Annie Counter, University of Delaware, and Lindsay Ruth Harris, Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, are the recipients of the second annual Joan and Stanford Alexander Award in photography research. The award grants $5,000 to two doctoral candidates whose primary concentration is photography, and who are currently working on a dissertation. The fellowships encourage photography scholars at a crucial stage of their careers, enabling them to complete the research for their doctoral degrees. The museums photography department benefits from interacting with these scholars and their innovative research in the ever-evolving field of photographic history.
Counters dissertation is on the archive of photographs from the notorious Tuol Sleng prison in Cambodia, and how the images are being used as a resource by a variety of institutions and scholars to narrate the tragic history of Khmer Rouge rule during 1974-79. Harris dissertation explores how the medium of photography influenced postwar Italy, and developed the nations architectural culture in the 20th century. The recipients were chosen by a panel of museum curators and university faculty.
Joan and Stanford Alexander have been supporters and patrons of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
, since the mid-1970s ,when, through Stanfords business relationship with Target Stores, they initiated Targets thirty-year commitment to the museums photography department. Joan Alexander, a longtime museum trustee, was chair of the photography committee for its first ten years and has continued to work with the department to build the collection and to develop new programs. The initiation of the Joan and Stanford Alexander Dissertation Award grew out of such discussions.
Commenting on the Alexanders longtime commitment to the museum, Joan said, It brings us great pleasure to support programs that enhance our Houston communitys cultural life. We believe it is important to provide support to ensure the museum is able to strengthen its existing collections as well as offer creative ways to encourage and attract new artists and exhibits. It is our desire to inspire hearts, minds and spirits and enlarge the vision of all who come to our museum, especially during these challenging times. We are very proud of the outstanding job Anne Tucker and her associates have done to make our photography collection one of the finest in the nation.
The deadline for universities to nominate candidates for next years award is February 1, 2010. Awardees are announced in April.