Hello & Welcome. I’m Crystal. I created this page to educate current and future collectors of my work about the artist behind the camera. Please feel free to hop into my Discord to connect directly and ask any questions about my artwork, process or future projects.
Latest Minted Project, Storytelling Traveler is Live on OpenSea!
My Very Abbreviated Bio
I began working as a professional photojournalist since 1996 when I landed my first professional job as a staff photographer at New River Newspapers in rural Virginia. I also ran the Radford University darkroom in 1995/96 and spent hours in those dark, chemical laden caves. I began working with an SLR camera when I was ten (because my father thought it was a fad and wanted a camera he could play with- I rarely let him touch my precious camera.)
I began freelancing for editorial outlets in 2000, dabbled in commercial and wedding work and returned to school in 2005 to study photojournalism. My time at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications shaped the documentary artist whose work you are exploring or already support. My mentors are Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalists and leaders in community journalism and media agenda setting theories. I won multiple professional national awards for my work and won multiple fellowships and grants to explore my areas of interest. Documenting the cultural preservation of post-conflict diaspora and domestic income inequality are my core areas of focus.
My journey after UNC took me to the commercial photography and video production industries as an independent photog/producer and my client list included Whole Foods Market (pre- Bezos), Nissan North America, Junior Achievement/World Bank Collab and a multitude of other national, regional and local clients. I loved my work, but the market collapsed after the Great Recession and the struggle to fund my documentary work was real and overwhelming. I became a digital nomad, traveled the world and worked from my laptop, focusing on content production, web building and comms consulting for my clients.
In 2021 I returned to my roots as an artist and documentarian. I currently mint my art as NFTs on multiple blockchains and am pursuing graduate studies in visual ethnography. I believe firmly in decentralization and the creator economy that is emerging from blockchain and I am forever grateful to have begun working on the technical side of this space in 2017.
Awards, Grants & Fellowships
- First in the nation at the College Photographers of the Year competition for still/audio production
- First in the North Carolina Press Photographers Assoc. professional category for still/audio production
- Honorable mention as assistant editor on group multimedia project for CPOY
- Best of Photography Honorable Mention for Best Multimedia package, as assistant editor
- Hearst Competition, 9th in the nation for photo essay on crime and poverty
- Class of 1938 Fellow for Tibetan Exile Documentary Project
- SURF Fellow for Tibetan Exile Documentary Project
- Multiple journalism grants for international projects
Exhibits & Collections
- 2001 Dare County Arts Council Solo Exhibit
- 2002 Commission for Private Collector in Corolla, N.C.
- 2007 Curator & Exhibitor in Photojournalism Collection at UNC
- 2008 Fine Art Commission for UNC Summer School
Partial Client List 2003-2017
- Whole Foods Market
- Nissan North America
- Oregon Public Broadcasting
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- News & Observer
- Outer Banks Press
- Special Olympics
- Junior Achievement/World Bank
- Pizza Hut/ Martin Agency
- And many more…
Past Documentary Projects
- Cultural Preservation of Tibetan Diaspora – Funded by Class of 1938 Fellowship
- Security Demographics of Nepal – Funded by SURF Fellowship
- Palestinian Diaspora – Funded by UNC Journalism Grant
Current Projects in Pre/Production
- The Good Bones – crowdfunding from NFT Collections, project runs until 2023/24
- Minerals & Macros – self funded
- Tibetan Diaspora – I will return to this project during my return to academia in the Fall of 2021
- Storytelling Traveler – Euro Collection of digital Holga images I created on assignments abroad for pure artistic pleasure.
- The Good Bones Project – Visual ethnographic project documenting the decaying Main Streets around America.
- After the Collapse – Images from the Security Demographics of Nepal project available on OpenSea
- Understanding Peace – Images from original Tibetan Diaspora project available on SignArt Platform on the Waves chain.
- The Low Country – Fine Art images from the Low Country of South Carolina