Brunch, October 22, 2017

The Focus Awards recognize individuals making critical contributions to the promotion, curation and presentation of photography. The awards this year celebrate three individuals and one organization instrumental in building greater awareness of the photographic arts in the general public. 

The Awards will take place on Sunday, October 22, 2017 as part of The FlashPoint Boston Festival. The awards’ Ceremony is at the Griffin Museum at 67 Shore Rd. in Winchester, MA 01890 at Noon. Prior to the awards ceremony a mimosa brunch will take place at 11:00 AM. A limited amount of tickets are available for $85. We are offering a limited amount (20) of free tickets to full-time students of our Academic Membership Institutions. These tickets are for the awards ceremony only and does not include brunch. Valid Student ID required.

On Saturday October 21, 2017 portfolio reviews and walk will take place at Boston University as part of the FlashPoint Boston Festival. Tickets are available. A few of the reviewers include David Carol, Elizabeth Avedon, and Sean Perry; more to be announced later.

On Friday, October 20, 2017 Beuford Smith will give a lecture at the Marran Theater at Lesley University as part of The FlashPoint Boston Festival. The Marran Theater is located at 34 Mellen St. at Wolfard Hall and may be accessed via the Quad. The theater is just past the Office of Public Safety in Wolfard Hall. Tickets are available. 


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Photograph © Jerry Atnip

Elizabeth Avedon is an independent curator and writer, photography book and exhibition designer. She is a sought after consultant for photographers; editing, sequencing, and advising towards their exhibition, book, and portfolio projects. She is the former Director of Photo-Eye Gallery, Santa Fe; Creative Director for The Gere Foundation; and received numerous awards and recognition for her exhibition design and publishing projects, including the fashion retrospective book and exhibition, “Avedon: 1949–1979” for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, among others; and “Richard Avedon: In the American West” for the Amon Carter Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and The Art Institute of Chicago; and exhibition designs for the Estate of Diane Arbus, the Menil Collection,Texas and the Leica Gallery, New York. In conjunction with Random House, she co-published the series “Elizabeth Avedon Editions/Vintage Contemporary Artists”, working with distinguished art critics such as Donald Kuspit and Peter Schjeldahl, and contemporary artists Francesco Clemente, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Rauschenberg and others.  

 Sean Perry

Sean Perry is a fine-art photographer based in Austin, Texas and New York City. His photographs and books center on architecture, space and light – the ambiance felt within built and temporary environments. Perry currently serves as Associate Professor of Photography at Austin Community College where he founded a mentoring program and lecture series titled, The Picture Review. 

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Beuford Smith photo by Cydnii Jones / Cesaire Agency

Beuford Smith was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. A self-taught photographer, he began freelancing in the late 1970s. His clients include Black Star, AT&T, Emory University, Merrill Lynch, Avon, and GE. Smith is the founder of Cesaire Photo Agency and a founder and chief photo editor of the Black Photographers Annual (1973-1981). He has taught photography at Cooper Union, Hunter College, and the Brooklyn Museum. Smith served as staff photographer for EBC from 1995-2007. He also was a writer and volunteer for the James Van Der Zee Institute Newsletter. Smith is a former President (1997-2003) and member (1965-2005) and now president emeritus of Kamoinge, Inc. Smith spearheaded the group’s effort to achieve 501(c)3 status and facilitated collecting photos for Kamoinge’s book, The Sweet Breath of Life. Smith served on the curatorial committee for the Committed to the Image exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in 2001. He is also a former Advisory Board member of En Foco, Inc. (2005-2012).

 Bill Gaskins

From a professional base in photography and arts writing, an academic foundation in fine art, the history of photography, American Studies and the perspective of a citizen of the United States, the work of Bill Gaskins explores questions about photography and the portrait in the 21st century. A critical entry point for the viewer is his fascination with the myths of photography and American culture and representations of African American people. His approach to photography as both producer and critical spectator has garnered attention through commissions, artist residencies, grants, public lectures, solo and group exhibitions, exhibition catalogs and books. As a professor of art, Bill Gaskins has taught at The Ohio State University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Missouri, the College of Art, Media & Technology and the College of Art and Design Theory and History at Parsons School of Design, and the graduate program in Media Studies in The New School for Public Engagement. Presently he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art with a faculty appointment in the American Studies Program at Cornell University.
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 Mary Engel Photo © Andrew French

The American Photography Archives Group (APAG) is 501(c)(3) non-profit that is a resource organization for individuals who own or manage a privately held photography archive. Collectively, the group has dealt with everything from archival supplies and copyright infringement to working with photo dealers. Mary Engel will accept the award for APAG. APAG began when founder and president, Mary Engel, assumed responsibility for the archive of her mother, photographer and filmmaker Ruth Orkin. It was a difficult task, with much to learn about intellectual property rights, conservation and preservation, promotion, and the world of photography galleries and dealers. Mary has gained a wealth of knowledge and know-how, and when her father, photojournalist and filmmaker Morris Engel, passed away in 2005, she inherited his archive as well. Over the years, Mary reached out to others who were in a similar situation and became an informal consultant. As her network of fledgling archive managers grew, so did the demands on her time. She realized that everyone could benefit from each other’s experience, so she started organizing meetings. At first the group was small enough to meet over dinner in a restaurant. Soon, however, more people joined, and a larger, quieter meeting space was needed. Mary arranged for the group to meet at ICP, and the organization has became more structured, holding meetings three or four times a year. 

Judith Thompson

Judith Thompson is the Director of the Harold Feinstein Photography Trust. In that role she works to preserve and promote the legacy of her late husband, Harold Feinstein who was awarded the Living Legend Award by the Griffin Museum in 2011. Like others who have inherited the estate of a well known artist, she has been on a steep learning curve and credits APAG and Mary Engel for providing crucial support and guidance. For nearly three decades prior to her current responsibilities she worked in the field of reconciliation and social healing running organizations and speaking worldwide. She has a Ph.D. in peace studies and was a former Peace Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard.

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Photo by Jon Atherton, Yale

Paul Messier is a photograph conservator working at Yale and in private practice in Boston. He is the founder and Pritzker Director of the Lens Media Lab at Yale’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage. Established in 2015, the focus of the LML is the creation, dissemination, and interpretation of large datasets derived from museum and reference collections of artist materials. Notable among these is the LML’s collection of historic photographic papers which is the largest of its kind in the world and was assembled by Paul over the course of decades. Paul’s Boston based private conservation practice was founded in 1994. The practice serves collectors, galleries, auctions houses as well as public institutions included leading museums, libraries, and archives worldwide. This practice has served as a training platform for numerous pre- and post-graduate interns all of whom have filled photograph conservation positions within prestigious cultural intuitions, including the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives. Paul has published widely, holds two patents covering innovative techniques for the characterization of cultural materials, served elected terms to the Board of Directors of the American Institute for Conservation, and recently completed a multiyear Mellon-funded initiative to establish a department of photograph conservation at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Melissa Banta

Ms. Banta is an author and the projects curator at Harvard’s Weissman Preservation Center. In her role at Weissman Preservation Center, Melissa works to preserve, enhance access to, exhibit, and publish special collections throughout Harvard Library. She was formerly director of the photographic archives at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard. She also serves as an exhibit curator at Baker Library, Harvard Business School and as a consulting curator for Mount Auburn Cemetery.
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Many thanks to Paula Tognarelli, Executive Director of the Griffin Museum of Photography, for her tireless dedication to and love of Photography! xx

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