Elise Kirk

School of Architecture & Design - Design
Assistant Professor, Photography
Primary office:
Chalmers Hall, 205A
University of Kansas
1465 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS 66045
Second office:


Elise Kirk is a photographic artist, visual storyteller and Assistant Professor of Photo Media. She completed her MFA in photography at Rhode Island School of Design ('15), investigated representations of the family in Spanish cinema on a Fulbright grant in Madrid ('01), and studied documentary film at Columbia College Chicago (BA '00). Her current research explores regional identity, mythologies of place and liminal states in her native Midwest, with her photographic work exhibiting nationally including at ClampArt in New York, the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle, and in numerous on-line and print publications. In 2016 her work was selected by NY Times staff photographer and Lens Blog editor James Estrin for the Photography Now exhibition at the Center for Photography at Woodstock. In addition to still imagery, Elise holds a 15-year career in nonfiction and documentary television as a producer and writer on programs for National Geographic, Discovery and Viceland.


MFA, Photography, Rhode Island School of Design
BA, Film and Video, Documentary Concentration, Columbia College Chicago

Teaching Interests

  • Moving image
  • View camera
  • Photo foundations
  • Seminar
  • Portfolio and thesis
  • Professional practices

Research Interests

  • Mythologies of place
  • The Midwest
  • Signifying landscapes
  • Regional identity
  • Liminal states
  • Familial relations (inherited & constructed)
  • The impermanence of all of the above

Selected Awards & Honors

Lighton International Artist Exchange Program Award
Lighton International
Fulbright Grant for Cinema Studies Research, Madrid, Spain
U.S. Department of State
2000 - 2001