A distinguished panel of photographers will discuss their work in the first exhibit displayed at the Reed College of Media Innovation Center.
“In the Air: Visualizing What We Breathe,” is a photo essay by photographers Brian Cohen, Scott Goldsmith, Lynn Johnson and Annie O’Neil that illustrates the environmental, social and economic effects of air quality in Western Pennsylvania.
Funded by the Heinz Endowment, the exhibit is one of the first projects of The Documentary Works, a group of photographers focusing on social and environmental justice. Photos include images of survivors from one of the worst air pollution disasters in the nation’s history—the Donora inversion of 1948 in which 20 people died and more than 7,000 were sickened, the impact of coal-fired power plants on air quality in the communities of Cheswick and Springdale, and photos of concerned residents and their reactions to pollution. Excerpts from essays by Reid Frazier accompany the images to expand on the social, environmental and economic context seen in the visual work.
Lois Raimondo, Assistant Professor, Shott Chair of Journalism
Raimondo is an international award-winning journalist and former staff photographer at The Washington Post. Prior to her 10 years at The Post, she worked as a freelance photographer and writer and spent four years as chief photographer for The Associated Press bureau in Hanoi, Vietnam. Raimondo’s work has appeared in National Geographic, The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, Newsweek and Time. Currently, her photo exhibit, “fractured spaces: stories of resistance and resilience,” is touring the country. The exhibit gives viewers a look at communities disrupted and dislocated by political and cultural conflict.
Brian Cohen, co-curator and photographer
Cohen lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he works as a freelance photographer for a variety of clients including the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the Grable foundation, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Next Pittsburgh. As founder and director of the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project, Cohen is working with other photographers to document the social and environmental effects of drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania. Most recently, he founded The Documentary Works, a resource for documentary photography and photographers in Western Pennsylvania.
Lynn Johnson, photographer
As a freelance photographer, Johnson is a regular contributor to publications such as National Geographic and Sports Illustrated. She has documented celebrities and tragedies alike, bringing a subtle perspective to tough issues. She is a frequent educator at National Geographic’s Photo Camp, training the next generation of photojournalists in developing countries. In addition, she was recently awarded the National Geographic fellowship. Before becoming a freelance journalist, Johnson worked as a staff photographer at the Pittsburgh Press for seven years.
Scott Goldsmith, photographer
Goldsmith started his career at Indiana University where he won the Hearst College Photographer of the year Competition and the Indiana Photographer of the Year award. He has photographed feature stories for a wide variety of magazines including National Geographic, LIFE, TIME, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and People. His work has taken him to the jungles of Costa Rica, the swamps of Jamaica, the slums of Haiti, caves, deserts, and several rides on Air Force One.
Scott has worked in 49 of the 50 US states, 10 foreign countries and won over 100 awards for his work including Communication Arts and the 2011 Black & White International Spider Awards. In October of 2011, he was honored by the National Academy of Science for work published by National Geographic.
Annie O’Neill, photographer
After graduating from the University of Missouri, O’Neill spent two years at The Detroit News before moving to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for 13 years. In 2004, she was a Knight Fellow at the University of Ohio. Her work has been recognized by Pictures of the Year International, Society of News Design and the Golden Quill. O’Neill has been named photographer of the year for Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania multiple times. Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Space Gallery and Silver Eye Gallery have all displayed her photographs. O’Neill is currently an independent photographer based in Pittsburgh. She believes every photographer should have a long-term project. O’Neill’s has been working on “The Gift of Work” since 1995 where she photographs and interviews people who have had the same job for 50 years or more.