September 16th, 2013

Lange-Taylor Prize of 10K Given For Photo Project On Tiny Alaska Town

The Begich Towers after midnight, Whittier, Alaska, 2012.. Photograph by Jen Kinney, winner of the 2013 Lange-Taylor Prize.

The Begich Towers after midnight, Whittier, Alaska, 2012. Nearly all of the residents of Whittier, Alaska live in the 14-story apartment building. Photograph by Jen Kinney, winner of the 2013 Lange-Taylor Prize.

The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University has awarded the 2013 Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize to photographer Jen Kinney for “City Under One Roof,” a project about Whittier, Alaska, a remote town of 200 people on Prince William Sound accessible only via one of the longest tunnels in the country.

Nearly all of the residents of Whittier live in a single apartment building. Kinney’s work examines “how the structures that people inhabit shape and order their lives; how, in turn, people construct, alter, and destroy spaces; and how these constant renovations to our physical world mirror changes in the stories that we tell ourselves, and how we structure our lives to these stories,” a statement from the CDS said.

The Lange-Taylor Prize Committee also awarded a “special recognition” to Bianca Giaever for her innovative approach to using images and words to tell personal, philosophical stories. Her video “Holy Cow Lisa,” which she submitted as part of her proposal, can be seen on Vimeo at http://vimeo.com/54700919

The Lange-Taylor prize is named in honor of the collaboration between photographer Dorothea Lange and writer Paul Taylor, and it seeks to encourage similar collaboration in the field of documentary storytelling.

The finalists for the 2013 Lange-Taylor Prize were Christopher Capozziello, Vincent Cianni, Maja Daniels, Matt Eich and Kate Linthicum, Margot Herster, Simon Hipkins and Agata Skowronek, Brenda Kenneally, Tom King, Gillian Laub, Sara Lewkowicz, Justin Maxon, Alec Soth and Brad Zellar, and Will Steacy.

Related: Lange-Taylor Documentary Prize Suspended for 2011

January 6th, 2011

Lange-Taylor Documentary Prize Suspended for 2011

The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University will not award a Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize in 2011. CDS awards director Alexa Dilworth says the prize, which supports collaboration between a documentary photographer and a writer, will take a one-year “hiatus.”  Dilworth tells PDN, “We are taking a year to explore ideas for supporting projects that use words and images in other ways besides stand-alone essays and still imagery–audio, multimedia, etc. –and we haven’t arrived there yet.”

According to the Lange-Taylor Prize web site, the decision to suspend the prize reflects “the rapidly changing environment in which documentary artists conduct their work.” Discussions about the future of the prize began in June 2010, which marked the 20th anniversary of the prize, Dilworth says, and included CDS executive director Tom Rankin, former director and Lange-Taylor prize co-founder Iris Tillman Hill, and former director  and director of programs and communications Lynn McKnight.  “We are talking amongst ourselves and with other colleagues at CDS about what collaboration, combining words and images, and ‘still’ photography, among other things, look like in the 21st century,” Dilworth says.

Rankin notes, “Everything in higher education, and at Duke, is getting a fresh look on the heels of a historic recession,” but says that CDS’s funding for the Lange-Taylor prize is not in jeopardy. “Our hiatus and reflection on the future of Lange-Taylor coincides with both the 20th anniversary of the prize and budget challenges, but the decision is in no way directly tied to finances, or to any outside funder’s restrictions on support.”

Dilworth notes that CDS continues to support photography and documentary work in other ways. It continues to administer the  First Book Prize given by the Honickman Foundation. In the past year CDS has launched a new photography prize in collaboration with Daylight Magazine, and has made the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival part of CDS.

Dilworth adds that she hopes with the hiatus,  “We at the Center for Documentary Studies might come up with new ways of supporting documentary artists involved in extended fieldwork projects and who are interested in producing nonfiction narratives that resonate with personal experience.”