Depth of Field
Student photojournalists capture the world's gritty reality
Check out the photo gallery
It all began when Sherman Teichman, director of the Tufts Institute for Global Leadership (IGL), and undergraduate photographer Matthew Edmundson, A05, sat down at a Davis Square café with acclaimed photographer James Nachtwey, one of the founders of VII Photo Agency, a group of photojournalists dedicated to documenting global conflict. They described a dream to integrate documentary photojournalism into the ever-expanding IGL programs. With Tufts students traveling abroad as part of the institute’s EPIIC (Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship) program, photographic essays had ranged from depicting spirituality in Harlem to documenting the first democratic election in Kyrgyzstan.
“Who would be better mentors than the extraordinary professionals of VII Photo Agency,” says Teichman, “who were already documenting the pervasive poverty and violence of the world and so powerfully challenging our indifference?”
Nachtwey was impressed with the pitch. In a follow-up email he wrote encouraging words: “I have a strong respect for the Institute’s decades of effort at understanding conflict, its causes and consequences, of the unflinching way it looks at famine, war, ethnic cleansing, and complex humanitarian emergencies.”
That endorsement led to a collaboration between the VII Photo Agency and a new program at Tufts. EXPOSURE is an institute for photojournalism, documentary studies, and human rights, and one of 16 programs now offered by IGL. The program has included the first annual VII seminar (underwritten by Canon) and global workshops designed by VII photographers in countries such as Argentina and Kosovo. IGL has hosted VII photographic exhibitions at Tufts, including “Envoys of War” and “Evidence: The Case against Milosevic,” shown together with student photographs from far-flung places such as Bali, China, and Rwanda. Award-winning designer and publisher Giorgio Baravalle, who designs many of VII’s books, also designed IGL’s EXPOSURE logo and EXPOSURE’s first book, Rebuild: Kosovo Six Years Later, underwritten by the Christie Foundation.
Teichman is pleased EXPOSURE has grown so quickly in two years, but not surprised. “Documentary photography has always been integral to EPIIC’s and IGL’s educational process,” he says. “We’ve collaborated with some of the foremost international photographers of our time, people with acute sensibilities for the human condition. We will continue to do this, to educate for change, confident in Nachtwey’s conviction that ‘photography can give people a voice, that it can create consciousness and prompt conscience.’ ”
View photography by IGL students and young alumni at the photo gallery.
Learn more at www.tuftsgloballeadership.org. For information about the VII Photo Agency, go to www.viiphoto.com, and for more about Rebuild: Kosovo Six Years Later, go to www.de-mo.org.