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Wendy Watriss, Artistic Director

Wendy Watriss is a photographer, curator, journalist, and writer. She is one of the founders of FotoFest, the internationally known photographic arts and education organization based in Houston, Texas. She has served as FotoFest's artistic director since 1991. Watriss began her professional career as a reporter and writer for national newspapers in the U.S. and later became a producer of news documentaries for national public television in New York.

From 1970 to 1992, she worked internationally as a professional photographer. In her editorial and photojournalistic work, she has covered the 1968 political upheavals in East and Central Europe, the effects of drought in the African Sahel, civil wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador, the lives of U.S. veterans of the Vietnam War affected by the herbicide Agent Orange, and the political history of Texas’ cultural frontiers. Her photographic work has been published and exhibited around the world, and she is the recipient of numerous international awards for her photography.

Watriss is the author of numerous essays on international politics as well as photography. She is the editor/producer of the bilingual book IMAGE AND MEMORY, Photography from Latin America 1866 -1994 (University of Texas Press, 1998) - recipient of American Publisher Association's Art Book of the Year Award (1999), the Golden Light Award for the Best Photography Book of the Year (1998), and Choice's 35th Annual Outstanding Academic Books list (1998). She co-authored the book, COMING TO TERMS, The German Hill Country of Texas (Texas A&M University Press, 1991). Watriss has worked extensively in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

As curator and artistic director for FotoFest, Watriss has organized exhibits from Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the U.S. She is fluent in two foreign languages, French and Spanish.

Recipient of grants for photography from The National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts/Mid-Atlantic Arts Alliance, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Texas State Historical Foundation, The Sid Richardson Foundation, the Texas Committee for the Humanities among others. Recipient of awards from The World Press Foundation (The Netherlands), Oskar Barnack Award, Missouri School of Journalism 'Pictures of the Year', The XI International Interpress Photo and The Women's International Democratic Federation (Germany). Numerous one-person museum exhibitions in the U.S., Western and Eastern Europe, Canada, Mexico. Work included in collections at The Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin; Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris; Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium, and numerous private collections.

Fellow of the American Leadership Forum (1992). Co-founder of public foundation for social justice, The Live Oak Fund for Change (1980-1992). Recipient of 'Woman On The Move' Award from the Houston Post and Texas Executive Women (1990). Founding member of FotoFest. Member of Advisory Board of the Texas Photographic Society and Board of Directors of the Texas Low Income Housing Service. Panelist and juror for National Endowment for the Arts, regional and state arts councils, international juried exhibitions and international photography conferences.


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