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2024 Annual Conference

St. Louis

March 21-23, 2024

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NEW! Imagemaker "Dialogic" Presentations

Five 18-Minute Imagemaker Presentations

Thursday, March 09 - 4:00PM to 5:40PM
Orange AB

This new session format is a carefully curated series of five concise 18-minute presentations by five imagemakers on issues of photography, family, and remembrance.

Presentations by William Connally, John Kimmich-Javier, Edith Maybin, Emily Schiffer, and Kurt Simonson focus on experimentation, passions, and possibilities in the photographers’ process and work. With this format, SPE rolls-out a “dialogic” space within our conferences to encourage greater dialogue and discussion. Following the photographers’ presentations, attendees may engage with the photographers in a town hall-style discussion about fact, fiction, and photographic truth.

Silence, Memory, and Family Photographs, Emily Schiffer

Schiffer's Haul reimagines the family photo album to explore intergenerational trauma. Drawing upon research about children who grew up feeling but not understanding their parents' trauma, Schiffer considers photography's influence on silence and memory. Her diptych images incite questions about culture, intimacy, death, and uncertainty. Wax molds of her family's faces invite audiences to view her relatives from an unusual perspective. Inside a net hung from the ceiling, thousands of hand-framed family images from a time before she was born bury each other, emphasizing the intensity of one's family history, and photography's role in what is remembered and forgotten.

Home is Where, Kurt Simonson

"Home is Where" surveys multiple bodies of work to trace unexpected connections and multilayered themes about home and family that carry through all of my projects. This lecture focuses on "Northwoods Journals" and "I Love You, Man"—the former being an exploration of my own broken family patterns and upbringing in Minnesota, and the latter being a celebration of the family I have created for myself in a community of friends, specifically looking at themes of intimacy in male relationships.

The Mother Daughter Documents, Edith Maybin

Maybin began to photograph her daughter in 2006, in some cases with her own body in place of her daughter's and in later cases independently and separate. This work is heavily invested in time and the relationship-as-image, and chronicles the many stages of development of child-daughter as it also chronicles how her identity as mother has changed. This work considers feminine inheritance, the feminine masquerade, and subversion of societal expectation of the feminine through reverie. Maybin will be discussing her working process as a producing artist while working as a full-time professor at Sheridan College, Oakville, Canada. This will include reflections on time management, her visual diary process in conceptualization, and capture and production as this process makes flexibility and reflection a crucial research tool for ideation as well as a tool used in teaching.

Undercurrents in Lake Elster, William Connally

Protective and potentially suffocating, personal family history is an essential component of William Connally's Lake Elster Series, albeit as it is seen through the lens of fiction. His ongoing series of narrative photographs and installation work has evolved during its five-year creation period, allowing Connally to examine personal connections to older generations of his family through layers of symbolism and fiction. In accordance with filmmaker Wernor Herzog's theory of "Ecstatic Truth" as stated in his Minnesota Declaration, there is an elusive stratum of truth obtained only through fiction, artifice, and imagination.

True Fictions: A Family of Strangers, John Kimmich-Javier

Can reality presented as fiction, instead of the reverse as in advertising, question one's perception of the world? Can this approach serve to explore cultures and one's role in them? True Fictions continues a personal inquiry: an interest in language challenging representation of documentary fact; understanding of new visual languages to apply them for exploring cultures; and raising questions regarding the perception of immigrants, including my identity in other cultures. I ask, can photographs as "true fictions" like a novel or poetry, come closer to the truth than factual photographs, and can this be a language for documentary photography.


Edith Maybin
Edith Maybin
Emily Schiffer
Emily Schiffer
John Kimmich-Javier
John Kimmich-Javier
Kurt Simonson
Kurt Simonson
William Connally
William Connally

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