Writer and photographer Teju Cole will be honored by Maine Media Workshops. Photo by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Teju Cole, the former photography critic for the New York Times Magazine and the Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard, will visit Maine Media Workshops + College for a public lecture on Friday and to receive an award on Saturday.

Cole, who has written several books and maintains an active photography career, will receive the Joyce Tenneson Visionary Award from Maine Media Workshops in recognition of his contributions to the visual, media and literary arts. The Joyce Tenneson Visionary Award, named for the fine-art photographer, was first awarded in 2019. By invitation only, Saturday’s reception will be outside under the Thorne Pavilion on the workshops’ Rockport campus.

At 3 p.m. Friday, Cole will deliver a talk, “Words for Pictures: Recent Projects.” People can attend via simulcast; to participate via Zoom, register at mainemedia.edu/events/visionaryaward. Cole will discuss his work of the past five years and talk about how he balances his vocation as a photography critic with his work as a writer and a photographer.

“Maine Media seeks to inspire storytellers – in film, book arts, photography, or writing,” Tenneson said in a press release. “I cannot think of another person who embodies expertise in all these disciplines more completely than Teju Cole. He is truly a Renaissance man.”

Michael Mansfield, Maine Media’s president, said Cole’s art has influenced conversations on campus for several years, “and his achievements in photography and literature continue to shape visual thinking across most contemporary modes of image making. I’m eager to introduce him to the community here, and to have him on campus. It’s an exciting moment.”

Cole was selected by a jury of Maine Media staff, board members and members of the community.

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