Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thank You, Media Ecology Association

Text (c) Robert Barry Francos
Images scanned from Media Ecology Association documents

In 1991, I entered the Media Ecology program at New York University, under the supervision of Dr. Neil Postman.

A month after joining, the Media Ecology Department had their (relatively) infamous departmental conference at Sacks Lodge, up near Saugerties, NY. I didn't know anyone, so I started taking pictures of every thing and person, including the lecturers. This made a few people angry (thanks to the flash, which was necessary due to the very dark wood in the speaker's hall). I jokingly (and sheepishly) said, perhaps I should be known as "He Who Blinds." However, I turned the pictures over to the department, and they were made into a poster.

The next year, I went back, and some faces read, "Oh, that guy again." But I also started to make some friends (many of whom I still have within the Media Ecology Association), and again, turned in the photos. After another year of this, Neil Postman started introducing me as the department's "official photographer." After that, I was gold.

I continued photographing for the NYU department from 1991 until 2004 (except for two years I missed due to illness and visitors staying with us; I earned my degree in January 1994). When the Media Ecology Association started and held it's first conference 12 years ago, the board (full of my above mentioned friends) asked me to continue taking photos, which I now have at 11 of 12 conferences (due to legal reasons, I could not attend last year).

This year, I was awarded the Christine L. Nystrom Award for Career Achievement in Service to the Field of Media Ecology. It's also the first award in this category ever issued. I am extremely touched and grateful. Below is the certificate I received, and the notice of all the winners this year. I am in amazing company, including one of my undergraduate professors from the late 1970s.

The images can be made larger by clicking on them.

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