Photographer Nina Berman discusses An Autobiography of Miss Wish, a project 25 years in the making that tells the story of a sex trafficking and child pornography survivor through multiple narrative elements, including the protagonist’s vast personal archive.
This program is part of the series Reimagining the Image, which examines film, photography, and new media from the artist’s perspective.
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Nina Berman is a documentary photographer, filmmaker, author, and educator whose wide-ranging work looks at American politics, militarism, post-violence trauma, and resistance. Her photography and videos have been exhibited at more than 100 venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art 2010 Biennial. Grants, awards, and fellowships include: New York Foundation for the Arts, Open Society Foundation, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, and World Press Photo Foundation. She is the author of Purple Hearts–Back from Iraq, Homeland and, most recently, An autobiography of Miss Wish. Berman is a member of the NOOR photography and film collective and is an associate professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where she directs the photography program.
About An Autobiography of Miss Wish
An Autobiography of Miss Wish is a story of a survivor of sex trafficking and child pornography and her struggle to survive and find physical and emotional safety, to assert herself as an artist and narrator, and to craft a life while living in a state of flashbacks, trauma, and addiction.
Photographed over twenty-five years in London and New York City, the story is told through multiple narrative elements including the protagonist’s vast personal archive, which was safeguarded by the photographer who assumed the role of friend and advocate.
The resulting book weaves together this archive of extraordinary drawings depicting memories of crime scenes and abuse, along with medical reports, diary entries, identity paper, ephemera, and letters to the photographer.
An Autobiography of Miss Wish, is also a tale about two lives intertwined and the healing potential of collaborative documentary.