October 2nd, 2013

Video Pick: “He Doesn’t Love You Any More”

When the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University announced the winner of the 2013 Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize last week, the selection committee also awarded a “special recognition” to Bianca Giaever. The committee recognized her innovative approach to using images and words to tell a funny, touching and very personal story in her video “Holy Cow Lisa,” which she produced for a college class.

The video is based on an actual conversation she had with her college advisor—he provides the voice over for the video—during what was evidently not an easy time in Giaever’s college career. She seems to have a hard time confronting those tough words, “He doesn’t love you anymore.” Her advisor encourages her to “revel in these emotions,” and shares his own story of a sad break-up. In fact, he shares a lot about it.

If you’ve been to college, broken up with someone, or marveled at grown-ups and the advice they give, you’ll probably find something to like in “Holy Cow Lisa.” It’s on view on Vimeo at vimeo.com/54700919

Holy Cow Lisa from Bianca Giaever on Vimeo.

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February 1st, 2013

Project on African American and Latino Ballroom Subculture Wins CDS/Honickman First Book Prize

© Gerard H. Gaskin

© Gerard H. Gaskin

Gerard H. Gaskin’s photography series on the African American and Latino house and ballroom subculture of urban, gay pageants has received the Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize.

The prize carries a $3,000 grant, and an opportunity to publish a book of the work and exhibit it online and at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. The images also go into the permanent collection at Duke’s Archive of Documentary Arts.

Judged by curator, historian and photographer Deborah Willis, the 2013 prize is the sixth biennial award given by Duke Center For Documentary Studies and the Honickman Foundation of Philadelphia.

According to Gaskin’ statement, “The balls are a celebration of black and Latino urban gay life and were born in Harlem out of a need for black and Latino gays to have a safe space to express themselves. Balls are constructed like beauty and talent pageants. The participants work to redefine and critique gender and sexual identity through an extravagant fashion masquerade.”

Though the balls originated in Harlem, Gaskin noted, the culture has grown and spread. He made his images in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. “My images try to show a personal and intimate beauty, pride, dignity, courage, and grace that have been painfully challenged by mainstream society,” he says.

“Gaskin’s work looks at the notion of transformation as he turns his lens on what it means to be ‘desired,’ and at the same time, what it feels like to be alienated,” Willis said in a statement. “His photographs are as exciting to look at as they are a means for imagining the lived experiences of the communities he has documented.”

The prize is open to American and Canadian photographers of any age who have never published a book-length work. For more about the prize visit: firstbookprizephoto.com.