Michele Abercrombie

Michele Abercrombie, a graduate student from Syracuse University, won the NPPF Still & Multimedia and the Kit King Scholarships

I attended the XXXII Eddie Adams Workshop. I was part of the 2019 Group Gallery Show at Light Work, Syracuse University. As a freelancer, I create audio stories for clients using found and recorded sounds, dialogue, music, and ambient sound. Recent stories tell of farm chores on Ripley Family Farm titled, ‘Pearl’; my sister’s take on an abusive past, titled, ‘Nature Abhor’s a Vacuum’; and a soundscape about William Blake’s poem Endless Night, also titled Endless Night. I assist photographer Gregory Heisler in organizing his magazines and tear sheets within the date and job system enacted at the beginning of his career. This involves filing the work within archival folders and separators, reinstating the job numbers, if not labeled, and reorganizing/rewriting the filing system. As a photography archivist at EverPresent in Newton, Massachusetts, I post-processed and edited a variety of materials including slides and negatives, print and digital, working on thousands of images each week. During the summer of 2019, I taught the weekly labs in Lightroom, focusing on organization, folder structure, file-naming, workflow, and the usage of collection sets and collections. In 2010 I received a Scholastic Gold Key Regional Award in Photography, a Silver Medal National Award in Photography and in 2011, a Scholastic Gold Key Regional Award for Photography Portfolio, a Silver Medal National Award for Photography Portfolio and I participated in the 2011 Group show at the World Financial Center Courtyard Gallery, Lower Manhattan.

Career Goals
I want to create striking visuals that spark change, specifically to help women, children, people of color, LGBTQIA, and indigenous peoples. With that being my life goal, I first want to work for a small (or big) newspaper, to continue to hone my skills in still photography and multimedia. Storytelling, whether created in a fast-paced environment or over several months, is imperative to finding inherent truths and while my life goals are murky at this stage, I know I want to grow within the photojournalism community as an asset to this group of truth-tellers. I also want to be part of a community of people who hold each other accountable especially in light of the #metoo movement. I want to help to push this community to reflect upon the power photographers have over those they photograph. Knowing that women are often taken advantage of in the photojournalism community I want to create necessary, imperative change, not only for the women within this community but especially for those we serve. In an interview with Vox editor Kainaz Amaria, photographer Anastasia Taylor-Lind said, “If a man believes he has the right to touch a woman’s body without her permission in the work environment, how does that man behave if he’s working in Iraq and has an 18-year-old translator? How might he behave with her? And if something happened to her, where would she go? Who would believe her? What happens when the same man has to photograph a 15-year-old girl who has been raped? ” I want to be a part of a community that repeats these questions again and again so that people unfit to be in these roles are held accountable and true journalism reigns free.


Click on pictures to see stories.

Nature Abhors a Vacuum

Leah Abercrombie reflects on an upbringing wrought with child abuse by a parent. She considers the lasting effects that the abuse –– emotional, verbal and physical –– has on her adult life.

Project role: documentarian, cinematographer, director


While naming all the chickens in the coop, Keziah and Jonah Ripley come across Pearl’s feathers.

Project role: This is an audio story I produced.

We Lived in Our Heads

We Lived in Our Heads is an ongoing, introspective look at having undergone a violent, abusive childhood, and the sibling stronghold –– then real, and today imaginary –– that exists despite it.

Season's End / This Ripley Life

Season’s End: This Ripley Life unveils a childhood of growing up, living, and working on a dairy farm in upstate New York. Scenes infused with both wonder and reality reveal the great breadth of life within the very real, yet lyrical, landscape. Children naturally saturate their day to day life with curiosity, emotion, and an eagerness to teach and be taught. This series exists as a capturing of a portion of this existence.

While these images reside within an almost fantastical landscape, they also hold residence within the very real dairy farm space of long hours, hard work, and economic hardship. Dan and Shari Ripley run the family business passed from generation to generation, and their eight children are immersed in what is a trying life, yet the experiences are lessened by the love, care, and patience both practiced and taught. Reflecting this duality and difficulty, the participants in this series, including four of the Ripley children, narrate a whimsical vision; childhood harboring creation.

Sheer honesty carries throughout a reflection of the children themselves.

In the words of Keziah Ripley, age 8, as told to her mother, Shari Ripley: “Most people who don’t know cows think they just say, ‘Moo’ but that’s not true. They actually say lots of different things. And bulls sound different than cows, and cows sound different than calves. And if you listen closely the cows don’t even all the same. Most people just don’t know that.”