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2024 Annual Conference

St. Louis

March 21-23, 2024

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Do Not Attempt to Deceive; Photographing the Unphotographable & Dancing in Purpletown

Brian Shapiro & Paul Shambroom

Friday, March 17 - 3:00PM to 3:45PM
Tower C

Shaprio- Is it possible to photograph a conspiracy theory? How does one photograph the unphotographable? I will discuss my project "Do Not Attempt To Deceive" where I photographed the area surrounding the Bohemian Grove, a secretive and clandestine summer camp for the world's most powerful men. The 2,700-acre ground, often associated with conspiracy theories about what happens there, is one of the most restricted areas in the world. I will discuss my process of replicating the aura of anxiety and uneasiness that accrued while photographing the void of a forbidden place.

Shambroom-  America is a nation almost evenly divided. The average margin in presidential elections since 2000 is 3.44%. Until recently most Americans across the political divide managed to live together with civility. In the aftermath of the 2020 election, there is an unprecedented level of polarization and distrust between Americans. 

"We got to live together." Sly Stone sang in Everyday People, a 1968 song that still gets us moving without thinking or judging. This sentiment inspires my project showing people coming together through dance in "Purpletowns"- communities across the nation that were virtual or exact ties in the 2020 US presidential election.


Brian Shapiro
Brian Shapiro
Paul Shambroom
Paul Shambroom

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