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2019 Speakers

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Alexandra Bell
Alexandra Bell
 
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Alexandra Bell is a multidisciplinary artist who investigates the complexities of narrative, information consumption, and perception. Using various media, she deconstructs language and imagery to explore the tension between marginal experiences and dominant histories. Through investigative research, she considers the ways media frameworks construct memory and inform discursive practices around race, politics, and culture. Her work has been exhibited widely, including at MoMA PS1, Koenig & Clinton Gallery, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Atlanta Contemporary, and the Pomona College Museum of Art. She received the 2018 International Center of Photography Infinity Award in the applied category and is a 2018 Soros Equality Fellow. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

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Dominic Bracco II
Dominic Bracco II
 
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Dominic Bracco II is a screenwriter, playwright, installation artist, and journalist. His experiences growing up in South Texas with family members who were traffickers, coyotes, and Border Patrol agents led him to focus on the region for the last decade. His series of multidisciplinary projects on the U.S.-Mexico borderlands earned him a Tim Hetherington Visionary Award, a W. Eugene Smith fellowship, a National Geographic Exploration Grant, Pulitzer Center grants, and a Chris Hondros Fund Award. Bracco’s reporting has appeared in National Geographic magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, and other leading publications. He is a founding member of the collective Prime.

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Kate Brooks
Kate Brooks
 
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Kate Brooks is an international photojournalist and filmmaker who chronicled conflict and human rights issues for nearly two decades before turning her lens to conservation issues. Her photographs have been extensively published in Time, Newsweek, Smithsonian, and The New Yorke rand exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. As a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan in 2012-13, she researched the global wildlife trafficking crisis before embarking on directing her first film, The Last Animals, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017 and was awarded the Terra Mater Factual Studios Impact Award at Wildscreen in 2018.

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Susan Goldberg
Susan Goldberg
 
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Susan Goldberg is editorial director of National Geographic Partners and editor in chief of National Geographic magazine. Under her leadership, National Geographic has received numerous awards for photography, journalism, and graphics across platforms, and in 2017 was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for its issue about gender.

Previously, Susan was an executive editor at Bloomberg News, and before that editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the San Jose Mercury News. She has received multiple awards, and was named one of Washington’s most powerful women by the Washingtonian in 2017. She is on the boards of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.

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Lynn Johnson
Lynn Johnson
 
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Lynn Johnson photographs the human condition. A regular contributor to National Geographic, she is known for finding beauty and meaning in elusive, difficult subjects—threatened languages, zoonotic disease, rape in the military ranks, the centrality of water in village life. Hate Kills, her master’s thesis as a Knight Fellow at Ohio University, probed the impact of hate crimes. At National Geographic Photo Camps, she helps at-risk youth find their creative voices. And at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, she is helping to develop a program that challenges master’s students to push past their comfort levels in pursuit of their truth.

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Chris Jordan
Chris Jordan
 
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Chris Jordan is an internationally acclaimed photographic artist whose work explores contemporary mass culture from unique photographic and conceptual perspectives. Jordan’s work walks the line between beauty and horror, abstraction and representation, challenging us to look at the landscape of our collective actions. Jordan’s most recent work is a film called Albatross, a meditation on ocean plastic pollution’s devastating effect on the Laysan albatross colony on the remote Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. His work reaches an international audience through publications, interviews, and exhibitions.

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David Liittschwager
David Liittschwager
 
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David Liittschwager is a freelance photographer who grew up in Eugene, Oregon. His most significant training occurred while assisting photographer Richard Avedon in New York City. Since 1988,his emphasis has been on portraiture, focused primarily on natural history subjects. His work has led him to six continents and has appeared in publications throughout the world. He lives in San Francisco.

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Jay Maisel & Stephen Wilkes
Jay Maisel & Stephen Wilkes
 
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Jay Maisel studied Graphic Design with Leon Friend at Abraham Lincoln High School. He then studied painting with Joseph Hirsch, and attended Cooper Union. He received his BFA at Yale where he studied Color with Josef Albers. Jay Maisel began his career in photography in 1954. While his portfolio includes the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Miles Davis, he is perhaps best known for capturing the light, color, and gesture found in everyday life. Some of his commercial accomplishments include five Sports Illustrated swimsuit covers, the first two covers of New York Magazine, the cover of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue (the best-selling jazz album of all time), twelve years of advertising with United Technologies, and awards from such organizations as ICP, ASMP, ADC, PPA, and Cooper Union. Since he stopped taking on commercial work in 1995, Jay has continued to focus on his personal work. He has developed a reputation as a giving and inspiring teacher as a result of extensive lecturing and photography workshops throughout the country. He also hosted workshops at his residence at the 190 Bowery in New York City, from 2008-2014, instructing approximately, 640 students over eight years. He continues to sell prints, which can be found in private, corporate, and museum collections.

Photographer Stephen Wilkes’s widely recognized work ranges from capturing the long-abandoned medical wards on Ellis Island to shooting advertising campaigns for the world’s leading corporations. Wilkes has shot advertising campaigns for Netflix, Capital One, the New Yorker, Rolex, and many others. His editorial work has appeared in National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and numerous others. His second monograph, featuring his iconic Day to Night series, will be published by Taschen in 2019. His extensive awards and honors include the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography, Photographer of the Year from Adweek magazine, and the Fine Art Photographer of the Year Lucie Award.

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Joshua Rashaad McFadden
Joshua Rashaad McFadden
 
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Joshua Rashaad McFadden’s work primarily explores African American male identity, notions of the father figure, and the photographic archive. He’s been named a top emerging talent by LensCulture and received a first place International Photography Award (IPA) for After Selma, a series that conveys McFadden’s response to incidents of police brutality. He also won a first place IPA award in 2016 for Come to Selfhood, a project examining African American manhood. In 2017, he was recognized as one of Time magazine’s “American Voices” and received the Duke University Archive of Documentary Arts Collection Award for Documentarians of Color. In 2018, he won a Communication Arts Award of Excellence. McFadden has been published in the New York Times Magazine, Slate, and Smithsonian. He has exhibited widely, and teaches workshops around the world.

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Vincent J. Musi
Vincent J. Musi
 
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This is Vincent J. Musi's 16th year as emcee of the National Geographic Photography Seminar. His photographs have appeared in the pages of National Geographic magazine since the 1990s. Not much has changed since then except that his voice is a little deeper and his hair a little grayer. As always, he appreciates your kindness and asks you to restrain your heckling.

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Sohei Nishino
Sohei Nishino
 
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Photographer Sohei Nishino produces works based on personal experiences obtained through walking and traveling. His photographs are shown in major museums and festivals around the world, including in "A Different Kind of Order" at the International Center of Photography in New York, and in a solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In recognition of his work, he has won a 2018 MAST Foundation for Photography award, was a finalist for the 2017 Prix Pictet Space award, and was selected as the 2013 Foam Talent.

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Émilie Régnier
Émilie Régnier
 
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Canadian-Haitian photographer Émilie Régnier spent most of her childhood in Gabon before moving to Dakar and then Paris. In 2011-12, she explored her heritage, attempting to unify her extremes to construct an extended family portrait. In her series Hair and Leopard, she illustrated methods of portraying beauty and power, and initiated a discussion about identity and the relationship between Africa and the West. Her work has been exhibited widely around the world and has appeared in numerous prestigious publications. Régnier was a 2018 artist in residence with Residency Unlimited (New York) and ELA-Espaço Luanda Arte (Angola).

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Shannon Simon
Shannon Simon
 
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Shannon Simon is the global content director and director of the Americas for Magnum Photos. She is also the director of Mantle Projects, a development and production company. Formerly, she worked as the photography director for Interview magazine and was a photo editor for the New York Times Magazine. For almost a decade she was a producer for multidisciplinary artist Taryn Simon, contributing to projects such as A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters, Contraband, and An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar.

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Berndnaut Smilde
Berndnaut Smilde
 
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Netherlands-native Berndnaut Smilde’s work consists of installations, sculptures, and photos. He holds an MA from the Frank Mohr Institute, Groningen, Netherlands, and his awards include a starter stipend from the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture. He was a resident artist at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, in 2008, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Colorado, in 2015, and FORM, Perth, in 2016. Smilde's work resides in both the Saatchi and the Smithsonian collections, among others. He has been written about extensively in art publications, and Time magazine named his Nimbus series one of the "Best Inventions of the Year 2012."

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Maggie Steber
Maggie Steber
 
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Maggie Steber uses photography to explore the human experience. Aperture published her work on Haiti—a focus of hers for 30 years—in her book, Dancing on Fire. As an assistant managing editor at the Miami Herald, she oversaw projects that won a Pulitzer Prize and were twice finalists for the award. Her honors include the Leica Medal of Excellence, World Press Photo First Prize in Spot News, the Overseas Press Club Award, and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, Alicia Patterson, and the Knight Foundation. Her work is included in the Library of Congress, Richter Library, and private collections. She is among 11 Women of Vision named by National Geographic.

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Brent Stirton
Brent Stirton
 
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A special correspondent for Getty Images and regular contributor to National Geographic magazine, photographer Brent Stirton specializes in documentary work and is known for his focus on the intersection of man and the environment. He works regularly for Human Rights Watch and with the Environmental Investigation Agency, LAGA, the Gates and Clinton Foundations, and various United Nations groups. He’s received a Peabody Award, two awards from the Overseas Press Club, and 10 from the World Press Photo Foundation. Stirton's photos have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, le Figaro, GQ, GEO, and other respected international titles.

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Kiliii Yüyan
Kiliii Yüyan
 
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Kiliii Yüyan is an indigenous Nanai/Hézhè and Chinese American photographer and filmmaker. On assignment, he’s fled collapsing sea ice, weathered botulism from fermented whale blood, and found kinship at the edges of the world. Yüyan’s mission is to co-write new narratives of minority and indigenous cultures. His interest is in the essential connection to nature that has kept traditional cultures alive for millennia, and he seeks to present an alternate vision of humanity’s greatest wealth—community, culture, and the Earth. Yüyan’s work has been featured by National Geographic, Time, the BBC, and The Nature Conservancy. He has won awards from the World Photography Organisation, Communication Arts, and PDN.

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top photograph courtesy of Stephen Wilkes Studios