Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to attend a "Creative Conversation" at The Works at the Sarasota Museum of Art.
Photojournalist, David Burnett is the recipient of The Greenfield Prize at The Hermitage Artist Retreat. The Prize includes a commission of $30,000 for a new project to be completed within two years, and a residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat. David presented a number of his images and discussed the circumstances in making them. From Viet Nam to the Olympics ... It was most fascinating hearing the stories behind the images. On a few occasions, David became quite emotional telling about how a single image can affect the lives of people, both positive and negative.
I had come to know David and his work since we both had lived in the Washington, D.C. area. David, is not only a highly accomplished world class photojournalist, but is also "a photographer's photographer." Always willing to share ideas and talk shop ... a real mensch!
After David's presentation, there was a panel discussion "The State of the Art of Photography," led by Anne-Marie Russell, the new Founding Executive Director of the Sarasota Museum of Art ... a new contemporary art museum dedicated to exhibiting art of the late 20th and 21st century. Anne-Marie served as Executive Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson and adjunct professor at the University of Arizona prior to accepting her new role at The Sarasota Museum of Art.
The panel consisted of Dr. Anthony Bannon, executive director of the Burchfield Penny Art Center at Buffalo State College. Tony was the seventh director of George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, New York.
In addition, Christopher Jones. Christopher is Associate Curator of Photography at The Ringling Museum of Art where he oversees the photography, new media and works on paper collection.
Last but not least is Robert Pledge. Robert was the former editor of the French visual arts magazine, Zoom, le magazine de l'image. In 1976, he co-founded along with David Burnett, the international
photojournalism agency, Contact Press Images.
The panel acknowledged the importance of photography in today's ever changing news world and how images shape our perceptions and opinions. Also mentioned was how the documentary/reportage image has crossed over into the fine art world. Many examples of this can be seen in David's images where they can be viewed in a news paper, magazine, on-line or on the walls of a museum.
It's an exciting time to be a photographer, and Sarasota is an exciting place to make and discover art.