Maranie Staab, a graduate student from Syracuse University, won the NPPF Still & Multimedia and the Kit King Scholarships.
In 2015 I left my well-paying, comfortable (yet rather unfulfilling) corporate job to pursue photography and journalism. Armed with conviction, a relentless work ethic, and the support of many I’ve been fortunate to develop into a thoughtful multi-platform visual storyteller.
As I have (and continue) to navigate this proverbial path I am grateful for numerous recognitions and “accomplishments” within the industry. Some of the most recent are listed below. Several include URLs to corresponding announcements.
– In the Summer of 2018, I was fortunate to receive the First Ed Kashi Fellowship to attend The Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Graduate school had never really been part of the “plan”, but I had been self-taught so accepted what I saw as an opportunity to learn as well as lessen the pace that I had been living at as a freelance photographer and give space for development as a more nuanced storyteller.
Since then I have been fortunate to receive recognition in a handful of ways; below are a few:
– Most recently, 2019 College Photographer of the Year awarded me, runnerup in the Portfolio Division as well as with six additional individual awards including:
– Runner Up, Portfolio
– Gold, Feature
– Bronze, Feature
– Award of Excellence, Feature
– Documentary, Award of Excellence
– Illustration, Bronze
-Individual Multimedia, Bronze
In October I was part of the lucky 100 to attend the Eddie Adams Workshop and am now a proud alum of the class of XXXII
One of my long term projects is working with the female refugee community in Syracuse, New York. For the past 14 months, I have engaged with the various communities as a way to better understand their lived experiences once resettled to Central New York. Though still ongoing I am grateful to have been able to share their stories with the Syracuse community in a solo exhibition this past Autumn. It doesn’t look like I can share URLs here but if interested there were a handful of pieces written about the show.
In early 2019 the Northern Short Course acknowledged my work with 5 individual awards for work done in Syracuse, New York; Iraqi Kurdistan and in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:
Gold, Individual Multimedia
Silver, Individual Multimedia
Gold, International Picture Story
Silver, International Picture Story
Silver, Feature ImageInstructional Assistant
Last year the 2018 College Photographer of the Year Competition recognized my work with Phuong, a second-generation victim of Agent Orange with two awards:
– Silver, International Picture Story
– Silver, Portrait
Every year the Newhouse School holds an exhibition in collaboration with Lightwork to feature student work. An image from my ongoing work with a young girl by the name of Kaylee Marshfield was awarded Best in Show.
I am also proud and grateful to have been able to teach as a Graduate Assistant throughout my time at Syracuse University. I consider teaching a sacred position and take seriously the responsibility to educate and instill a passion and appreciation for the craft in younger individuals.
Though incredibly grateful for the recognition in recent years some of what I hold as my greatest accomplishments would never receive awards. They are subtler things like being a mentor to several young women, researching and successfully planning the logistics of solo trips to places throughout the Middle East and Africa, and to trusting my instinct and pushing through ebbing self-doubt to pursue stories I believe are important.
I’ve spent a lot of time considering this question. At its simplest, my answer is to continue making images and telling stories through the use of still images, video, audio, and the written word. I cannot imagine nor do I want a life that doesn’t necessitate human connection, discovery about the world and the people that inhabit it, and one where I have the absolute privilege of sharing what I have learned with as many as I can.
I hold firmly to a belief in the power of storytelling to engage, educate, inspire, allow us glimpsed into lives and corners of the world we’d never otherwise see, and (sometimes) motivate people enough to act. I live each day with this conviction and focus my lens on those images and stories that call to me. Rather than career-focused my aim has and continues to become the most thoughtful, knowledgeable, and nuanced photographer, videographer, writer, and audio storyteller as is possible. I have been doing so as an Independent photographer and intend to continue working independently.
As mentioned in the previous question I would also like to teach someday. I can see myself in younger students and believe it is important (and I find great joy) in helping to stoke those fires, educate and encourage the next wave of visual creatives.
Click on pictures to see stories.
On February 1, 2018, Kaylee Marshfield was diagnosed with a Wilm’s Tumor, a rare form of childhood, kidney cancer. It was the morning of her sixth birthday. For the next nine months, with family by her side, Kaylee would battle the disease, undergoing numerous surgeries and receiving months of aggressive chemotherapy.
Declared cancer-free on November 1, 2018, Kaylee and the Marshfields have begun to navigate life “after-cancer”. Both unemployed while Kaylee was sick, Todd and Kristina have found steady employment at a local, Syracuse bowling alley and Kaylee and her sisters have all recently started the new school year.
What began as one little girl fight to beat cancer is now an intimate, ongoing story of a low-income Upstate New York family with Kaylee Marshfield, a thoughtful, animated, and insightful 7-year old just beginning a new chapter in life, at its center.
Beginning on August 3, 2014, the Islamic State attacked the Yazidi homeland of Sinjar, killing thousands and taking just as many captives, the young men forced to fight and the women sold for their bodies. Those that survived the attack fled Sinjar and though some have begun to return to start rebuilding tens of thousands remain displaced throughout northern Iraq. Located a few miles from the Iraqi-Turkish border, the Bajed Kandala camp is currently home to over 9,000 displaced Yazidis. This photo series is living proof of those subject to the world’s most recent genocide, their stories largely unheard and their futures uncertain.
In a nondescript house, on a quiet street in the Northside neighborhood of Syracuse, New York a little bit of magic happens each week. It is here that a group of women from the city’s refugee community gather for a shared meal, group discussions covering American culture, and several hours of community among those with similar experiences. Each woman has been displaced, forced to flee their home country, and has been resettled to Central New York. It was here, in a small, intimate living room, half of us seated on the floor, that I first had the privilege of learning some of their stories: the reasons they fled and details of their journey; their aspirations and dreams; and what it has been like to start over, to recreate home and build a new life for themselves and their families.
Since 2000, over 15,000 refugees have been resettled to Syracuse, New York. Over half are women and girls and all, by definition, have fled extreme poverty, environmental disasters, political turmoil, or conflict and have since begun life anew, many arriving without a penny or a word of English. They are mothers, sisters, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. They are primary breadwinners, educators, community leaders, and in many cases, your neighbor.
I have spent much of the last 14 months forming intimate relationships with New American families, individuals, and organizations that support the refugee communities. I’ve had the privilege of being welcomed into homes, places of worship and work, attended community gatherings, and have photographed lesser discussed aspects of resettlement such as mental health and addiction.
This ongoing work aspires to counter existing narratives and demystify the word “refugee”, adding nuance to the conversation and challenging people to consider and reconsider their beliefs and understanding.
On October 19, 2009, viral encephalitis attacked my mother’s brain. The virus-induced a 17-day coma and resulted in extensive damage to her brain’s frontal and temporal lobes. The trauma erased the past decade from Diana’s mind and left her short-term memory severely compromised; today, my mother remembers moments for only minutes after they occur.
Project role: Independently created and produced
Following the 2014 ISIS siege on the city of Sinjar, Iraq tens of thousands of Yazidis were displaced, many fleeing to displacement camps throughout Northern Iraq. One camp, Bajad Kandala, is home to over 9,000 Yazidis. Those living in the camp do their best to live life “normally”, celebrating birthdays, religious holidays and weddings, like that of Amera and Samir.
In September 2017 Hurricane Maria, a storm with winds reaching 175 mph, hit the territory of Puerto Rico, leaving over 3,000 people dead and destroying much of the island. Two years later Puerto Rico and its residents continue to rebuild and work to create a future that is sustainable for future generations. While Maria created new problems for the island, it also served to highlight existing, systemic ones. During the summer of 2019, much of this came to a head when islandwide protests resulted in the resignation of Governor Rossello. Though under new leadership, the fight against corruption and the debate between independence and statehood, continues. While many young Puerto Ricans are choosing to remain just as many are leaving the island to pursue employment and life elsewhere.