Vincent Cianni is a documentary photographer and educator whose work focuses on social justice, human and civil rights, community, and memory through image, text and audio. He attended Penn State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Community Development focusing on the politics of social change. He worked as a community organizer in his home county of Lackawanna County, PA as an advocate for young adults entering the legal system on drug charges. A self-taught photographer, he then attended Maryland Institute College of Art to to further his studies in the medium and received an Master of Fine Arts in Photography at SUNY New Paltz. Cianni currently teaches photography at Parsons The New School for Design and the International Center of Photography and is the founder/director of the Newburgh Community Photo Project, a grass roots community-based organization that teaches photography to local citizens to explore social justice issues that relate to their community. He is currently photographing the poor, marginalized communities in Newburgh, NY as it struggles with a past of urban blight, systemic bias, and the changes taking places stemming from the renewed revitalization of its neighborhoods.
Cianni's first monograph, We Skate Hardcore was published by NYU Press and the Center for Documentary Studies in September 2004 and was awarded the American Association of University Presses Best Book Design award. A major survey of this work was exhibited at the Museum of the City of New York in 2006. His work has also appeared in Double Take, Aperture, The New Yorker, Photography as Activism; New York 400: A Visual History of America's Greatest City; The Polaroid Book: Selections from the Polaroid Collection of Photography among others.
Gays in the Military, his second monograph, was published by Daylight in May 2014 and exhibited at the Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, Fovea Exhibitions, Beacon, NY, Daylight Project Space, Durham, NC and Elgin Community College Safety-Keen Art Gallery, IL. This work was featured on the Katie Couric Show and published in The New York Times Sunday Review, Slate.com, LA City Watch and TruthDig. Cianni lectured at the Library of Congress in Sep 2014 in commemoration of the third anniversary of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and presented at TEDxUniversityofNevada in 2015.
Duke University's Archive of Documentary Arts at the David M. Rubenstein Manuscripts and Special Collections Library established a study archive in 2007 to insure the preservation of all photographic works created throughout Cianni's career as a documentary photographer, including contacts sheets, negatives, video, audio, digital files, notes, camera and darkroom equipment and correspondence made in conjunction with the projects. His photographs are represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro; Kinsey Institute for Sexual Research; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; George Eastman House; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Harry Ranson Humanities Research Center, Austin, TX; Museet fur Fotokunst, Sweden; Bibliotheque National de France, Paris; The Buhl Collection, NYC; Musee Pierre Noel, Saint-Die-des-Vosges, France; University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD; Palm Springs Art Museum, FL. His photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally including Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the George Eastman House, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Photographers' Gallery, London; Ireland Museum of Modern Art; and in international festivals in France, Germany and Tbilisi, Georgia.