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Alex Harris, Professor of the Practice and Documentary Studies Certificate

Alex Harris

Alex Harris has photographed extensively in the American South, New Mexico, Alaska, and Cuba. His work is represented in major collections including The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, The North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography, a Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowship, and a Lyndhurst Prize. His photographs have been exhibited in numerous museums including two solo exhibitions at the International Center of Photography in New York. As a photographer and editor, Harris has published fifteen books including River of Traps (with William deBuys) a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction. His book, [The Idea of Cuba,](http://cdsbooks.org/The-Idea-of-Cuba) was co-published in September of 2007 by the University of New Mexico Press and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke. His most recent book, [Why We Are Here](http://books.wwnorton.com/books/978-0-87140-470-1/), a collaboration with E.O.Wilson, was published in 2012 by Liveright/Norton.

Harris was born in Atlanta, Ga., and grew up in the South. After graduation from Yale in 1971, he photographed North Carolina as part of a Duke University research project. Between 1972 and 1978 he lived and photographed in Hispanic villages in northern New Mexico and Eskimo villages in Alaska. During these years, Harris also began to commute to North Carolina to teach documentary photography at Duke.

In 1980 he founded the Center for Documentary Photography at Duke, which he directed for eight years. In 1989, he was a founder of [The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke](http://cds.aas.duke.edu/). Between 1995 and 1998 Harris launched DoubleTake Magazine with Robert Coles and coedited the publication through its first twelve issues. He is currently Professor of the Practice of Public Policy and Documentary Studies at Duke. Within the Center for Documentary Studies, he is the Creative Director of the [Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program](http://cds.aas.duke.edu/hine).

Contact Info:
Office Location:  1317 W Pettigrew St, Durham, NC 27705
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:  http://alex-harris.com/

Education:

A.B.Yale University1971
PsychologyYale University1971
Phillips Andover Academy1968
Specialties:

Communications, Journalism and Media
Public Policy
Research Interests: Documentary Photography, sub-standard housing, Aging in America

Research: Documentary photography; media coverage of humanitarian challenges; Cuba; sub-standard housing and homelessness, Mobile, Alabama and the Gulf Coast, Brain Cancer

Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Alford, K, Who’s Idea of Cuba, Revista Fall/2009 (February, 2014) [alford]  [abs]
  2. with a harris and seven other photographers, Bull City Summer (2013) [1]  [abs]
  3. with a harris and MFAEDA first year students, MFA/EDA Influences class of 2015 (2013) [available here]  [abs]
  4. with a harris and other photographers, Close to Home (August 18, 2013–February 9, 2014) (An exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art.) [available here]
  5. with A Harris and other artists, "In Practice" exhibition (September 27, 2013- December 30, 2013) [19979]  [abs]

Alex Harris is a Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Studies at Duke, and the founder (in 1980) of the Center for Documentary Photography at Duke, which he directed for eight years.

He attended Phillips Andover Academy and Yale University. After graduation from Yale in 1971, he photographed substandard housing and living conditions in North Carolina as part of a research project at the new Institute of Policy Sciences and Public Affairs at Duke. In 1972 he began a collaboration with Dr. Robert Coles that would result in six years of photographic work in New Mexico and Alaska and in the publication of two books with Coles: The Old Ones of New Mexico (1973, UNM Press), and The Last and First Eskimos, (1978, New York Graphic Society).

During these years, while continuing to live and photograph in northern New Mexico villages, Harris began to commute to North Carolina to teach documentary photography at Duke University. In 1980 he founded the Center for Documentary Photography at Duke. Subsequently he became a founding member of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke. At the Center for Documentary Studies Harris is the creative director of the Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program.

River of Traps (1990, UNM Press), his book with writer William DeBuys, was a 1991 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in general non-fiction. His next, Red, White, Blue and God Bless You, was published in 1992 by UNM Press in association with a national traveling exhibition that opened at the International Center of Photography in New York City in 1994. A selection of Harris's photographs was published in 1998 in Old and On Their Own (W.W. Norton) with text by Robert Coles and additional photographs by Thomas Roma. His book, Islas en El Tiempo, Islands in Time) was published by the Valencian Museum of Modern Art in Spain in 2000. His new book, The Idea of Cuba, focuses on the "special period" in contemporary Cuban history and will be co-published by the Center for Documentary Studies and the University of New Mexico Press in the spring of 2007.

In 1995 With Robert Coles, Harris launched a new national magazine "Double Take," and worked with Coles as co-editor through March of 1998. As an editor, Harris has published: Gertrude Blom: Bearing Witness (UNC Press 1982) with Margaret Sartor, A World Unsuspected: Portraits of Southern Childhood (1985 UNC Press), In The Streets by Helen Levitt (1988 Duke University Press), Beyond the Barricades: Popular Resistance in South Africa (Aperture 1989), A New Life: Stories and Photographs from the Suburban South (Norton 1996), Arrivals and Departures (with Lee Friedlander) (DAP 2004), and Together We Do Good Work: SEWA's Child-Care Program in Gujarat India, by Sara Gomez (CDS 2005).

Harris's photographs have been exhibited (Since 2004) at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The International Center of Photography in New York, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Georgia, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Harris's photographs are included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The J. Paul Getty Museum, The Addison Gallery of Contemporary Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and North Carolina Museum of Art. His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship in photography, a N.C. Visual Artist Fellowship from the NEA, and a Lyndhurst Award. Harris is married to Margaret Sartor and they have a son and a daughter.


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