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Nanci Milton
Nanci Milton
Nanci Milton

Nanci Milton

Country: United States
Birth: 1957

Nanci Milton is a primarily self-taught photographic artist. Her experience with the camera, film and image making began at an early age with the gift f an Instamatic from her father for whom photography was his passion though not his profession. Subsequent Christmas gifts of cameras followed, as well as access to his own various cameras. She was smitten.

As the only child of artistic parents, both teachers as well, she was continually exposed to writing, image making, art viewing and inquiring into the creative process. As an only child of older parents, she also was included in many adult events, dinners, lectures, visits with artists of many arenas and backgrounds and absorbed the many layers of inspiration and process they possessed. She found it a gift to be an only child as it allowed her the access to a larger world early on and also left her to her own devices to imagine and make without the comparison or competition with a sibling. Everything was available and potent.

The ''legacy'' of artists can be heavy though, and even as she continued to make images and write, she struggled to find a form that was her own. That form led to a detour into the performing arts, modern dance and theater which were her university studies. Ultimately, these fell short of what she had been immured in all her life, and the turn back o the photographic arts and writing was undeniable. The detour however undeniably informs her work with a sense of narrative and staging, in addition to a conceptual approach that pushes the images beyond the static.

In a world that is in such flux, Milton is attracted to empty, vacated or in some way, disrupted spaces and how our intimately personal or common and archetypal experience layer on and stain that space, be it exterior or interior; she finds a landscape of both body and mind to reveal. There is redemption in that effort and the rescuing of the lost, and in both the symmetry and the chaos found there. Methodology and materials are less important and she utilizes any and all that will support the idea.

Milton has been included in domestic and international exhibits at Praxis gallery, LA Noble Gallery, A Smith Gallery, The 9th Annual Koblenzanalog portfolio and exhibit, and was an Honorable Mention in the Fine Art category for the 17th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards.
 

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Many of my photographs from this period have taken on a life of their own. The image of Nelson Mandela walking out of prison with his wife, Winnie, has been exhibited and published worldwide. In 2008, as Barack Obama fought John McCain for the presidency, Newsweek magazine ran a story asking each candidate to choose an image that best personified their worldview. Obama's team chose an image that I photographed in Thokoza township in 1991. Last year the same photograph became central in a high-profile image-appropriation dispute between me and New York artist, Hank Willis Thomas. There was a massive groundswell of support from colleagues and media from around the world. An amicable settlement was reached. Since 1994 I have concentrated on producing personalized and contemporary bodies of work that reflect this complex country and the continent as a whole. 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My photographs have appeared on the cover of Time magazine twice, and have been published in The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Newsweek, Stern, and many others. Whilst working on my long-term projects, I try to bear in mind how the work will be exhibited and published. So, therefore, during the planning and photographing stages, I attempt to create a broad context for my essays, that includes a general look and feel while creating the space for each image to convey its individual complexity. This need to develop a dual awareness in my personal work has benefitted me from a long-term interest in designing and producing photobooks. I have created over 20 publications, some of them winning awards and many being shortlisted in dummy book competitions. During the past five years, I have felt a need to shift my attention from South Africa to the American social, political, and physical landscape. Some of my motivations for this change in direction have been outlined within the 'Plan' document. In 2016 I was granted a residency in the US by the Ampersand Foundation, giving me an opportunity to develop a body of work that interrogated the social strata within the greater community of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I designed and produced a book called, Diverging Dreamlines that included, portraits, urban landscapes as well as multi-image, digital, illustrations. The publication was chosen as "best of the show" in the Annual Photobook Exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts. The work was also included in the Unmasked exhibition at Axis Gallery, New York in 2017. Earlier this year (2019) I co-presented a paper, Over Time, at the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) Congress held in London. Four of my personal essays were incorporated into the presentation, allowing a psychoanalytical exploration into the parallels between this photographic record and South Africa's dynamics and process of change. I have participated in various mentorship programs, supporting students from South African photographic institutions: Tierney Fellowship winners from the University of the Witwatersrand (2018/2019) and the Market Photo Workshop (2015/2016). As well as candidates from the Photographer incubator Program in 2016. Learn more about Graeme Williams on videos: Victoria and Albert Museum Photography and Democracy South African Studios Dwell in Possibility opening Check out Graeme Williams's interview about his latest project America Revisited
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