Photojournalist James Nachtwey Featured Speaker in Fall Symposium

in
Published: 
October-06-2009

Renowned Time Magazine photojournalist James Nachtwey captures life-changing images. He comes to USAO in October 2009 for a public lecture.

"James Nachtwey is above all a witness on the side of the victims. In the disturbing worlds of conflict, rivalry and cruelty, he sets out to communicate horrors that we often choose to ignore, addressing the victims' suffering and powerlessness with a clear and unflinching gaze." This is how the keynote speaker for the second annual Giles Symposium at USAO is described in the synopsis of his book Inferno.

The work and life of humanitarian and photojournalist Nachtwey will be featured during the second annual Ray and Mary Giles Symposium on Citizenship and Public Service Oct. 29 on the USAO campus. Nachtwey is scheduled to be the keynote speaker.

"Working with unrivalled commitment, travelling from one disaster to the next on a harrowing schedule, Nachtwey has, over the last 20 years, confronted war, famine and the gravest geopolitical issues of our time.

"With a brutally compassionate stance, he witnesses the tragedies of today that frighteningly could be buried and forgotten. His pictures are inspired by an overwhelming belief in the human possibility of change, despite evidence to the contrary."

Although many people would not recognize his name, they probably have seen his work. He is considered one of the greatest war photographers of recent decades -- covering conflicts and major social issues in more than 30 countries.

Based in New York City, he has been a contract photographer with Time Magazine for 25 years. In 1976 he started work as a newspaper photographer in New Mexico, and in 1980, he moved to New York to begin a career as a freelance magazine photographer.

 

Chechnya, 1996 -- Ruins of central Grozny.

 

His first foreign assignment was to cover civil strife in Northern Ireland in 1981 during the IRA hunger strike. Since then, Nachtwey has devoted himself to documenting wars, conflicts and critical social issues. He has worked on extensive photographic essays in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, South Africa, Russia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Romania, Brazil and the United States.

Nachtwey was in New York during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and produced a body of work documenting the attacks. Although he had been injured in his work before, Nachtwey received his first combat injury in Baghdad in 2003 when an insurgent threw a grenade into Nachtwey's humvee. Nachtwey took several photographs of a medic treating Time correspondent Michael Weisskopf before passing out. Nachtwey recovered and returned overseas to cover the tsunami in 2004.

"I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated," Nachtwey says on his website.

"I want to record history through the destiny of individuals who often belong to the least wealthy classes. I do not want to show war in general, nor history with a capital H, but rather the tragedy of a single man, of a family.

"I used to call myself a war photographer. Now I consider myself as an antiwar photographer," Nachtwey said.

 

Nicaragua, 1984 - Relic of civil war became a monument in a park.

 

Nachtwey was one of the recipients of the 2007 TED Prize. As part of the prize, he received $100,000 and was granted “One Wish to Change the World.” "I’m working on a story that the world needs to know about. I wish for you to help me break it in a way that provides spectacular proof of the power of news photography in the digital age," Nachtwey said.

For 18 months, he went around the world to capture images of extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis. On October 3, 2008, his wish became a reality with the launch of the website XDRTB.org, a series of global projections and LED screen showings, and a seven page spread in Time Magazine.

In response to Nachtwey’s wish, both candidates for U.S. president responded with support for working to stop the spread of TB. Media outlets around the world picked up the story and hundreds of thousands of people viewed the slideshow in the first two weeks after its release.

Nachtwey grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Dartmouth College. Images from the Vietnam War and the American Civil Rights movement had a powerful effect on him and were instrumental in his decision to become a photographer. He has worked aboard ships in the Merchant Marine, and while teaching himself photography, he was an apprentice news film editor and a truck driver.

He has had solo exhibitions at the International Center of Photography in New York, the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, the Palazzo Esposizione in Rome, the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, Culturgest in Lisbon, El Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles, the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, the Canon Gallery and the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, the Carolinum in Prague and the Hasselblad Center in Sweden, among others.

 

Bosnia, 1993 - Ethnic cleansing in Mostar. Croat militiaman fires on his Moslem neighbors.


He has received numerous honors that include the Common Wealth Award, Martin Luther King Award, Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award, Henry Luce Award, Robert Capa Gold Medal (five times), the World Press Photo Award (twice), Magazine Photographer of the Year (seven times), the International Center of Photography Infinity Award (three times), the Leica Award (twice), the Bayeaux Award for War Correspondents (twice), the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award, the Canon Photo essayist Award and the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Grant in Humanistic Photography. He is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and has an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Arts.

USAO’s 2009 Ray and Mary Giles Liberal Arts Symposium is made possible through a generous gift from the Ray and Mary Giles Fund in the USAO Foundation.

Links:

Nachtwey Website

Be a fan on Facebook

Video: A portfolio of his work

Video: His philosophy

Video: His TB campaign

Artists, Visionaries Join Symposium Panel On ‘Fine Arts in Politics’

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Published: 
October-13-2009

 

Two artists, an editorial cartoonist, and a college professor will share their varied backgrounds and experiences to explore The Role of Fine Arts in Political Discourse, during the second annual Ray and Mary Giles Symposium on Citizenship and Public Service Oct. 29 at the University of Science and Arts.

A panel discussion is scheduled from 4-6 p.m. in the Davis Hall Amphitheater at USAO. A public lecture is scheduled at 8 p.m. in Te Ata Memorial Auditorium on the campus featuring renowned photojournalist James Nachtwey. Both events are free and open to the public.

Nachtwey is considered by many to be the greatest war photographer of this era. For the past 30 years, he has devoted himself to documenting wars, conflicts and critical social issues, working in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, South Africa, Russia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Romania, Brazil and the United States.

"I want to record history through the destiny of individuals who often belong to the least wealthy classes. I do not want to show war in general, nor history with a capital H, but rather the tragedy of a single man, of a family," Nachtwey said.
   
Panelists for the 4 p.m. discussion include Cheyenne Arapaho artist Edgar Heap of Birds, UCO Professor Brett S. Sharp, editorial cartoonist Bruce Plante and artist Jeff Stokes. Katie Davis, assistant professor of drama at USAO, will moderate the discussion.

The work of Heap of Birds includes multi-disciplinary works in diverse media including monumental porcelain enamel on steel sculpture. His work has been exhibited at more than a dozen major galleries in New York, Sydney, Hong Kong, Venice and Cape Town. His work also is displayed at the Smithsonian.

He has served as a visiting lecturer in England, Thailand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Zimbabwe and Australia. He has taught in the Native American Studies program at the University of Oklahoma since 1988. Heap of Birds earned degrees at Temple University and the University of Kansas.

Dr. Brett S. Sharp teaches courses like Music in American Politics at the University of Central Oklahoma's new Academy of Contemporary Music.

Sharp's recent research includes All the World's a Stage: Influencing American Foreign Policy Through Popular Music and Homer Simpson Goes to Washington: American Politics Through Popular Culture.

Sharp has received numerous awards for teaching and scholarship including the Oklahoma Political Science Scholar of the Year and Oklahoma Political Science Teacher of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association. He earned degrees from the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.

Editorial cartoonist Bruce Plante is a national leader in his field. Besides taking major awards in editorial cartoon illustration, Plante serves as president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

In addition to working for The Tulsa World, his work can be seen in newspapers across the United States through his own syndicate. Besides 80 subscribing publications, his cartoons have been reprinted in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and other national media.

Plante was staff cartoonist at The Chattanooga Times for 22 years before joining The Tulsa World in 2007.

Artist Jeff Stokes grew up in Oklahoma and earned degrees from Oklahoma State University and Wichita State University. He has curated numerous contemporary art exhibits in Kansas and Oklahoma museums and galleries, as well as showing his own sculpture, drawings and paintings in Kansas, Oklahoma and New York.

Stokes taught art in secondary schools, as well as three colleges and universities. He serves as executive director for Individual Artists of Oklahoma (IAO), which encourages artists in all media who are intellectually and aesthetically provocative or experimental in subject matter or technique.

USAO's 2009 Second Annual Ray and Mary Giles Symposium on Citizenship and Public Service is made possible through endowment funds established by the family of Ray and Mary Giles and held at the USAO Foundation.


Photo
Considered by many to be the greatest war photographer of this era, James Nachtwey (left) will be the featured speaker during the Ray and Mary Giles Symposium on Citizenship and Public Service Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. in Te Ata Memorial Auditorium on the USAO campus. In addition to the keynote address, the symposium will feature a panel discussion from 4-6 p.m. in the Davis Hall Amphitheater. Panelists include artists Hock E. Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds (middle, top), UCO Professor Brett S. Sharp (right, top), editorial cartoonist Bruce Plante (middle, bottom) and artist Jeff Stokes (bottom, right). Both the lecture and panel discussion are free and open to the public.

Giles Legacy Lives On In Upcoming Symposium

in
Published: 
October-21-2009

Gone but not forgotten, 50 years of marriage and public service by Ray and Mary Giles of Pocassett, are leaving a legacy at the University of Science and Arts, as the university hosts the Second Annual Ray and Mary Giles Symposium on Citizenship and Public Service. The event is made possible through endowment funds established by the family of Ray and Mary Giles and held at the USAO Foundation.

The symposium is scheduled Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. in Te Ata Memorial Auditorium on the USAO campus. Renowned photojournalist James Nachtwey will be the featured speaker during the evening presentation. Nachtwey will speak on A Visual Journey Through Critical Issues of Contemporary History.

Prior to the 8 p.m. lecture, a panel discussion is scheduled at 4 p.m. in the Davis Hall Amphitheatre and will feature Cheyenne Arapaho artist Edgar Heap of Birds, UCO Professor Brett S. Sharp, editorial cartoonist Bruce Plante and artist Jeff Stokes. Katie Davis, assistant professor of drama at USAO, will moderate the discussion on The Role of Fine Arts in Political Discourse.

On the bustling floor of the Oklahoma State Senate, Ray Giles was an icon. Year after year, the senator from District 23 stood tall for what he believed. He voted his conscience, pushed the agenda of the farmer and, throughout his long tenure at the state house, defended USAO. Standing behind the senator, supporting him through every endeavor politically and professionally was Mary Martin Giles. 

Giles developed his views and ideals during World War II.  After a four-year distinguished stint in the U.S. Air Force, where he was awarded three Battle Stars, the Purple Heart and the Air Medal for his service in Europe, Giles returned to Caddo County in 1945 and assumed the role of wheat farmer.

With one hand tied to the land and the other reaching into public issues, Giles was involved with county politics and the State Board of Agriculture prior to running for the state senate post.

After winning the District 23 seat in 1976, Giles became an instant leader at the capitol.  Many of his legislative victories revolved around environmental issues.  He chaired the senate’s Natural Resource Committee from its inception in 1981. A 1996 senate resolution honoring Giles, said he was “highly respected for the fair, evenhanded and impartial manner in which he tackled controversial and emotional issues concerning energy, conservation and the environment.”

During his 16-year political career, Giles also served on the senate committees for business, labor, finance, rules, appropriations and wildlife.

Honors and acknowledgments for his work came from a wide array of organizations: Caddo County Mineral Owners; Oklahoma Rural Water District, Oklahoma Mineral Owners Association, Hall of Fame and Conservation Friend of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts; Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientist; Oklahoma Wildlife Federation and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Commission.  In 1993 he became the fourth person inducted to the National Association of Royalty Owners Hall of Fame.

He was awarded for his work in soil conservation and rural water development.  He received the Commander’s Award from the Disabled American Veterans in 1979 and the Soil Conservation President’s Award in 1987. 

The senator was a member of the board of directors at Oklahoma National Bank and the Grady Memorial Hospital. He belonged to the Farmer’s Union, Farm Bureau, Cattleman’s Association and Disabled American Veterans.

Giles retired from public service undefeated.  In recognition of his long and distinguished career in the Legislature, a banquet honoring Giles’ life and achievements was held at USAO in May 1992.  State Senate leaders attended the gathering and spoke glowingly of him, friends recall.

Like her husband, Mary Giles too was interested in public issues, mostly in education.  She attended the Oklahoma College for Women (now USAO) in the early 1940s and became an outspoken supporter in Democratic causes. She taught in Carnegie schools for several years.  She also was a member in the Grady County Mineral Owners Association and served on the board of the Oklahoma Electric Co-Op for many years.

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Celebrating their 50 years together, Sen. Ray and Mary Giles, now both deceased, were joined by family for this event not long before the senator’s death in 1995.  To celebrate the lives and achievements of these two life-long Grady County residents, an endowment was established at the USAO Foundation, Inc. The Ray and Mary Giles Symposium on Citizenship and Public Service honors their memory.