Keynote Speaker
Gregory Crewdson
photo - Untitled (Shane) Gregory Crewdson, 2006.

SPESE has partnered with Atlanta Celebrates Photography to bring Gregory Crewdson to this year's Key Note Speaker. Crewdson will be speaking at the scenic Rialto Theater. Crewdson is an American photographer best known for his elaborately staged, cinematic scenes of suburban homes and neighborhoods. The quietness of his images, which have been likened to the paintings of Edward Hopper and the movies of Steven Spielberg, belies the supernatural, obsessive, and anxiety-ridden encounters of seemingly normal people.

Crewdson studied photography at SUNY Purchase. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University in 1988. He has taught at Sarah Lawrence, Cooper Union, Vassar College and Yale University where he has been on the faculty since 1993. He has had numerous national and international, solo and group exhibitions at such venues as; White Cube, London; the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain; the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and the National Gallery of Canada. Crewdson is represented in New York by the Luhring Augustine Gallery and in London by the White Cube Gallery.

Honored Educator
George Blakely

George Blakely is an award winning teacher and Professor at Florida state University since 1978, with over thirty years of experience in photography, mixed media, sculpture and installatiuons. He is primarily interested in working with students on content- based and conceptual ideas.

He has exhibited his artwork in over three hundred exhibitions across the country, in fact in almost every state, at museums ,universities , galleries and non profit spaces. Over thirty of them were solo exhibitions . He has also lectured about his art and research at over seventy venues including universities, museums ,galleries and conferences across the country.

Currently his favorite museum is his own house and yard where he routinely has bus loads of school children visit on field trips. This past year he has been busy “mining” or “harvesting” and photographing artifacts from a midden in North Carolina on ten acres he recently purchased.

He has curated two major exhibitions“Heartfelt” in 2005 proceeded by “BANG” The gun as Image” in 1997. He approaches the curatorial arena with his history as an installation artist and considers the exhibitons as critiques of our culture. A third exhibition “Appetite” is planned for 2010.

Special Invited Speaker (Sunday October 18, 10am - 4C Space SCAD -Atlanta)

Mary Virginia Swanson

Ms. Swanson makes it her goal to help guide photographers towards the strengths in their work and to identify appreciative audiences for their prints, exhibitions, editorial and licensing placement. Swanson has a diverse professional background, having coordinated educational, publication and exhibition programs for a wide range of institutions and businesses in our field. Ms. Swanson has helped countless photographers move their image-making and their careers as artists to the next level. This presentation – sponsored by Atlanta Celebrates Photography – will take place Sunday morning at SCAD Atlanta and is free and open to the public.

Mary Virginia Swanson is considered an expert in the area of marketing and licensing fine art. It was during her tenure heading special projects at Magnum Photos, that she recognized the opportunities for artists to develop second markets for their work and in 1991 she founded SWANSTOCK, an innovative agency that managed licensing rights for fine art photographers. Swanson currently works with photographers as a marketing consultant, and also consults with business and agencies in our industry, assisting in their awareness of contemporary photography.

Danielle Avram - Curatorial Assistant, Photography & Modern and Contemporary Art

 Danielle Avram will give a guided tour of the High Museum’s photographic exhibitions on disply during the conference. These include the Alec Soth exhibition Black Line of Woods and Avram’s curatorial work Look Again. This exhibition will begin at 9:30am at the High Museum main entrance. The tour costs $12 (regularly an $18 ticket) and should be pre-paid when registering for the conference..


Danielle Avram joined the High Museum as a Curatorial Assistant in January, 2008. Avram came from the University of Texas at Dallas where she was an instructor in the Photography department. Prior to UT Dallas, she taught in the Photography department at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Avram has also worked at the Hunt Library at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she created a student-run gallery that has continuously featured work from Museum School students since opening in 2004. Her first show as lead curator, Look Again, will open at the High Museum of Art in August, 2009. A trained studio artist, Avram received her B.A in Art and Performance from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2002, and her M.F.A in Visual Art from Tufts University and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2006.

Daniel Kariko - Speculation World – Topography of Florida’s Real Estate Crisis

The aerial photographs of Central Florida’s arrested suburban developments create patterns of human habitats in crisis. From the air, the negative imprint of suburbia and its effect on nearby farmland and forests is evident. By contrast, the photographs from within these abandoned developments create post-apocalyptic sentiments of nature taking back.

Daniel Kariko was born in 1976 in Nova Sad, Yugoslavia, now Northern Serbia. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree in 2002 from Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona. Kariko currently teaches photography at Florida State University. His work illustrates the ideas of land loss, physical as well as political.

Elizabeth Brady RobinsonScenes from Jesusland

This series documents the spectacle of a Christian theme park located in Orlando, Florida. Humor and irony are combined within a documentary approach to examine hyper reality and the appropriation of Bible narratives. These images examine the curious crossroads of religion with tourism and commodity culture.

Elizabeth Brady Robinson holds a BFA from the Maryland Institute, College of Art; and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Robinson is Assistant Professor in the MFA Studio Art and the Computer Program at University of Central Florida, Orlando. Heineman Myers Contemporary Art in Bethesda, Maryland represents her work.

Amy Tomasek - Photographing the Church Cookbook

This portfolio addresses visual issues related to gender, culture, and identity by examining the personalities behind the contributions in various church cookbooks. My fascination with this topic dates back to my upbringing in Amery, Wisconsin, a place that bears many similarities to Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon.

Amy Tomasek’s first photographic essay was a 4-H project that was exhibited at the county fair. This photographic essay was titled, “How to Butcher a Rabbit.” Since this initial 4-H project, Amy has spent the past thirty-two years making photographs that address topics regarding documentary issues, social commentary, and humor.

Joseph Mougel – Between and Detached Again

Joseph’s artistic practice encompasses still imagery, video, and installation, where conventions of the traditional photograph persist. The repetition of persons and activities creates cohesive visual systems derived from the reiteration of common expressions. Variation underlies this repetition, maintaining a subtle sense of individiuality and humanity within monotonous environs.

Born in 1976, Joseph Mougel received his BFA from the University of Georgia and his MFA from the University of New Mexico. Through his work, Mougel examines his own identity as a first generation American and a former Marine. Currently he resides in Sarasota, Florida, where he teaches at the Ringling College of Art and Design.

Stan Strembicki – Mardi Gras in New Orleans: 18 Years Photographing the World’s Largest Street Party and What I’ve Learned Doing It

Stan has been photographing Mardi Gras in New Orleans since 1990 and continues to do so. This presentation is not limited to the specifics of the event photographed, but the lessons learned and discoveries made by photographing an event that only lasts for one week, over a period of 19 years. How is the work different and what new images can be made by returning to the same venue for nearly two decades.

Stan Strembicki is currently Professor of Art in the College of Art at Washington University in St. Louis, where he has taught since 1982. His work is exhibited widely in the USA and Europe, and is part of major collections and museums in the Midwest and Southern United States. He has a long history with the city of New Orleans, having first visited the city in 1984. He has photographed the last 18 Mardi Gras events in New Orleans and in 1996 lived in the French Quarter during a sabbatical leave. His work in post-Katrina New Orleans began 30 days after the hurricane hit the city and continues to this day.

Patrick Keough - Blogging, Podcasting YouTube, and ITunes University for Instructional Purposes

This presentation will address the benefits of incorporating Blogging, Podcasting, YouTube, and ITunes University content into photographic (and art) courses both in the classroom and with online components. The presentation will provide a list of resources as well as web sites where free software can be downloaded to harness these dynamic web resources for use in photography and art classes.

Patrick Keough has been designing and teaching internet courses since the Spring of 1997 and has taught art, photography and graphic design at Carteret Community College and for the Virtual Campus of the North Carolina Community College System since 1979. He’s been instrumental in furthering distance learning initiatives and has conducted numerous photography workshops in the Southeast United States. His latest innovation is developing methodology for teaching studio and computer art and photography courses online.

Mark Malloy - Exit Strategy: Developing a course to help students navigate the transition from school to work in the commercial photography industry.

The course used as the case study for this presentation, Field Experience in Technical Photography: Pro Studio, was created and designed to introduce the advanced student to the realities of commercial photography in the most efficient way; each student spends their spring break working with a photographer of their choosing.

Mark Malloy is Assistant Professor of Photography at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. He holds a BA in Photography from New England College (US and UK), an MFA in Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and an MA in Media Studies from The New School, in New York.

Forest McMullin – Full Circle: My Journey Back to the Beginning

After leaving undergraduate school, Forest struggled making a living via art sales and adjunct teaching. He soon began working as a commercial and documentary photographer and developed a successful career doing both for the next 20 years. In 2004 he began working on a project that did not have commercial possibilities and soon realized he had the desire to return to academia. He entered the MFA program at the Visual Studies Workshop and received his degree in 2008. While attending school he still managed to keep his commercial business afloat. Forest’s story has many implications for educators and students – gaining the necessary technical and creative skills, balancing the needs for commerce and creativity, and ultimately, how to stay excited and mature as an image-maker.

Forest McMullin is a freelance photographer and photographic educator based in Atlanta. For over 20 years he has provided distinctive photographs to Fortune 500 corporations, design, advertising, and publishing clients. His documentary projects have included such diverse subjects as men and women with extensive cranial and facial disfigurement, radical racists and neo-Nazis in Pennsylvania, and the first prison boot camp in New York State. He continues to cover assignments and teach at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Atlanta campus.

Michael Oliveri - Innerspace

Michael Oliveri utilizes technology usually applied in hard sciences and contemporary art practices to arrive at a poetic synthesis between art and science. Using imaging technology such as a Scanning Electron Microscope, Oliveri has been able to create large landscape images from nano structures created in the lab by Dr Zengwei Pan. These images blur scale and draw us into a seemingly familiar human setting and then upon closer inspection they become totally unfamiliar. Michael is currently collaborating with the Center for Ultrastructual Research at the University of Georgia to create a new body of bio inspired work from structures found at the nanoscale.
Oliveri is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of ArtX Expanded Forms in the Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia. He holds and MFA in New Genres from the University of California Los Angeles. He has exhibited his Innerspace series in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the country.

Jeff Murphy and Heather D. Freeman - Convergent Evolution, or: We Really Didn't Know We Were Both Working on the Same Stuff.  Seriously.

Although Jeff Murphy and Heather D. Freeman (both at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte) have collaborated in the past, they primarily maintain their own individual studio practices.  It was much to their surprise, then, that they realized they were both digitally attaching animal heads to statuary.  The source photos were the same, but employed for radically different purposes.  Jeff’s Convergence series explores the relationship between Islam and Christianity in architecture, while Heather’s Personal Demons are visual interpretations of confessional texts she has collected over the past three years.  What to do?  Should one person ditch their project and let the other have it?  Should they falsely claim yet another collaboration?  Or should they acknowledge that zeitgeist can rule an individual household and just endure the teasing? Come find out. 

Jeff Murphy and Heather D. Freeman are Associate and Assistant Professors of Digital Media at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and teach digital imaging, interactive design, photography, video, installation and drawing. They exhibit their individual and collaborative works both nationally and internationally. Murphy received his BFA from the Ohio State University in 1989 and his MFA from the University of Florida in 1995 while Freeman received her BA from the Oberlin College in 1997 in German Studies and Studio Art and her MFA from Rutgers University in 2000.  Their work may be seen at Muttkingdom.com (Murphy), EpicAnt.com (Freeman) and PersonalDemons.org (Freeman).  The most recent collaboration may be viewed at QuinnFreemanMurphy.blogspot.com.

Chip Simone and Mark MaioThe Search for a Personal Vision

Atlanta based photographers with long histories as exhibiting artists and educators. Maio is a documentary photographer while Simone is primarily interested in artistic self-expression. Both are dedicated photographers and master printers, in both traditional and digital methods. What they share is a life-long commitment to photography and a profound belief in its expressive power. They will speak about their experiences, philosophies and concerns and have a joint conversation about the search for a personal vision.

Mark Maio is a scientific photographer specializing in photographing the human eye. He is a consultant for Swiss based Haag-Streit, Inc., an ophthalmic instrument and imaging company, and founder and CEO of the Digital Imaging Institute. In 2006 he was selected by Adobe to help form their Biomedical Imaging Advisory Group in the development of Photoshop CS3 Extended, the first version of the software program to contain medical, technical and scientific digital imaging tools. The George Eastman House recently purchased a significant portfolio of his work.

Chip Simone is a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient and studied with the American Master Harry Callahan for three years. He will be having a show at the High Museum in 2011, and recently sold 12 prints of recent work to the Sir Elton John collection. Simone is currently the Chair of the Board of Directors of Atlanta Photography Group. Simone’s photographs are included in the permanent collections of Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art (NY), the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Houston Museum of Fine Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia.

Robert Graham - Shadowy Photography and The Sun

Somewhere between high art and visual reportage is a shadowy, ill-defined subset of photography that doesn't often appear in general-interest periodicals. The Sun magazine has been drawing from this realm for 35 years, matching mood-heavy, intimate, arresting images with mood-heavy, intimate, arresting text. The candid nature of the writing in The Sun often creates unique challenges for the editorial staff when pairing photos and text. The magazine's art director Robert Graham will discuss these challenges, talk about the importance of visual metaphor, and give advice (including some cautionary tales) to art photographers interested in pursuing publication of their work in an editorial context.

A graduate of the College of Design at North Carolina State University, Robert Graham has produced work for a variety of clients in academic, medical, sports, and publishing fields. He has been the art director for The Sun magazine since 2001 and is old enough to remember the first shoebox Macintosh; getting lightheaded from developer fumes in a stat camera; and a distant, hazy point in the past when most were agreed that digital photography would never amount to anything.


Robert Konuch - Digital Artist/VFX Supervisor - CSI:Miami at CBS Productions

Robert Konuch will present a behind-the-scenes look at the collaboration between the individuals that contribute to the final product that we watch on television. A “CSI shot” will be explained, from written page, to finished product.


Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Konuch studied Industrial Design at Carnegie-Mellon University and graduated in 1985. He started work in the film industry in New York City in 1988. After moving to Los Angeles in 1991 he worked as a model-maker, special effects technician and prop maker. In 2001 Konuch started work as a digital artist. After working on various movies and television shows he found a home on CSI:Miami.

David Strohl - Tips On Survival: How To Get Started in the World of Editorial and Commercial Photography.

David Strohl arrived in Austin, TX armed with his camera, his computer, his newly minted diploma, and about $500 in cash. Nobody knew who he was and while his work showed great potential, it lacked overall cohesion and refinement. Over the next few years, David asked a lot of questions, learned some hard lessons and, out of a need to survive, figured out how to make it all work. It's a long hard road, and David has dedicated himself to helping others on their journey to success. David's story will be helpful to young emerging photographers, with tips on how to run a business, managing time, cheap and effective marketing, and how to get and keep good clients.


David Strohl is a freelance photographer and artist recently relocated Savannah, GA. He has spent the past four years operating out of Austin, TX, where he has done work for clients including Texas Monthly, D Magazine, and The Travel Channel. David specializes in portraiture, lifestyle, and landscape photography and he is always trying to push the medium in new and exciting ways. Because his work can be so varied, he is open to all types of photography and can provide good advice and direction for any level of photographer. David can provide excellent insight for budding commercial and editorial photographers, and prefers to look at portfolios that try to push their own unique vision and style, rather than just copying industry trends.