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2020 SPE Annual Conference: Hosted by The University of Houston | Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts | School of Art

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Wendy Watriss

Wendy Watriss

Thursday, March 05, 2020 @ 1:00pm, Galleria I & II

"Reaching Out: Living Photography, from Image Making to Creating FotoFest"

Friday, March 06, 2020 @ 11:00am, Galleria III&IV

"Re-photographing the Boundaries: A Double Consciousness"

Frederick Baldwin and Wendy Watriss have long international careers as photographers, writers and curators. They have worked individually and collectively. In the early 1970s, they began a collaborative work on a lengthy photography and oral history project in Texas, looking at the state as an American (U.S.) microcosm. A decade later, they created the ground-breaking organization, FotoFest International, which they managed for over 25 years.

Wendy Watriss began her career in the mid 1960s as a journalist and political writer for the St. Petersburg Times and went on to be an associate producer for the new experiment in national television, the Public Broadcast Laboratory in New York - the predecessor for PBS and national public television. In the late 1960s, she began working as a freelance writer and photographer for Newsweek, the New York Times and international magazines in Africa, East-Central Europe and Latin America. In 1982, she won the World Press Feature Award and Leica's Oskar Barnack Award for the impact of the herbicide Agent Orange used by the U.S. during the Vietnam War. She began working with Frederick Baldwin in 1972 on the multi-year Texas project documenting and interpreting 200 years of settlement, culture and politics in Texas.
In 1983, Baldwin and Watriss created FotoFest in Houston, Texas and led its development until the mid-2000s. As Artistic Director for FotoFest, she curated and organized over sixty international and U.S. exhibitions and produced three hardcovers books: the award-winning IMAGE AND MEMORY, Photography from Latin America 1866 to 1994 (University of Texas Press, 1998, Austin TX); VIEW FROM WITHIN, Photography, Multi Media and Video from the Arab World (Schilt Publishing, 2014, Amsterdam NL); CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES, Looking at the Future of the Planet (with Steven Evans) (Schilt Publishing, 2016, Amsterdam NL). Photography by Watriss and Baldwin is featured in Looking at the U.S., 1957-1986 (Schilt Publishing, 2009, Amsterdam NL) and COMING TO TERMS, The German Hill Country of Texas (Texas A&M Press, 1991, College Station TX).Wendy Watriss has taught oral history and photography at the University of Texas, Austin and she has served on many national and international photography panels and juries, including National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts; and Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City. In 2009, she was the guest curator of international exhibitions for the Guangdong Museum, Guangzhou, China. With Fred Baldwin, she has received the Vision Award from the Woodstock Center for Photography and recognition as Honorary Members of the American Society of Magazine Photographers among other awards. Baldwin and Watriss were the subjects of a PBS Nightly Newshour story in 2018. Watriss's photographs are part of the collections of the Menil Collection; the Museum of Fine Arts Houston; Amon Carter Museum; Bibliothèque nationale de France; and Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium. Wendy Watriss's own photography, writing and curatorial work have been shown and published throughout the world. The archive of Baldwin and Watriss's own photography, research and writing will be available to the public at the Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


Frederick Baldwin is a photographer, writer and co-founder of FotoFest International. He served as a Marine rifleman in the Korean War where he was wounded and twice decorated and later started his career as a professional photographer in Norway, Sweden and the high Arctic where he documented Sami reindeer migrations, fishing in the Lofoten Islands, and the Nobel Prize. He led two expeditions to photograph Polar Bears to track their migrations. In the 1960s, he did adventure assignments in Mexico on wild horses and Marlin fishing from underwater. In conjunction with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he did extensive documentation of the Civil Rights movement in Savannah, Georgia and poverty in southeast Georgia. In the late 1960s, he was Peace Corps director in Sarawak, Borneo where he used photography in his work with Peace Corps volunteers. He later photographed in India and Afghanistan. He is author of the recently published book Dear Mr. Picasso: An Illustrated Love Affair with Freedom (Schilt Publishing, 2019, Amsterdam NL), which recounts the adventures of his first twenty years as a photographer. When he began his collaboration with Wendy Watriss in 1972, he photographed extensively throughout rural areas of Texas; their work was exhibited in museums across the state. He taught photography at the University of Texas in Austin and University of Houston Central Campus. He co-founded FotoFest International in 1983 with Wendy Watriss. As Board president, he initiated FotoFest's school-based education program, Literacy Through Photography. Fred Baldwin's Civil Rights photography is featured in Freedom's March (Telfair Books and University of Georgia Press, 2008, Savannah and Athens GA); ... We Ain't What We Used to Be (Telfair Museum of Arts and Sciences, 1983, Savannah GA). Photography by Fred Baldwin and Wendy Watriss is featured in Looking at the U.S., 1957-1986 (Schilt Publishing, 2009, Amsterdam NL) and COMING TO TERMS, The German Hill Country of Texas (Texas A&M Press, 1991, College Station TX). For their contributions to photography, Baldwin and Watriss have received the Vision Award from the Woodstock Center for Photography and designated Honorary Members of the American Society of Magazine Photographers among other awards. Baldwin and Watriss were the subjects of a PBS Nightly Newshour story in 2018. Baldwin's photographs are part of the collections of the Menil Collection; the Museum of Fine Arts Houston; Telfair Museum of Art; Anacostia Museum of the Smithsonian; Amon Carter Museum; Bibliothèque nationale de France; and Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium. Fred Baldwin's photography has been exhibited throughout the world. The archive of Baldwin and Watriss's own photography, research and writing will be available to the public at the Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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