I am a conceptual documentary artist who returned to visual expression in 2014 after a 12-year career as a civil rights lawyer. My work examines American power and identity in the post-9/11 era through photographs, archives, text, and sound.
2000 Harvard Law School, J.D.
1995 Brown University, B.A., magna cum laude, Honors in Modern Culture & Media (photography)
1992-95 Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), photography classes
Welcome to Camp America: Inside Guantánamo Bay (Radius Books, 2017)
2018 Welcome to Camp America, Cortona on the Move Festival (Italy) (forthcoming 12 July to 30 September)
2018 Welcome to Camp America, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center (PA) (forthcoming 14 June to 30 August)
2018 Welcome to Camp America, Head On Photo Festival (Sydney, Australia) (forthcoming 4 to 20 May)
2017 Welcome to Camp America, Steven Kasher Gallery (New York, NY)
2017 Welcome to Camp America, Carriage House Gallery, Brown University (Providence, RI)
2017 Welcome to Camp America, BMW Photo Space of GoEun Museum of Photography (Busan, S. Korea)
2017 Welcome to Camp America, Centre de la Photographie Genève (Switzerland)
2017 Punctum Award Special Exhibition, Lianzhou Foto Touring Exhibition, Chongqing (China)
2016 Welcome to Camp America, Lianzhou International Foto Festival (China)
2016 Gitmo at Home, Gitmo at Play, Gitmo on Sale, Gallery 1401, University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA)
2015 Gitmo at Home, Gitmo at Play, Gitmo on Sale, Photoville (Brooklyn, NY)
2015 Gitmo at Home, Gitmo at Play, Fovea Exhibitions (Beacon, NY)
Selected Group Exhibitions
2018 Discoveries of the Meeting Place, Fotofest Biennial (Houston, TX) (catalogue) (10 March to 22 April)
2018 En Suspens (In Between), le BAL (Paris, France) (8 February to 13 May) (catalogue)
2017 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards Shortlist Exhibition, Paris Photo Fair, Grand Palais (France);
Aperture Gallery (2017-2018); Touring in 2018 to Düsseldorf Photo Weekend; Month of Photography Los Angeles, Photo Basel (Switzerland), Deichtorhallen Hamburg Triennial of Photography (Germany), and Medium Festival (San Diego)
2017 Hope, Beirut Art Fair (Lebanon), Annalix Forever Genève Contemporary Art Gallery
2017 Bending the Frame, Gulf + Western Gallery, NYU Tisch School of the Arts (NY, NY)
2017 Something Fierce, Lannan Foundation Gallery (Santa Fe, NM)
2017 Aperture Summer Open: On Freedom, Aperture Gallery (NY, NY), curated by For Freedoms
2017 La Nuit de l’Année, les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles (France)
2017 Critical Mass Top 50, Artwork Network (Denver, CO)
2016 STUMP, Candela Books + Gallery (Richmond, VA)
2015 GuatePhoto International Festival de Fotografía (Guatemala)
2015 Encontros da Imagem XXV International Photo Festival (Portugal)
2015 21st Annual Juried Show, Peter Urban Legacy Exhibition, Griffin Museum of Photography (Winchester, MA)
2015 EXPOSURE, Photographic Resource Center (Boston, MA) (Juried exhibition)
2015 CAPTURED, Newspace Center for Photography (Portland, OR) (Juried exhibition)
2015 Conceal & Reveal, Belfast Photo Festival (Northern Ireland)
2014 NEXT:, Castell Gallery (Asheville, NC) (Juried exhibition)
2014 Photoville: 20 Emerging American Photographers, Leiden International Photo Festival (Netherlands)
1991 Student Show, Photographic Resource Center (Boston, MA)
Lianzhou Museum of Photography (China)
Duke University Archive of Documentary Arts, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Yossi Milo Collection
Joaquim Paiva Collection
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library (WCA book)
SF MoMA Research Library (WCA book)
Getty Research Institute (WCA book)
Cleveland Museum of Art (WCA book)
GoEun Museum of Photography Library (Busan, S. Korea) (WCA book)
2018 Fotofest Charles Jing Fellowship (Inaugural juried exhibition prize)
2018 International Center of Photography Infinity Award (Artist's Book), Nominee
2017 Harpo Foundation Visual Artist Grant
2017 Paris Photo-Aperture First PhotoBook Award, Shortlist
2017 Les Rencontres de la Photographie d'Arles Photo-Text Book Award, Shortlist
2017-2019 Center for Emerging Visual Artists Fellow
2017 Brown University Fitt Artist-in-Residence
2017 New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fiscal Sponsorship, Over There
2017 Arte Laguna Prize, Shortlist
2017 Magnum Foundation Fund Grant, Shortlist
2016 Punctum Award, Lianzhou Foto Festival (Juried prize)
2016 Baum Award for an Emerging American Photographer, Nominee
2016 Duke University Archive of Documentary Arts Collection Award for Women Documentarians
2016 Critical Mass Top 50
2016 Project & publication grants from the Vital Projects Fund at Proteus, Violet Jabara Charitable Trust, David
Rockefeller Fund, Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Puffin Foundation, and Pollination Project
2016 Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund Grant, Shortlist
2015 Gomma Photography Grant, Shortlist
2015 Speranza Foundation Lincoln City Fellowship
2015 New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fiscal Sponsorship, Welcome to Camp America
2015 Critical Mass Finalist
2015 Felix Schoeller Photo Award (Germany), Shortlist (Conceptual and Editorial categories)
2015 Grand Prix International de Photographie de Vevey (Switzerland) 2015/2016, Shortlist
2015 Phoenix Art Museum, INFOCUS Sidney Zuber Photography Award, Honorable Mention
2015 Athens Photo Festival, Shortlist
Academic Publications & Exhibition Catalogues:
Daniel Grinberg, "Some Restrictions Apply: The Exhibition Spaces of Guantánamo Bay," Cinema Journal (f. July, 2018).
Fotofest Biennial Catalogue (Fotofest & Schilt Publishing, 2018).
Diane Dufour, Bartolomé Stanson & Julie Hérault, eds. En Suspens (Exhibition catalogue) (Le BAL & Shelter Press, 2018).
Esther Whitfield, Ph.D., "Guantánamo and Community: Visual Approaches to the Base," in Guantánamo and American
Empire: The Humanities Respond, Don E. Walicek and Jessica Adams, eds. (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017).
Jean-Philippe Dedieu, "Guantánamo's Frames of War: A Dialogue with Debi Cornwall and Larry Siems," Humanity:
An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, Vol. 8/1 (Spring 2017).
Selected Additional Publications:
Connor Gordon, "Confronting Incarceration's Destructive Invisibility, Debi Cornwall & Amy Elkins, " Interview & Photo Essay,
Epistem Magazine at pp. 20-33 (The Prindle Institute for Ethics, DePauw University, February 2018).
Moritz Neumüller, "Extreme Exposures," Book review, European Photography Magazine, No. 102 at pp. 64-70 (2018).
Aperture Foundation, “The 2017 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards Shortlist: First PhotoBook,”
The Photobook Review at p. 11 (Issue 013/Fall 2017).
Drew Zeiba, “Debi Cornwall on Comfort and Captivity,” PIN-UP Magazine (Issue 23, Fall/Winter 2017/2018), at p. 252.
Izabela Radwanska Zhang, "Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Debi Cornwall's Book Uncovers the Bizarre World of Gitmo and Asks
How Just the US Justice System is When it Comes to the 'War on Terror,'" Book Review, British Journal of Photography at pp. 18-19 (November 2017; posted online 18 October 2017).
David O'Neill, "Artful Volumes: Bookforum Contributors on the Season's Outstanding Art Books," Book review,
Bookforum, Vol. 4, Issue 3 at p. 26 (Fall 2017).
Seock Hyunhye, Interview & Exhibition review, Sajinyesul Photographic Art Magazine (Korea) (August 2017).
Clémentine Mercier, “Coquillages et Cuirassés,” Exhibition review, Libération (France) (12 May 2017).
Samuel Schellenberg, "Bienvenu à Guantánamo," Exhibition review, Le Courrier (Switzerland) (21 April 2017).
Monika Domann, "Welche Farben hat Orange?” Exhibition review, WOZ Die Wochenzeitung (Switzerland)
(20 April 2017).
Caroline Stevan, "J'ai voulu montrer le fun de Guantánamo, selon les GIs," Interview & exhibition review, Le Temps
(Switzerland) (31 March 2017).
Anna Aznaour, "J’ai photographié d’ex-détenus de Guantánamo," Interview & exhibition review, Tribune de Genève
(Switzerland) (22 March 2017).
Nata Zhu, Interview, Photoworld Magazine (China) (January 2017).
Marie Odile Perulli, "L'Oeil de Guantánamo," Elle France (9 December 2016).
David Drake, “Fotofest 2016 Reviewer’s Choice,” Fotomagazin (Germany) (20 July 2016).
Elodie Cabrera, “Hors la Loi Américaine,” Polka Magazine (France) (October 2015).
Mark Feeney, “At the PRC, 13 Ways of Looking at the World,” Exhibition review, Boston Globe (25 June 2015).
"Picture Power: Gitmo at Home, Gitmo at Play," Photo essay, Newsweek Japan (3 December 2014).
"Contrast heerst op Guantánamo," Photo essay, de Morgen (Belgium) (16 October 2014).
"Guantánamo, Reframed," Photo essay, International N.Y. Times (14 October 2014).
Online & Radio:
Zack Hatfield, "Debi Cornwall's Welcome to Camp America," Exhibition review, The Guardian (25 February 2018).
Wilco Versteeg, "Roaming Without End: A group exhibition in Paris navigates documentary strategies in a directionless world."
(Exhibition review), Aperture Foundation Blog (21 February 2018).
"En Suspens," (Exhibition review), Expo in the City (2 February 2018).
Miss Rosen, "A Surreal Portrait of Life Inside Guantánamo Bay: Camp America," Huck Magazine (17 January 2018).
Mark Murrman, "Here are 10 of the Most Captivating Photo Books of the Year. Just Look." Mother Jones
(31 December 2017).
Teju Cole, "The Best Photo Books of 2017," New York Times Magazine (30 December 2017).
Tim Clark, "Top 10 Photobooks of 2017," 1000 Words Magazine (UK) (18 December 2017).
"Critically Acclaimed: 75 Experts Name the Top Photobooks of 2017," Lensculture (14 December 2017).
Stefan Wagner, "So Oder So ist Guantánamo," Interview & book review, Der Spiegel (15 December 2017).
Rebecca Norris-Webb, "Best Books of 2017," Photo-Eye Blog (13 December 2017).
Suzanne Révy & Elin Spring, "Our Favorite Books from 2017," What Will You Remember (5 December 2017).
Loring Knaubloch, “Debi Cornwall: Welcome to Camp America, Inside Guantánamo Bay @Steven Kasher,” Exhibition review,
Collector Daily (30 November 2017).
Ryan P. Smith, “The Ten Best Photography Books of 2017,” Book review, Smithsonian Magazine (28 November 2017).
Fernando Arias, “Guantánamos framtid,” Exhibition review, Sweden Radio P1 (13 November 2017).
Anna Hopkins, “Beyond Gitmo,” Interview, Daily Mail (U.K.) (12 November 2017).
Donny Bajohr, "These Photographs Capture the Complexities of Life at Guantánamo," Smithsonian Magazine (6 Nov. 2017).
“PDN Photo of the Day: Welcome to Camp America,” Photo District News (30 October 2017).
Sarah Cascone, "Editors' Picks, Debi Cornwall: Welcome to Camp America, Inside Guantánamo Bay at Steven Kasher Gallery,"
Artnet News (24 October 2017).
Mark Murrmann, "These Photos Plunge You Into the Inner Madness of Guantánamo," Book review, Mother Jones
(7 October 2017).
Forrest Soper, "Book of the Week," Book review, Photo-Eye Blog (25 September 2017).
Chuck Hinman, “RI Artscape: Welcome to Camp America, Inside Guantánamo Bay,” Radio interview & exhibition review,
Rhode Island Public Radio (28 September 2017).
Katherine Oktober Mathews, "Welcome to Camp America," Book review, GUP (12 September 2017).
Jim Casper, "Welcome to Camp America," Book review, Lensculture (12 September 2017).
Jordan G. Teicher, "In Guantánamo, Ensared in the War on Terror," Book review, New York Times Lens Blog
(11 September 2017).
Michael Abatemarco, "Empowerment through Art: 'Something Fierce,'" Exhibition review, Santa Fe New Mexican
(4 August 2017).
Bruno Debreuil, "Debi Cornwall, Stratégies Photographiques Face au Contrôle de l’Information à Guantánamo,"
Exhibition review, Viens Voir, OAI13 (26 April 2017).
Nassim Daghighian, “Debi Cornwall, Welcome to Camp America,” Exhibition & Book review (in French), Photo-Theoria 19 at
pp. 1-6 (Spring 2017).
“Diese Bilder lassen den Horror von Guantánamo erahnen,” Exhibition review, Radio SRF 2 (Switzerland) (31 March 2017).
Florence Grivel, “Arts Visuels: Welcome Guantánamo,” Radio Interview (in French), Radio Espace 2 (16 March 2017).
Jörg Bader, “Debi Cornwall, Welcome to Camp America,” L’Oeil de la Photographie (15 March 2017).
Laura Malonee, "Female Photographers Matter Now More than Ever," Wired Magazine (6 February 2017).
Melissa Lawford, "Consumerism Goes on Display at the Lianzhou Foto Festival," Exhibition review,
British Journal of Photography (6 December 2016).
Paige Goodpasture, "Stump: Photographers Use Their Lens to Make Us Look at Tough Issues," The Creative Habit,
Soundcloud (1 September 2016).
Veronica Sanchis, "The Legacy of Guantánamo," Photographic Museum of Humanity (18 May 2016).
Jeanette Moses, "12 Outstanding Documentary Photo Projects to See at Photoville," American Photo Magazine
(17 September 2015).
"The Best of Photoville, New York City's Largest Photo Exhibition," The Guardian (U.K.) (9 September 2015).
Mark Feeney, “The Jury is In: Tokyo Interiors at Griffin Museum,” Exhibition review, Boston Globe (17 July 2015).
Jenna Garrett, "Inside Gitmo's Surreal Recreation Spots, Tiki Bar and All," Wired Magazine (24 June 2015).
Elin Spring, "Testify!" Exhibition review, What Will You Remember (blog) (24 June 2015).
Lindsay Comstock, “The 10 Best Photography Exhibits of Summer 2015,” American Photo Magazine (22 June 2015).
Tom Seymour, "Gitmo on Sale," The British Journal of Photography (12 May 2015).
Romke Hoogwaerts, "Look: Souvenirs from the Guantánamo Bay Gift Shops," New York Times Magazine (1 May 2015).
Pete Brook, "Gitmo at Home, Gitmo at Play," Vantage (4 February 2015).
Ryan Wong, "Peeking into Guantanamo Through a Detainee's Art," Hyperallergic (21 January 2015).
Pauline Eiferman, "Gitmo at Home, Gitmo at Play: Q&A with Debi Cornwall, Roads & Kingdoms (23 October 2014).
Marco Werman, "The World," Interview, Public Radio International (PRI.org) (14 October 2014).
David Gonzalez, "Guantánamo's Surreal Prison Landscape," New York Times Lens Blog (14 October 2014).
Selected Artist’s Lectures, Panels & Teaching
Panelist, "ICP Lab: Blue Skies and Bad Dreams," ICP Museum, New York, NY (forthcoming 22 April 2018).
Aperture PhotoBook Spotlight talk with Lesley A. Martin and David Chickey, AIPAD, New York, NY (5 April 2018).
Creative Conversation with James Estrin, New York Times Lens editor, Fotofest Biennial (Houston, TX), 16 March 2018.
Conversation between Debi Cornwall, Aglaia Konrad, Paola Yakoub, and curator Diane Dufour on work in the group show,
En Suspens (In Between). Le BAL (Paris, France), 10 February 2018.
Artist’s Lecture & Discussion, Photography in the Age of Global Surveillance and Perpetual Wars, with Lewis Bush,
Columbia University Global Centers (Paris, France), 13 November 2017.
Symposium Panelist, What Does it Mean to Make Art at Guantánamo?, John Jay College, CUNY (New York, NY),
16 October 2017.
Panelist, Bending the Frame: Where do we go from here? Moderated by Fred Ritchin, NYU Tisch School of the Arts,
(New York, NY), 5 October 2017.
Panelist, "Photobooks: Protest and Resistance," Contemporary Artists' Book Conference, New York Art Book Fair,
MoMA PS1 (Queens, NY), 22 September 2017.
Symposium Panelist, Guantánamo Going Forward: What's Next for Current and Former Detainees?, Brown University
(Providence, RI), 15 September 2017.
Brown University Fitt Artist-in-Residence. Led classes and workshops about art, representation and social justice in the
Modern Culture & Media and Public Humanities Departments, (Providence, RI) 11-15 September 2017.
Artist’s Lecture & discussion with curator Sujong Song, BMW Photo Space of GoEun Museum (Busan, S. Korea), 30 June 2017.
Artist’s Lecture, School for Visual Arts (SVA) (New York, NY), 25 April 2017.
Presenter, “Welcome to Camp America: Toward a New Documentary Form,"
Open Engagement (Chicago, IL), 22 April 2017.
Panelist, "Guantánamo," with investigative poet Frank Smith, moderated by curator Barbara Polla (in French),
Centre de la Photographie Genève (Switzerland), 16 March 2017.
Panelist, Saying War, Building Peace, Palais des Nations, United Nations (Geneva, Switzerland), 14 March 2017.
Artist's Lecture, Reiss-Engelhorn Museums, ZEPHYR raum für fotographie (Mannheim, Germany), 24 May 2016.
Panelist, Securing Support for Your Long-Term Projects, with Mary Virginia Swanson and Jamey Stillings, Fotofest
(Houston, TX), 16 March 2016.
Panelist, Influencing Policy and Social Change through Photography, with Stephanie Sinclair and Brooke Singer, Photoville
(Brooklyn, NY), 12 September 2015.
Artist's Lecture, Doomed Gallery (London, UK) /Alternative Processes Collective, 7 April 2015.
Panelist, Art, Film and Guantánamo: a Special Freedom Flicks Event, with Molly Crabapple and Omar Farah,
Brooklyn Public Library, 14 January 2015.
2001-13 Neufeld Scheck & Brustin, LLP, Civil rights attorney (Partner 2006-13)
2000-01 Honorable Robert W. Sweet, U.S. District Court (S.D.N.Y.), Law Clerk
1995-97 Federal Defender Division/Legal Aid Society (S.D.N.Y.), Investigator/Trial Assistant
1994-95 Associated Press (Providence, RI), Photographer (Stringer)
Steven Kasher Gallery
515 West 26th St., New York, NY 10001