These are six images for the 125-image self-published photo book entitled "Very Close and Personal: Faces of the 2010 Fair in Neshoba County." This campground fair began in 1889 and has reconvened every year since, except for 1942 - 1945. Thousands of people reside in over 600 cabins and 200 recreational vehicles for the 8-day fair. Thirty-eight additional photos may be viewed at http://www.socialdocumentary.net/exhibit/Michael_Whitaker/1370 or the entire book may be reviewed at http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2904215.
After a 25-year career in social psychology documenting some of the darkest and most disturbing human behaviors, I embarked upon a second career in fine-art and documentary photography toward the goal of documenting brighter aspects of the nature of being human. Specifically, I focus on the wonderment of individuality, with particular interest in unpretentious persons with gentle spirits and other persons who traditionally go unnoticed. I also am interested in documenting complexities of various cultures and wonders of the natural world.
With an educational background in Social Psychology, I completed a 25-year career in social services. Twenty of those years were spent developing and implementing programs for difficult-to-treat children and youth. Specific target populations included retarded children, unemployed inner-city youths, violent juvenile offenders, juvenile sexual offenders, and sexually abused children. All programs were based on my theoretical paradigm, "The Nature of Being Human: A Model for Attempting to Understand the Complexities." My programs were located in Florida, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
Related to successes of my programs, the common-sense basis of my model, and abilities to assimilate and visually represent theories, I enjoyed acclaim throughout my career. My CV lists seventy-five state, national and international conferences at which I made presentations, and thirty-five state, Federal and private agencies that engaged me as consultant, primarily to evaluate and restructure programs. I gave expert testimony eight times, including twice before the U. S. House of Representatives and once before the California Supreme Court. I was published thirteen times, including six articles in scientific and professional journals. I served on four state and five national committees/task forces, acting as chairperson on all but two. Accomplishments of my programs were acknowledged in five journal articles, chapters in three books, three national television programs, and two awards for outstanding achievement.
Having been a serious amateur photographer since college, in 1995 I decided to pursue a career in social documentary photography. Subsequently, I spent two years studying at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and one summer at the School for Photographic Studies in Prague.
Since 1997 my photography has been exhibited in group and individual shows in Arles, France, and the USA in New York, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Memphis, Portland, OR, Salem, OR, and Canby, OR. Photographs from a project completed in 1997 for the Yerkes Primate Center in Atlanta, GA, were presented at an international primatology conference and are part of a permanent exhibit at a natural history museum in Belize. I also had photographs published in three editions of Photographer's Forum Best of Photography Annual. I was co-founder of Axiom Photographic Group in Pittsburgh, and served as President of the Board of Directors and Executive Director of the School for Photographic Studies in Baltimore and Prague.
From my collective life experiences I have developed my own unique way of viewing the world, which I want to share with others. Specifically, my goal is to proffer possible alternative ways of viewing the world. Targeted means toward this goal include gallery and museum exhibits, and photographic and narrative publications.
My photography is represented by Gallery 56 in Memphis, TN. The work of all represented artists may be viewed at http://www.galleryfiftysix.com
Additionally, by typing my name in the search box, my work may be viewed at http://www.socialdocumentary.net.
I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, where I resided for approximately half my life. I also have resided in Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Maryland but now reside in Oregon.
I have traveled to forty-one countries in search of images to capture. I hope to travel to at least forty-one more before my time is up.
I have been married forty-four years, have one daughter, one son, two grandsons and one granddaughter. One of our grandsons has a diagnosis from the autism spectrum, which significantly has enhanced my view of the world. In the truest sense, autism touches my heart.
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