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Nic Rossmüller : September 8th 2006 - 21:05 CET

National Geographic Photography program


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NewsNational Geographic Photography program : According to Brooks Institute of Photography alumnus Larry McNeil, ‘The intersection of cultures is a sight to behold, especially if you are stuck in the middle of it.’ That is the premise of the photographic story that McNeil tells through his work ‘Keet Hit’, which recently received an award from the All Roads Film Project sponsored by National Geographic to provide a global platform for indigenous and under-represented minority-culture filmmakers, photographers and artists. ‘Keet Hit’, a work that has evolved over years, sprouted from the same rich and mystical Native American culture that produced McNeil himself. “I was born into the Killer Whale House, Keet Hit, of the Northern Tinglit.
National Geographic Photography programPhotographer Larry McNeil
I was raised in both Juneau and Anchorage, Alaska,” he says. “I am a product of both our traditional Tinglit culture and the mainstream work of North America, with an emphasis on the Tinglit aspect.” McNeil explains that his photographs are his view of what it means to be ‘kind of mired’ in the milieu of cultures. His work, while somewhat mystical in its subject matter, reflects the wry humor that characterizes and most likely has helped generation upon generation of Tinglits and other Native Americans retain the integrity of their culture even as more mainstream society tries to mold or romanticize it.

All Roads Award - Larry McNeil Photo storie
“If you can’t laugh about it you’ll end up a bit nuts, as the doctors would phrase it,” he says. His website, engages visitors in McNeil’s world immediately with the phrase, ‘Personally, I am an Eagle Killer Whale, but here is a story of raven.” In fact, the raven is key to the creation story of the Tinglits and, therefore, a vital element of McNeil’s photo-stories. He calls his works ‘fly by night mythology’, referring to the raven’s flights in the dark as well as to the fact that the raven is a ‘fly by night’ rascal. McNeil says that he is particularly proud of the "All Roads" award because it acknowledges the indigenous aspect of his work. "I have really been immersed in this body of work my whole life because everything it contains is what I've learned along the way, especially from my own Tlingit culture and family, and for this I am grateful."

All Roads Photography Program - National Geographic
According to National Geographic sources, the All Roads Photography Program supports powerful first-person storytelling, and the program’s objective is to expose a world-wide audience to these visual tales. The program includes a Film Festival that will be held in Los Angeles, California, from September 29-Oct. 1, 2006, and in Washington, D.C., October 5-8, 2006. ‘Keet Hit’ will be a featured exhibit at the film festival.

International Center of Photography - Exhibition
Currently an Associate Professor of Photography at Boise State University, teaching both film- and digital-based photography to undergraduate and graduate students, McNeil graduated in 1978 from Brooks Institute with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional Photography and received his Master of Fine Arts in Photography from the University of New Mexico. Over the past years, he has exhibited portions of his ‘fly by night’ project at venues including the International Center of Photography in New York City, the San Diego Museum of Art and The Barbican Gallery in London. He credits his education, and his first years of study at Brooks, with helping him find a way to express himself, and notes that he hopes that through his work and his profession he can pass that ability on to current and future students of film, photography and the arts.

About Brooks Institute
Brooks Institute offers a Master of Science degree program in Photography; Bachelor of Arts degree programs in Professional Photography, Film & Video Production, Visual Communication and Visual Journalism; an Associate of Arts degree program in Visual Journalism, and diploma programs in Professional Photography and Film & Video Production. Graduates from Brooks have gone on to work for distinguished organizations including National Geographic, Smithsonian, the Los Angeles Times and other national media outlets, Hallmark Publishing, Cousteau Society, HBO, Kodak and literally scores of other leaders in visual media fields.





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