Home – Documenting Place in Words and Images
Facilitator: Roger May
Dates: March 11 – April 5, 2019
Genre: Creative Nonfiction
Class Size: 10
This course explores the art and craft of documenting place through words and images. Students will use their cities or towns as practice grounds to learn the skills essential to creating both documentary writing and photography and explore how these two genres can be used in concert to deepen a story. Students will study writing and photographs that effectively capture place; discuss ethical aspects of gathering and working with others’ stories; and learn practical skills of both mediums. Instruction will cover how to report and conduct interviews and the essential elements of good visual storytelling, with an emphasis on portraiture and building a narrative through photo essays. Throughout this course, students will learn by doing, spending time in the field reporting, making pictures, and then sharing their experiences back in the virtual classroom. Students will receive feedback from their classmates and instructor during the process and will leave with a broadened skill set for documentary work and an understanding of how to bring places to life in textured and nuanced ways.
Roger May is an Appalachian American photographer and writer based in Charleston, West Virginia. He is the former director of the Appalachian South Folklife Center in Pipestem, West Virginia. He was born in the Tug River Valley, located on the West Virginia and Kentucky state line, in the heart of Hatfield and McCoy country. His photographs, essays, and interviews have been published by The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera America, National Geographic, The Oxford American, Le Monde diplomatique, Photo District News, and others. In February 2014, he started the crowdsourced Looking at Appalachia project. May speaks about his work, about the visual representation of Appalachia, and photographs on commission. He blogs at walkyourcamera.org.