May 21, 2020
Join us for Thursday Night Photo Talk with Debi Cornwall, please register here.
Debi Cornwall will preview her forthcoming book Necessary Fictions, (Radius Books, 2020) and multimedia installation exploring the performance of American power and identity in this militarized, post-9/11 era. In this time of perpetual war, constant vigilance, and political division, what are the games we play, the stories we tell, to manage unsettling realities? How are fictions deployed and embraced, and to what end?
Debi Cornwall is a conceptual documentary artist who returned to visual expression in 2014 after a 12-year career as a wrongful conviction lawyer. Marrying dark humor with structural critique, Cornwall employs photographs along with testimony, sound, video, and other materials to examine American power and identity in the post-9/11 era.
While completing a degree in Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, Cornwall studied photography at RISD. After working for photographers Mary Ellen Mark and Sylvia Plachy, as an AP stringer, and as an investigator for the federal public defender’s office, she attended Harvard Law School and practiced for more than a decade as a civil-rights attorney. Exhaustive research and negotiation were critical to my advocacy and remain integral to my work as an artist.
Cornwall’s first book, Welcome to Camp America: Inside Guantánamo Bay (Radius, 2017), was named among 2017’s 10 best photo books by Teju Cole in the New York Times Magazine, among others. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center exhibited Welcome to Camp America in 2018. Read an essay by Pete Brook, commissioned by PPAC, for Corwall’s exhibition here.