For Immediate Release
Peabody Museum Names Stephen Dupont as the
2010 Robert Gardner Fellow in Photography
“This body of work will counter stereotypical myths of Papua New Guinea with honest representations of the people, their culture and identity. It is an attempt to relate the experience of communities that would otherwise just disappear, people at the bottom of a half-ruined country.”
– Stephen Dupont, 2010 Robert Gardner Fellow in Photography
(Cambridge, February 18, 2010) The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is pleased to announce the selection of the 2010 Robert Gardner Fellow in Photography. Following an international search, the Gardner Fellowship committee awarded the Fellowship to Stephen Dupont, a prize-winning Australian photographer whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Time, and Rolling Stone, among other publications. Dupont will be working on a project entitled Guns and Arrows: The Detribalization of Papua New Guinea.
Over the past six years, Dupont has traveled to Papua New Guinea, photographically documenting its changing face and the powerful impact of globalization on the fabric of its traditional Melanesian society. Guns and Arrows, the proposed project, will continue this work. From the recasting of tribal society into an urban proletariat and the effects of violence and lawlessness in Port Moresby to the westernization of traditional society in the Highlands, it will be an in-depth study of cultural erosion as well as a celebration of an ancient people. He plans to use 35mm, 6x6, panoramic, and Polaroid formats for documentary street photography, landscapes, and portraiture; weaving single images, contact sheets, composites, and video grabs into multiple forms: a traditional exhibition at the Peabody Museum, a book with the Peabody Museum Press, and an interactive web presentation.
“I think these modern approaches are needed to fully exploit photography’s still-untapped power to move, motivate, and change the world,” says Dupont. The project will be “a reflection and a meditation on a unique place, and it may also be seen as a warning for other, seemingly more ‘secure’ cultures.”
Prof. William L. Fash, William and Muriel Seabury Howells Director of the Peabody Museum, noted that Dupont’s work echoes that of famed photographer-filmmaker Robert Gardner, who funds the Fellowship. “Robert Gardner shot his most provocative film ‘Dead Birds’ about the Dani people and their then-traditional hunter-gatherer culture in New Guinea, and it has inspired visual anthropologists ever since,” he said. “Stephen Dupont’s courageous portraits of the people of Papua New Guinea share not only a geographical connection with Gardner’s work, but also a commitment to capturing scenes from within a culture, scenes that reveal truths about the culture and humankind.”
Stephen Dupont has produced photo essays from dozens of countries, including some of the world’s most dangerous regions: Afghanistan, Angola, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, India, Iraq, Israel, Rwanda, Somalia, and Zaire. In April of 2008, he survived a suicide bombing while traveling with an opium poppy eradication team in Kabul. He has earned many prestigious photography prizes, including a Robert Capa Gold Medal citation from the Overseas Press Club of America; a Bayeux War Correspondent’s Prize; and first places in the World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International, the Australian Walkleys, and Leica/CCP Documentary Award. In 2007, he was awarded the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanitarian Photography to continue Narcostan or The Perils of Freedom, a multi-media project documenting the effects of the drug trafficking in Afghanistan.
Dupont has held major exhibitions in London, Paris, New York, Sydney, Canberra, Tokyo, and Shanghai, and at Perpignan’s Visa Pour L’Image, China’s Ping Yao and Holland’s Noorderlicht festivals.
Dupont’s handmade photographic artist books and portfolios are in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Australian War Memorial, The New York Public Library, Berlin and Munich National Art Libraries, Stanford University, Yale University, Boston Athenaeum, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Joy of Giving Something, Inc.
About the Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography
The Fellowship funds an “established practitioner of the photographic arts to create and subsequently publish through the Peabody Museum a major book of photographs on the human condition anywhere in the world.” The Fellowship committee invites nominations from experts around the world; nominees are reviewed and selected by a committee of three. The Fellowship provides a stipend of $50,000. The fellowship is unique in its dedication to funding professional documentary photography.
The Fellowship was given by Robert Gardner, award-winning documentary filmmaker and author, whose works have entered the permanent canon of non-fiction filmmaking. Gardner’s works include the documentary films “Dead Birds” and “Forest of Bliss” and books The Impulse to Preserve: Reflections of a Filmmaker and Making Dead Birds: Chronicle of a Film. In the 1970s Gardner produced and hosted “Screening Room,” a series of more than one hundred 90-minute programs on independent and experimental filmmaking. The series, considered an invaluable historical record of modern cinema, has been transferred to digital format for archival preservation by the Museum of Film and Broadcasting in New York City. Robert Gardner received Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Harvard University and was director of the Film Study Center from 1957 to 1997. He was also founder and long-time director of the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts and taught the Visual Arts at Harvard for almost 40 years. Gardner is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His most recent book is Human Documents: 8 Photographers (Peabody Museum Press 2009), with images by eight photographers associated with the Film Study Center at Harvard over a period of nearly fifty years.
Robert Gardner Fellowship Recipients
2007 Guy Tillim (South Africa). Tillim’s Fellowship took him to five African countries, documenting the grand colonial architecture and how it has become part of a contemporary African stage. An exhibition of his Fellowship work, Avenue Patrice Lumumba, was shown at the Peabody Museum last year, and is published in Avenue Patrice Lumumba (Peabody Museum Press and Prestel 2009).
2008 Dayanita Singh (India). Singh photographs the India that is slipping through the cracks, unnoticed and uncelebrated, in the rush to keep up, globalize, and westernize. Peabody Museum Press is currently working with Singh on a publication of her Fellowship work.
2009 Alessandra Sanguinetti (USA/Argentina). Sanguinetti is continuing a multi-year profile of two girls living in rural Argentina and their wider social networks for a project called, “The Life That Came.”
About the Peabody Museum
Robert Gardner writes, “Fifty years ago, by inaugurating the Film Study Center, the Peabody Museum at Harvard University placed its confidence in the notion that anthropology would benefit from stepping
into a visual world. The center became known for making films such as Dead Birds, Moving Pictures, Nicaragua, The Nuer, and many others, while all the time undertaking still photography as a less central but no less indispensable way to carry out the center’s original purposes. This long time later, it is fitting to acknowledge the role that photography has played in the center’s work during the last half century.”
The Peabody Museum is among the oldest archaeological and ethnographic museums in the world with one of the finest collections of human cultural history found anywhere. It is home to superb materials from Africa, ancient Europe, North America, Mesoamerica, Oceania, and South America in particular. In addition to its archaeological and ethnographic holdings, the Museum’s photographic archives, one of the largest of its kind, hold more than 500,000 historical photographs, dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and chronicling anthropology, archaeology, and world culture.
Hours and location: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., seven days a week. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, $6 for children, 3–18. Free with Harvard ID or Museum membership. The Museum is free to Massachusetts residents Sundays, 9 A.M. to noon, year round, and Wednesdays from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. (September to May). Admission includes admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. For more information call 617-496-1027 or go online to: www.peabody.harvard.edu. The Peabody Museum is located at 11 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Museum is a short walk from the Harvard Square MBTA station.