Joel DeGrand - Career Narrative

I have been a professional and fine art photographer for more than 40 years, living in the Chicago area for the past 21 years. I have received numerous awards during my career for advertising and fine arts photography. My work has been acquired by museums, corporations, and private collectors in the United States and abroad.

I earned a Bachelor’s degree in art education from Indiana University at Pennsylvania in 1968 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Oregon in 1973. My professional development was greatly enhanced by studying with notable photographers Minor White and Brett Weston.

In 1975, I helped establish the photography department at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, one of the oldest independent media arts centers in the country. From 1975 until 1987, I served as department head and academic coordinator. My book, “The Silver/Non-Silver Lab Manual,” was used in photography classes.

In 1980 I was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to photograph Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This project expanded into a 10-year photo documentary of Pittsburgh’s evolution from an industrial center into an economically diverse city. This work earned a Board of Governors Purchase Award at The Philadelphia Print Club's 58th Annual International Exhibition in 1982. During my time in Pittsburgh, I was presented with the Jurors’ Award at the 74th annual Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art. In 1984, I published, "The Pittsburgh Portfolio I,” an edition of 30 photographs from the project.

Throughout my career, I’ve enjoyed sharing my love of photography and the arts with high school and college students. I was a high school art teacher for three years and taught photography for one year at the University of Southern Illinois. For the past 20 years, I’ve been an adjunct professor at Columbia College, a diverse private arts and media college located in downtown Chicago. I also taught photography, art appreciation, and design at Moraine Community College as an adjunct professor.

In January 2008, I taught a photographic workshop for American and Chinese students at Renmin University in Beijing. This turned out to be a pivotal experience that shaped a photographic project about uniforms. I recently published a book titled “Uniforms, Outfits & Accessories. The Northern Indiana Arts Association presented me with a juried award in 2004. In 2005 and 2007 and I received a juried award from a regional invitational at The Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City, IN.

Since 2008 I have self-published 17 books of my fine art photography created over the course of my career. My photography has been featured in numerous one-person shows, group exhibitions, workshops and publications in the United States, and China. 

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