Independent Scholar and Curator of Photographs
Cambridge, MA, USA
Alison Nordström is an independent scholar, specializing in photographs of all kinds. She is known for her writing, speaking, and curating and for the administration of photographic projects both in the US and internationally. Recent publications include "On Becoming an Archive" in Reading Magnum; Disappearance of Darkness: Photographs by Robert Burley; New Topographies; and Nature as Artifice: New Dutch Landscape in Photography and Video Art. She will curate the Lodz (Poland) Fotofestiwal in 2015.
From 2004-2013, Nordström was Senior Curator of Photographs at George Eastman House, the oldest and largest museum of photography in the United States, She was the Founding Director and Senior Curator of the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Florida from 1991 to 2002. She has curated over 100 exhibitions of photography including the popular biennial series Fresh Work, and major surveys of landscape, portraiture, travel photographs and journalism. At George Eastman House, she curated Paris: Photographs by Eugene Atget and Christopher Rauschenberg; Why Look at Animals?; Know War, and Found: Photographs by Gerald Slota. Fotofest "finds" include Craig Barber, Susan Dobson, Susan Evans, and Candace Gaudiani, for all of whom she has produced major books or exhibitions. Nordström holds a BA in English Literature, an MLS with museum emphasis, and a PhD in Cultural and Visual Studies.
Her current work includes the writing of two contemporary monographs, a multimedia project on historical and contemporary representation of the Somme and research for an exhibition and major publication on the idea, in the broadest sense, of photographic documentary. She is particularly interested in seeing work by contemporary photographers that they themselves characterize as documentary. However, her interests are wide and she will happily review photo essays, book dummies, (especially unpublished first books), work that has political content, work smaller than 8X10, work from outside the USA, and work in progress. She is not interested in nudes, infrared, polacolor transfers, or commercial work except photojournalism.
Her reviews are good sources for objective critique and a serious interrogation of the work presented. In addition to image content, she can discuss career next steps, galleries and museums and comment on issues of editing, sequence, design and presentation. She can also befriend, encourage, advise, question, challenge, recommend, champion and put things into perspective.