Aubrey Dawne Edwards is—primarily—a portrait photographer, visual anthropologist, storyteller and educator with an Associate of Applied Science in Photography, a Bachelor of Journalism, and a Master of Science in Urban Studies and Applied Anthropology. Her present research interests include animals and visual culture, landscapes of historic labor organizing, and cultural placemaking.
Her editorial and commercial photography client list includes: BBC, Camel, Comedy Central, Esquire, Fender Guitars, HBO, Magnolia Pictures, Nike, Playboy, Red Bull, The United Nations, Time, Volcom and innumerable magazines and record labels. Her collaborators range from Spike Lee to the Smithsonian Institution. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and residencies and has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally.
As a storyteller, Aubrey has hosted and performed at numerous community-rooted storytelling events. She was a regular host with WWNO’s BYO nomadic storytelling series and with Antenna:Signals. She was the inaugural winner of New Orleans Moth Main Stage at the Joy Theatre, and was a featured storyteller at The Moth’s New York City Gala in 2016.
Aubrey is a youth advocate and a healing-centered / trauma-informed arts educator. She has worked with young people in an array of capacities for over 20 years. She creates spaces where young people can utilize visual storytelling to address issues of social justice, public space, environmental stewardship, and gender / sexuality. She loves using her background in collaborative anthropology to connect organizations, policy makers, artists and teachers in jointly amplifying youth voice. Most recently, she spearheaded youth programming in conjunction with the City of New Orleans, New Orleans Arts Council, New Orleans Recreation Department, New Orleans Public Libraries, and a myriad of New Orleans High Schools.
She was the artist in residence at Noxubee Wildlife Refuge, received the Jazz and Heritage community partnership grant for cultural documentation, co-released the six-book visual field guide series God’s Country, co-created a site-specific installation for the New Orleans Museum of Art, partnered with over 20 national public and zine libraries to archive the oral histories and portraits of her project STEWARDS, guest lectured at Mississippi State University, was the primary photo researcher and producer for the legendary Dr. John’s memorial slideshow, created an array of exhibition-based educational photo workshops for The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, shared her qualitative research of skateboarder-created public space and helped Parisite Skatepark win the Rudy Bruner Prize for Urban Excellence, and she began her collaboration with Fulbright fellow Arianna King on a community-driven visual archival project in Cape Coast, Ghana to be produced in January 2020.
I create images from the stories that people—and places—tell me.
Inspired by the natural world and intrigued by culture created in far off niches, I create visual records of people and their places. I produce multimedia, visual anthropological projects wherein I work alongside communities to collaboratively trace the roots, rituals and history of their culture. Utilizing varied research, oral histories, mapping, and archival imagery, I explore customs that are inextricably linked to place, and places whose history are the seedbed for culture. And, I also love to make pretty things.
You can often find her working in her garden, traveling in her van, sitting at her metalsmith bench, or rehabilitating wild birds.
Portrait by Elena Ricci