October 1st, 2020

Bearing Witness: an Introduction to American Documentary Photography

With Photojournalist and Instructor John Kerans

Thursday, October 1st, 2020
Online: 6pm – 7pm CST


Where the photojournalist works to capture decisive moments, the documentary photographer strives to put those moments in context. Armed with a camera and a critical eye, he or she arranges images in a sequence to tell a compelling story, one with a beginning, middle and end. At their best, these images convey what Dorothea Lange once described as “a sense of time and place.” So too, these images should exert an “emotional tug” that pulls the viewer into the narrative and creates common ground with the subjects depicted in the images.

In this lecture, attendees with become acquainted with four great 20th century storytellers: Gordon Parks, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, David Douglas Duncan. The work of these four photographers will be analyzed and then discussed. Attendees will also learn the basics of visual storytelling techniques which can be adapted to their personal projects.

John Kerans – a life-long journalist – is a graduate of the Army’s photojournalism school who later earned his BA in photojournalism at the University of Minnesota. In civilian life, his journalism career has included stints as a reporter in Chicago, an assignment editor in Minneapolis, a TV news director in Des Moines.

Since 2015, John has been an instructor for the Digital Photography Certificate Program offered by Continuing Education at STLCC, Saint Louis Community College. Prior to STLCC, he taught at Arizona State, Scottsdale College and the University of Kansas. John holds a community college teaching certificate from Arizona State, and earned an MA in advertising at Lindenwood University.

Each year since 2013, John has judged entries in the annual journalism competition sponsored by the New York Press Club, evaluating material from the likes of NBC Dateline, Time Magazine and The New Yorker.

Image: Gordon Parks, Outside Looking In, 1956

IPHF’s Virtual Lecture Series will be hosted on the Zoom Video Communications platform. Links to meetings will be provided after registration. Technical assistance will be available at IPHF by phone and email.


Admission:$5 members/$10 Non Members

Bearing Witness: an Introduction to American Documentary Photogr

Please call (314) 535-1999 or email for further assistance