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Past SPE Annual Conferences

2021 SPE Annual Conference Overview

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Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

When January 01-December 31, 2021
Where Online Event

SPE's 58th Annual Conference, Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

The physical meeting of SPE's annual conference, originally scheduled for March of 2021, had to be cancelled due to restricitions on the size of public events allowed by the City of Denver.

In lieu of a physical conference, we are offering the programming which was selected for the Denver conference as a series of Virtual Events happening on Zoom throughout the 2021 year.

To attend any of the events, go to the SPE Events Page.

To download our Virtural Progam Guide, click here

Tuesday, February 9 | 7PM EST

Grad Night: Jesse Enger, Ranran Fan, Trent Bozeman

Join us for an evening of presentations by three graduate students exploring personal, sexual, and racial identity. Each student will share a 20-minute presentation, followed by a shared Q&A session at the end.

Trent Bozeman uses his practice as a tool to aid in the act of remembering his past, both ancestral and temporal. His current work explores Gullah sea island communities and the memories that continue to prolong their cultural significance.

Ranran Fan works primarily in photography, installation and performance to create images and devices as manifestos about issues such as authoritarian surveillance and control of mass media, and sexual assaults and violence against women (especially women of color) in the patriarchal white-supremacy society.

Jesse Egner's playful and performative photographs reflect on experiences of allientation within the LGBTQ community. Using a visual language of "body neutrality," Egner photographs queer bodies that are meant to be neither grotesque nor beautiful, as well as particular interactions between queer bodies, reflections, and environments.


Saturday, February 27 | 1PM EST

Portfolio Throwdown

Join fellow SPE members for an informal portfolio sharing session. Bring your work in a digital format, ready to share in small breakout rooms. Receive feedback and engage in conversations with peers in the field.


Tuesday, March 9 | 7PM EST

Sarah Phyllis Smith

Study Hall: A Pedagogical Experiment

Envisioned by Sarah Phyllis Smith, Study Hall is an experimental, pedagogical exhibition space bringing diverse photographic practices directly to the students' workspace. Through partnerships and innovative thinking, these semester-long exhibitions are two-fold: directly supporting curriculum, and bringing critical voices to rural areas where students lack access to contemporary art.


Saturday, March 27 | 1pm EST

Sharing/Shaping the Wealth: Collaborative Ways Museums, Libraries, and Archives Collections Can Further Photographic Research

What can researchers in other fields discover when libraries and museums begin to collaborate? This panel will focus on innovative examples of collaboration and accessibility between museums and libraries, and on the effects they have had on teaching and scholarship. Collaborations involving digitization, online presentations of shared visual materials, and community efforts to move beyond museum and library walls will be a focus of this panel.

Andy Grundberg (moderator) is Professor Emeritus of the George Washington University, a former critic for the New York Times, a former dean of the Corcoran College of Art and Design, and the author most recently of "How Photography Became Contemporary Art" (Yale University Press, 2021).

Kate Addleman-Frankel is the Gary and Ellen Davis Curator of Photography at Cornell University's Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. She works with the Cornell library's Division of Rare and Manuscripts Collections identifying important photographs within its archives and organizes exhibitions of photographs from both the museum and the library.

Johan Kugelberg is an archivist and curator based in New York. His company Boo-Hooray has placed over 130 archives with institutional libraries and museums.

Caitlin Margaret Kelly is the Curator of the Archive of Documentary Arts at the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Director of the Power Plant Gallery at Duke University.


Tuesday, April 13 | 7PM EST

Joshua Rashaad McFadden

Evidence: Collecting and Re-Situating Testimonies of Black Seflhood

Presented by SPE's LGBTQ Caucus

Joshua Rashaad McPhadde's work aims to address the mass erasure of Black legacy in America. Empowered by the legacy of Frederick Douglass—who championed the power of the image and media representation— EVIDENCE gives back the voice and legacy of silenced individuals through powerful images, handwritten text of personal experiences, and a newspaper publication that delves deeper into the concept of varying masculine identities, especially within the LGBTQ community.


Saturday, May 1 | 1PM EST

Portfolio Throwdown

Join fellow SPE members for an informal portfolio sharing session. Bring your work in a digital format, ready to share in small breakout rooms. Receive feedback and engage in conversations with peers in the field.


Image Maker | Tuesday, May 11 | 7PM

Bennie Flores Ansell: REUSE and REcontextualizing the Western Canon in Film

Bennie Flores Ansell deconstructs the tools of analog photography to create organic migration installations and unique objects. She achieves different effects through the reaction of varying light sources with reflections and mirrors, constructing distinct installations by configuring obsolete photographic materials as an ode to and critique of the photographic process.

Bennie Flores Ansell is a Houston based visual artist.  Flores Ansell is currently a Professor in the Art Department of the Houston Community College. She completed her MFA in Photography at the University of Houston and an undergraduate degree in Photo from the University of South Florida. Flores Ansell pursues different conceptual ideas through the use of light, shadow, migration patterns, and observations of the tactile qualities of film and the photographic image.


Panel | Saturday, May 29 | 1PM EST

Defining Diné Legacies: The Friction Between the Fragmented Archive and Contemporary Photographic Practice with panelists Will Wilson, Hannah Abelbeck, Rapheal Begay, and moderated by Jennifer Denetdale

This panel explores the friction between the fragmented archive and contemporary Indigenous photographic practice in defining legacies for the Diné (Navajo) people. We follow the trajectory and historical frame(s) of the creation, archiving and circulation of 19th century photographs of Diné (Navajo), observing the nexus formed by the intersection of these historic photographs with contemporary photographic practice by Diné photographers. The discussion concludes with contemporary Diné photographers reflecting on their own practices and how such practices relate to the story of the archive and reclaim the legacies of contemporary and historical images.

Lecture | Tuesday, June 8 | 7PM EST

Gazelle Samizay & Helena Zeweri: The Multiple Lives of the "Afghan Girl"

In 1985, National Geographic published an image of a young girl on its cover. With piercing green eyes and a loosely wrapped burgundy veil, the "Afghan girl," as she came to be known, riveted magazine readers.Since its publication, the legacies of this image have been profound. This presentation uses Steve McCurry's famous photograph as a jumping-off point for looking at how photographs of Afghans have been mobilized to tell racialized narratives toward militarized humanitarian projects.


Grad Night | Tuesday, July 13 | 7PM EST

Tere García, Dilmar Mauricio Gamero Santos, Steven Baboun | Exploring identity of place: Haiti, Peru, US/Mexico Border

Join us for an evening of presentations by three graduate students exploring the sense of place, culture and identity. Each student will share a 20-minute presentation, followed by a shared Q&A session at the end.

Steven Baboun is a lens-based artist from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and based in New York City. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Arts with a minor in Education Studies from American University and graduated from Parsons School of Design with a Master of Fine Arts in Photography.

Tere Garcia is a multidisciplinary artist originally from Monterrey, NL, Mexico. In 2020 she graduated with an MFA in  Photography from Parsons School of Design. Garcia has been traveling and working along the United States and Mexico Border, confronting these boundaries that demolish and hinder unity.

Dilmar Gamero is a Peruvian-born, Philadelphia based visual artist and teacher with studies in audiovisual communication and theology. He's specialized in digital and alternative processes. He received his MFA in Photography at Tyler School of Art, and he's a PhD candidate in Documentary Arts and Visual Research at Temple University.


Saturday, July 26 | 1PM

Portfolio Throwdown

Join fellow SPE members for an informal portfolio sharing session. Bring your work in a digital format, ready to share in small breakout rooms. Receive feedback and engage in conversations with peers in the field.


Image Maker | Tuesday, August 10

Antone Dolezal & Lara Shipley: The Naked Truth

The Naked Truth is a new collaborative project by Antone Dolezal & Lara Shipley, set in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. This project combines creative and performative photographs in close dialogue with a historical archive, resurrecting the period of the Great Depression when the Victorian era Crescent Hotel was turned into a fake cancer curing hospital by "Dr." Norman Baker, an egomaniacal charlatan exploiting the terminally ill and economically desperate.

Inspired by superstition, the story of a trickster that is part truth and part myth, and a hotel that was once the illusion of a hospital, The Naked Truth explores the fine line between reality and illusion that can be used to marvel or exploit. It aims to challenge our faith in manufactured saviors and the evidence employed to make sense of the world. By giving a glimpse into this small corner of America's past, Dolezal & Shipley unveil a world that exposes the wonder, trauma and eccentric realities reverberating across contemporary America today.

Antone Dolezal is a visual artist whose body of work surveys the cultural and political dynamics of American folklore and mythology. Antone is currently a faculty member at the University of Nevada - Reno.

Lara Shipley is an Assistant Professor of Photography at Michigan State University. She is a photographer and bookmaker who primarily makes work about rural culture, identity, mythology, storytelling and photography's relationship to evidence.


Panel | Saturday, August 28

Resilience-Based Teaching in a Colonial Education System: Wendel White, Tarrah Krajnak, Lorena Molina, Emily Hanako Momohara

What does decolonization look like in your classroom and how does one go about it? Emily Hanako Momohara, Wendel White, Tarrah Krajnak and Lorena Guadalupe Molina will discuss the fundamentals of colonized curriculum, amplification of white culture, and patriarchal classroom structures to give examples for dismantling these traditional practices to better serve all students.

The conversation will cover building curriculum around race and history to transect a photography classroom that goes beyond racially diverse artist examples. Methods like the feminist classroom, non-masculine structure, and emotional development will expand instruction delivery.

A special emphasis will be placed on identifying and including the needs of 1st generation, differently-abled, new American, Black, Indigenous and People of Color in the student body, staff and faculty. A resilience-based approach to teaching can offer shared labor and the normalization of all the peoples.

Image Maker | Tuesday, September 7 | 7PM EST

Noelle Mason: X-Ray Vision vs. Invisibility

Translating images from near-instantaneous creations to installations, sculptures, drawings, alternative process photographs or hand-made embroideries and weavings, Mason's work alters the physical and psychological space between viewer and document. Infusing the hand-made onto images generated by machine-vision serves to question the authoritative aesthetic of surveillance and remote sensing.


Lecture | Tuesday, October 12 | 7PM EST

Lisa McCarty: Creating Change from within: Building and Discovering a Diverse Archive of Documentary Arts

Using the Duke University's Archive of Documentary Arts as a case study, this presentation will examine strategies that can be applied within the structure of an existing photo archives in order to develop diverse and inclusive photography collections.

Saturday, October 30 | 1PM EST

Portfolio Throwdown

Join fellow SPE members for an informal portfolio sharing session. Bring your work in a digital format, ready to share in small breakout rooms. Receive feedback and engage in conversations with peers in the field.


Image Maker | Tuesday, November 9 | 7PM EST

Alexis Childress: The Tekhnologia of Blackness

Inspired by Afrofuturism, Alexis Childress' work manifests as visual interpretations of her experiences growing up as a Black woman in the rural Midwest, confronted with racial tensions and generational oppression; using technology to examine race, culture, social transition, and self-identity.

Teaching & Learning | Tuesday, December 7 | 7PM EST

Stephanie Dowda DeMer: Open Education Resource: Creating Accessible and Equitable Photography Texts

This presentation calls for under-represented voices in art academics to create Open Education Resource (OER) texts in order to fill gaps in our traditional textbooks while generating an unparalleled level of access for our students and colleagues.  OER's are freely accessible and supportive learning resources for students who are facing increasing challenges to be successful in higher education. Studio and creative arts need contemporary texts to make bold, fresh, and divergent practices visual in our pedagogy. Dowda DeMer argues that OER's are a nimble way to present curious and conscious resources within a network for accessibility.

Stephanie Dowda DeMer is a Visiting Artist in Photography at The University of Iowa. DeMer received her MFA in Photography + Film from VCUUniversity and BA in Philosophy from GSU. Through the OpenHawkeyes Creation Grant, her forthcoming textbook, Material Encounters, will be published in 2021. Her first book, Oblivion Seekers, was published with Ultraterrestrial. DeMer is a Vermont Studio Center Fellow, Golden Dome Fellow, Hambidge Fellow, and Cabin Time Alumni.




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