Beyond the Front Porch 2015
This exhibit features nine large prints that represent the final projects of nine college seniors who will graduate with a CDS Certificate in Documentary Studies. Below are words from the seminar instructor, Alex Harris.
Students in the Documentary Capstone Seminar have the spring semester of their senior year to complete a photographic, video, audio, or multimedia project that is meant to be the culmination of their course work at the Center for Documentary Studies and their four years at Duke (and in one case, UNC–Chapel Hill). This year's class has shown what former Duke President Terry Sanford coined over three decades ago as the unofficial University motto: outrageous ambitions! They are tackling projects —like womanhood at Duke, forming a non-traditional family, the essence of Quaker thought and life, the idea of beauty in relation to aging— that might be reasonable to complete if these students weren't also enrolled in three or four other courses, weren't also involved in various local and national causes, and weren't also taking the time to maintain Duke friendships that will last some for the rest of their lives.
In completing these capstone projects, students are showing the one quality that is most difficult to achieve for any documentary artist bombarded with life’s daily distractions alongside news of huge and complex problems facing society: they are taking themselves and their own work seriously. This is the quality they will need in order to move beyond university life, to remain aware of the big picture, while maintaining focus on particular subjects and issues they themselves consider to be of vital importance. —Alex Harris, Duke Professor of the Practice of Public Policy and Documentary Studies