In the first semester of the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program at Duke, the Documentary Fieldwork seminar is taught as an opportunity for students to create a new body of documentary work, in a sense to define what they mean by documentary work through their own artistic practice. This new work—presented at the end of the semester—shows where students are going.
But students are asked to look back as well, to show us where they have come from. Once a semester each member of the seminar presents his or her influences: the films, photographs, artists, books, music, and experiences that have most influenced their own work. This blog,Influences, is a record of those presentations by students in the Class of 2017. This is the fifth year we have posted these blogs, an online space that is becoming a cumulative and interactive syllabus for anyone interested in what has inspired this new generation of documentary artists.
— Alex Harris, Center for Documentary Studies cofounder, MFA|EDA faculty, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy and Documentary Studies at Duke University
The current Influences blog: Here
The Influences archive: Here
Viewfinder Image by Chong Han, one of MFA|EDA student Ran Xin’s influences