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Online Masterclass

Carolyn Drake teaches Documentary Photography on Vimeo on Demand

In this masterclass, Magnum photographer Carolyn Drake discusses her continually changing relationship with the idea of documentary. She describes her own creative attitude toward the search for authenticity, while also considering how technological change is constantly altering perceptions of truth.

Reflecting on her experiences working in collaboration with an enigmatic group of women in Mississippi for her most recent celebrated book Knit Club (TBW Books, 2020), as well as her long term work with Uighurs in China, Wild Pigeon, and her latest projects close to home in California, Carolyn discusses how collapsing the divide between author and subject influences her ever-changing photographic language. Alongside her personal work, Drake considers how her practice fits into editorial contexts for publications such as Aperture magazine and the New Yorker to ask: what is documentary photography’s role in challenging or perpetuating historical narratives or tropes? How can collaboration and imagination change the trajectory of a project.

The class also sees Drake analyse the work of figures such as Rosie Lee Tompkins, Wendy Ewald, and James Baldwin in order to discuss how art can intersect with documentary forms and expand them.

Carolyn Drake works on long-term photo-based projects seeking to interrogate dominant historical narratives and creatively reimagine them. Her practice embraces collaboration and has in recent years melded photography with sewing, collage, and sculpture. She is interested in collapsing the traditional divide between author and subject, the real and the imaginary, to challenge entrenched binaries. Her work has been supported by a Guggenheim fellowship, the Anamorphosis Prize, Peter S. Reed Foundation, Lightwork, the Do Good Fund, the Lange Taylor prize, Magnum Foundation, Pulitzer Center, and a Fulbright fellowship.

Watch on Vimeo on Demand

Topics covered in class:

A – Work by Carolyn Drake
Wild Pigeon
Knit Club
Next Door 1
Next Door 2
Isolation Therapy
Exhibition at SFMOMA: Close to Home

B – Articles/Books

Itõ Hiromi – Miyako and Women (Including Me) in Ishiuchi Miyako: Postwar Shadows (Getty Publications, 2015)
William Faulkner – As I Lay Dying (Jonathan Cape, 1930).
Matthew Teague (Photos by Caroyln Drake) – The Other Tibet (National Geographic, 2009)

C – Artists/Filmmakers

Errol Morris
Ishiuchi Miyako
Coulter Fussell

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