Beyond the Front Porch 2017
Beyond the Front Porch 2017 is an exhibition of work by twelve senior undergraduates—ten from Duke University and two from UNC–Chapel Hill—who will be graduating with a Certificate in Documentary Studies from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke. Following, a statement by one of their professors and mentors, Alex Harris:
Students in the Documentary Capstone Seminar have the fall or spring semester of their senior year to complete a photographic, video, audio, or multimedia project that is meant to be the culmination of their coursework at the Center for Documentary Studies and their four years at Duke. This year's class studied either in the fall with Nancy Kalow and Chris Sims, or in the spring with Alex Harris. They tackled projects— wrongful criminal conviction, the sorority system at UNC, recovery from mental illness, Korean comfort women, college romance, southern food and culture —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 for some will last 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 and to remain aware of the big picture, while maintaining focus on the particular subjects and issues they themselves consider to be of vital importance.
—Alex Harris, Center for Documentary Studies
Read more about the graduates, and enjoy representative photos from their projects below.