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Daniel Coburn Joins Department of Design

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

This fall Daniel Coburn will join the Department of Design as an assistant professor. He will teach photo media classes.

Coburn received an MFA With Distinction from the University of New Mexico last year, and moved to Lawrence after a brief stint in Phoenix. Prior to pursing graduate studies he spent a decade working professionally as a graphic designer.

His research and body of work centers on vernacular photography. Most recently it has been inspired by studies of the traditional family photo album.

“The family photo album in particular is a construct that provides a glossy façade; an overidealized American, domestic utopia.  The things that you see in family albums are clichés, exactly what you expect to see. I think there are issues that are never approached, the darker side of family life.” Coburn said.

I looked at my own family album and one of my very first projects was to make a supplement to that album.”

For a different project Coburn digitally scanned antique photographs he found, then reconverted them to traditional photographs using an early graphic process called salt printing. He painted and drew graphics directly onto these prints.

“A lot of my work is directly interacting with vernacular photographs, searching for, finding, and drawing on them, or manipulating them in a way that punctures that illusion of the ideal American family,” he added.

"We are thrilled that Daniel is joining the department. His research and dedication propelled ahead of many of the job candidates. I look forward to what he does next, the support he will bring the teaching in photo media, and the passion he will bring to the classroom."

Coburn’s body of work has been exhibited internationally, and his prints are held in many public and private collections. These include several museums in the region, including the Mulvane Museum of Art in Topeka, the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art in Manhattan, and the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in St. Joseph, Mo.  

Coburn grew up in southern California, and moved to Topeka as a teenager. He earned his BFA with an emphasis on photography from Washburn University.