Artist Talk: Pete Brook

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Monday, 29 April 2019

Aperture Foundation, in collaboration with the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, is pleased to present a conversation between Pete Brook and collector W.M. Hunt. Brook is a writer, curator, and educator teaching at San Quentin State Prison. As a guest instructor with the Prison University Project, he taught the history of photography and recently led a curriculum-writing workshop in which incarcerated students designed lesson plans for high school students about images and mass incarceration. His work focuses on how incarcerated students engage with photographs, how they see photographs of prisons, and how they want us to see prisons.

His project, A History of Prison Photography, Written by Prisoners, received the annual Howard Chapnick Grant, presented by the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund. The grant is awarded to an individual for their leadership in any field ancillary to photojournalism, such as picture editing, research, education, and management.

Pete Brook’s work at San Quentin was supported by grants from the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.

Now celebrating its fortieth anniversary, the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography was established to honor W. Eugene Smith, the legendary American photo-essayist. Today, it is one of the most prestigious honors in documentary photography, and recognizes excellence in documentary photography with annual grants totaling more than $50,000.

In 1996 the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund also established the Howard Chapnick Grant to encourage and support leadership in fields related to photojournalism. Chapnick was a principal founder of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, and this grant was created in his honor. Chapnick had been the president of the photo agency Black Star, mentor to many photojournalists, and author of Truth Needs No Ally: Inside Photojournalism. The annual $5,000 grant is not intended for a photographer but rather may be used to finance any of a range of qualified undertakings, with special consideration given to individuals, initiatives, organizations, or projects that promote social change and/or serve significant concerns of photojournalism

For more information or to apply for a grant, please visit https://www.smithfund.org/.

Image from the Prison University Project, 2016. Image Credit: RJ Lozada

The Smith Talks and other programs at Aperture are supported, in part, by generous donations from our Board of Trustees; our Members and other individuals; corporate and private foundations, including the Grace Jones Richardson Trust and the Jane Smith Turner Foundation; and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is supported by generous contributions from The Incite Project, Herb Ritts Foundation, Canon USA, and The Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation. Additional support is provided by Aperture, Brilliant Graphics, Center for Creative Photography (CCP), the International Center of Photography, MediaStorm, Photo District News (PDN), School of Visual Arts MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department, School of Visual Arts MPS Digital Photography, and Synergy Communications.

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