Mann, Emmet Gowin, Keith Carter, Debbie Fleming Caffery, John McWilliams, Shelby Lee Adams, Rob Amberg, and William Eggleston. We will also explore various Southern subcultures and genres, for example, Southern Gothic and Delta blues.

We will then turn to our own work to analyze our response to the South. How does the landscape define us, and what is our emotional connection to it? How do we refine our personal viewpoint? What is the best way to present our ideas and projects? What is the purpose of our work? We will also discuss our own self-awareness about the place, and how we choose to represent its people. (12 hours/All Levels)

Jill Snyder is a documentary photographer who makes poetic, lyrical images with a touch of mystery and a sense of place. A four-time grant recipient, she has an MFA in photography and multimedia, and has made several documentary shorts. The Carnegie Museum of Art has purchased several of her photographs. Her recent project, A Man Singing to Himself, centers on her quest to find her roots in the Southern Appalachians. Along with her photographic work there, she’s done audio field collection of ballads and fiddle tunes passed down from generation to generation, and has documented various forms of dance specific to the region. She has lived among cultures not her own for several years, most recently in the Bedouin region of Oman. She has recently returned to the Triangle area after many years abroad. You can see her work at the Golden Belt Arts Studio building in Durham, and at

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Center for Documentary Studies
CDS Library
Snyder 5/2 - 5/30 We 06:30 PM - 09:00 PM $230.00 View

Painting and Drawing for Multimedia Documentary Portraiture

This class will use traditional and nontraditional drawing and painting techniques, in combination with other media, to create portraits and draw viewers into the subjects’ stories. Students will learn and practice ways to sketch, draw, and paint a likeness. We will also explore process, interview techniques, and ethics. Students will choose a subject and a medium and create a handmade portrait, which they will combine with other documentary media (text, audio, video) to present a cohesive multimedia portrait. (12 hours/All Levels)

Ben Hamburger is an artist and educator from Washington, D.C. Working within the convergence of painting and social engagement, he is driven by art’s potential to unite people and to find meaning in complex situations. He holds a BA in visual arts and an MFA in community arts. He has taught and facilitated art programs in schools, cultural institutions, and in partnership with nonprofit organizations around the United States as well as in Bolivia, Thailand, and India. Hamburger has been the recipient of several grants, residencies, and fellowships, and his work is in private and public collections around the country.

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Center for Documentary Studies
CDS Auditorium
Hamburger 9/11 - 10/16 Tu 06:30 PM - 08:30 PM $230.00 View