Photojournalist explores V.I. identity in exhibit

“All Ah We: A U.S. Virgin Islands Community Portrait Project,” san exhibit of photographs by young photojournalist Michael Nissman, opens today at the Reichhold Center for the Arts, with a free reception beginning at 6 p.m. The exhibition will be one part of the V.I. Humanities Council’s “We the People: Building Community, Celebrating Diversity Conference on Bridging Cultures,” May 7 and 8 on St. Thomas.

Nissman has sought to record the unique diversity of the U.S. Virgin Islands by producing a one-of-a-kind portrait collection of the people of this historical territory. From the most well-known to the least, this photo collection of portraits seeks to find a cross-section of Virgin Islanders, including people of all walks of life, backgrounds, skill sets, ages, origin and history. The portrait series seeks to put a face to the question of “Who is a Virgin Islander?” Is it someone born here? Is it someone who has chosen to live here? Is it a people bound by common language, culture, and ideals? The portraits are accompanied by a statement from the subject on what in his/her view means to be a Virgin Islander. This portrait series will be featured as an exhibit in the VIHC sponsored forum “Building Community, Celebrating Diversity” in May 2010. In addition to the May exhibit in St. Thomas, showings will be scheduled later in the year on both St. Croix and St. Thomas/St. John. In addition to the photo exhibits, each of which will feature approximately 40 portraits, Dr. Robin Sterns plans to make a companion book of as many as 600 photos and statements Nissman will gather from across the territory.
Award-winning photojournalist Michael Nissman started his journalism career at age 16 while working for his hometown newspaper in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since then he has been a contract photographer for numerous publications including Sports Illustrated. He’s the recipient of more than a dozen state, regional and national awards including a team-recipient of the Pacemaker Award, the highest honor in college journalism. His work has appeared in two exhibits in the U.S. including photographs he produced in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Nissman is currently a reporter/anchor with TV2, a CBS affiliate in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 2009, at the age of 23, Nissman produced his first documentary, Hurricane Hugo: The Longest Night. He is also the producer/creator of 2 The Max (post-production), a new sports show, profiling Virgin Islands athletes.

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