Debi Cornwall, 2017 Fellow

I am a conceptual documentary artist who returned to visual expression in 2014 after a 12-year career as a civil rights lawyer. While majoring in Modern Culture & Media at Brown University (B.A. 1995), I studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and worked for Mary Ellen Mark and Sylvia Plachy, before going on to earn a law degree from Harvard Law School (J.D. 2000). Informed by my experience representing innocent DNA exonerees, my visual work infuses structural critique with empathy and dark humor. My work on Guantánamo Bay has been profiled in the New York Times Lens Blog, the British Journal of Photography, and Wired, among others. In 2016, I was a nominee for the Baum Award for an Emerging American Photographer, and received the Duke University Archive of Documentary Arts Collection Award for Women Documentarians and the Lianzhou (China) Foto Festival's top jury prize, the Punctum Award. My book, Welcome to Camp America, launches in fall 2017.