2023 Speakers

Keynote Speakers

William Albert Allard

A major force at National Geographic magazine and in mainstream photography for 50 years, photographer and writer William Albert Allard is a pioneer of color photography and a master of portraiture who approaches his subjects with an open mind and a respectful interest that has earned him the trust of those he photographs.  Producing images with a painterly quality—nuanced detail, rich color palettes, and intricate composition— William Albert Allard is as much an artist as he is a photographer.  The son of a Swedish immigrant, Allard grew up in Minnesota, attended the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts and the University of Minnesota from which he graduated in 1964. In 1994 Allard received the Outstanding Achievement by an Alumni Award from the regents of the University of Minnesota.   

William Albert Allard has contributed to National Geographic Society magazine stories and books as a photographer and writer since 1964. Allard has published more then forty articles in the magazine. Allard also has been published in most major U.S. and European publications.  He has photographed in 30 countries.

 William Albert Allard is author of seven highly acclaimed books, including the award-winning Vanishing Breed, Photographs of the Cowboy and the West, nominated for The American Book Award,and of which the Associated Press said, “This is a classic.” Vanishing Breed received the Western Heritage Wrangler Outstanding Western Art Book Award for 1983 from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center.  It was the first time that award had been given to a photographer rather than a painter. His book, William Albert Allard: Five Decades, a retrospective and memoir explores his long career in both words and pictures.  His latest book, William Albert Allard—Paris—Eye of the Flaneur, is a 31-year retrospective of his love for the city of Paris. A former contributor to Magnum Photos, his prints appear in private and museum collections.  Among his worldwide exhibits, his one-man show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran, in 2002, was the first exhibit of an American artist in Iran since 1979.  Allard has had three exhibits at the annual Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan, France, as well as two evening projections there.    

He lives near Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife, Ani, and two dogs, Lizzy and Rosie.

Daniella Zalcman is a Vietnamese-American documentary photographer based in New Orleans, LA. She is a 2021 Catchlight Fellow, a multiple grantee of the National Geographic Society and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a fellow with the International Women’s Media Foundation, and the founder of Women Photograph, a nonprofit working to elevate the voices of women and nonbinary visual journalists.

Her work tends to focus on the legacies of western colonization, from the rise of homophobia in East Africa to the forced assimilation education of Indigenous children in North America. Her ongoing project, Signs of Your Identity, is the recipient of the Arnold Newman Prize, a Robert F Kennedy Journalism Award, the FotoEvidence Book Award, the Magnum Foundation’s Inge Morath Award, and part of Open Society Foundation’s Moving Walls 24. You can find her work in National Geographic Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, BuzzFeed, TIME, The New York Times, and elsewhere.

Daniella is a proud member of the Authority Collective and Diversify Photo, a co-founder of Indigenous Photograph, a co-founder and creative director of We, Women, and a co-author of the Photo Bill of Rights.

Daniella regularly lectures at high schools and universities, and was a visiting professor at Wake Forest University from 2018-2020 and the 2022 T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professor at the University of Montana. She is a member of the board of trustees of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, the board of directors of the ACOS Alliance, and the board of governors of the Overseas Press Club. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in architecture in 2009.

Julio Cortez

Julio Cortez is a Pulitzer Prize-winning staff photographer for The Associated Press covering Baltimore. A graduate of Cal State University, Northridge, and a native of Mexico City, Julio earned a Pulitzer Prize in 2021 with a photograph that anchored a ten-photographer team providing images from the riots following the death of George Floyd. He has contributed to national and international coverage of news and sporting events.

On the news side, he was part of a nine-photographer team who covered the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He led the coverage of Superstorm Sandy, and was among the first journalists to get into the ravaged barrier islands, delivering images of houses smashed onto the Mantoloking bridge and a partially submerged roller coaster that plunged into the ocean when its pier was destroyed in Seaside Heights. Other notable news contributions include being the only still photographer to capture images of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the leader of the International Monetary Fund, heading to jail when he was arrested on sex charges in New York. Cortez also helped with national coverage of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre and the post Boston Marathon bombing manhunt. The latter produced more than 70 front pages with images of a Boston Police officer swarmed by people celebrating the capture of the bombing suspect. Recently, he became an FAA licensed drone operator and his aerial coverage has ranged from feature photos to coverage on the U.S./Mexico border, allowing readers a chance to get a more comprehensive view of what is going in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

On the sports side, Cortez has contributed to coverage of four Olympic Games while covering marquee sports such as gymnastics and ice hockey. He has been covered four Super Bowls, and followed Team USA during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Amongst Cortez’s most memorable NFL football images is the Odell Beckham one-handed catch, which has been reprinted on billboards, ad campaigns and TV sports shows.

Cortez began his career as a reporting stringer for the LA Times and LA Daily News out of high school. He covered mostly high school and college sports for the Daily News while working his way through college. Also during college, Julio participated in photography internships ranging from Spanish publications in Dallas and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, a mid-size paper in West Texas and The Associated Press in Chicago.

Greg Heisler

It has been said that photographer and educator Gregory Heisler possesses “the eye of an artist, the mind of a scientist, and the heart of a journalist.” Renowned for his technical mastery and thoughtful responsiveness over a career spanning more than 45 years, his enthusiasm, curiosity, and drive are manifested in his hands-on approach to all aspects of the image making process.

Having photographed luminaries ranging from Bill Clinton to Bruce Springsteen, Gregory Heisler is perhaps best known for his more than 70 cover portraits for TIME magazine. His iconic portraits and innovative visual essays have graced the covers and pages of many other magazines, including LIFE, ESQUIRE, FORTUNE, GQ, GEO, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, ESPN, and THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE. He has also photographed major advertising and corporate campaigns for such clients as American Express, Dewar’s, Ford, Merrill Lynch, Nike, Pfizer, Reebok, and United Technologies.

Among the kudos he has received are the Alfred Eisenstadt Award and the Leica Medal of Excellence. Gregory has been profiled in AMERICAN PHOTO, COMMUNICATION ARTS, ESQUIRE, LIFE, and numerous industry periodicals.

As a sought-after speaker and educator, he has taught at scores of workshops and seminars throughout the country and overseas. He is currently focused on personal projects and mentoring graduate and undergraduate students as Distinguished Professor of Photography at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

His widely acclaimed book, Gregory Heisler: 50 Portraits, was released by Random
House/Amphoto in October 2013, and is now in its third printing.

Heisler comes to Northern Exposure courtesy of Canon.

Breakout Session Speakers

Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber are a husband-and-wife team based in Minneapolis. They enjoy the collaborative nature of being a tight-knit team and pushing each other to create images that sing. Their goal on every assignment is simple – evoke emotion and authenticity in every image they make. They believe you can’t forget what you feel so they try to make images that make you feel something.

They pride themselves on connecting with everyone they photograph, whether it’s a 10-year-old or a CEO. Their work has been honored many times by the Communication Arts Photography Annual and Advertising Annual and American Photography, plus PDN Photo Annual, CENTER Project Competition, Photolucida’s Critical Mass, Inge Morath Award, Magnum Expression Award, POYi, and many others. Their most recent documentary film won an Emmy and they were named a McKnight Fellow and one of PDN’s 30 Photographers to Watch.

Michael Davis

Mike Davis is a visual storytelling consultant, editor, educator and author. His first authored book, about visual storytelling, came out in 2022. Mike directed The Alexia Grants for eight years while holding a chaired faculty position at Syracuse University.

Before teaching, he was a visual leader at National Geographic, The White House and five visually strong U.S. newspapers. Mike was twice named picture editor of the year, as were several of those who worked for him. He has edited more than 40 photo books and hundreds of projects of note, taught and lectured in various settings. He hails from a small town in Nebraska and now lives in Minneapolis.

Elizabeth Flores has been a photojournalist at the Star Tribune for more than 17 years, where she covers sports and general news. Recently, she worked on a project for the 50th anniversary of Wounded Knee.

She is currently an adjunct instructor in photojournalism at the University of Minnesota’s Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she has also served multiple semesters as a diversity fellow.

A native of New Mexico, she came north to get her degree in Spanish with a minor in journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and never got around to leaving. She worked as a photojournalist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for eight years before joining the Star Tribune. She has three children and lives with her husband in suburban St. Paul.

Carlos Gonzalez is a veteran staff photographer at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. He has covered a wide range of assignments from local news, sports, features and international stories. He has covered the Olympics, Super Bowls and his work has been recognized with various honors including POYi, NPPA and National Headliner awards for his sports and news photography.

Gonzalez’s work was part of the Star Tribune’s Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the police killing of George Floyd and the fallout.

He was a 2022 fellow at the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, and he has taught multiple semesters as a diversity fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine, TIME, Sporting News and National Geographic, among many others. You can follow him on Twitter/Instagram @CarlosGphoto 

Currently a freelance photojournalist Minneapolis, Judy Griesedieck has been a staff photographer for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, the San Jose Mercury News and The Hartford Courant. While searching for her first job with a questionable portfolio that included a wide-angle photo of a goat and an action shot of a man flipping a pizza, she was told by one photo editor that she should “Go home, have a good cry and think about another profession.” Judy ignored that advice and soon got a job as a lab technician and then staff photographer at The Courant.

Her love of documentary projects led to a yearlong story on problems in California’s nursing home industry for the Mercury News and a four-year project  following a class at the University of Minn. medical school for the Star Tribune. Judy also spent a summer photographing the U Bee Squad as they cared for dozens of honeybee colonies. That story led to a part time job with the Bee Squad. She is now a beekeeper as well. She has also covered events such as the Calgary Olympics, the Democratic National Convention, several presidential campaigns, and three Super Bowls.

Jerry Holt is a photojournalist at the Star Tribune, where he covers daily news and sports, and along the way has photographed local, national and international events, including Nelson Mandela’s election as president of South Africa and stories about the AIDS epidemic in Uganda. His most recent projects include a series on juveniles in the justice system, and the birthplace of the blues in his native Mississippi.

After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi, he served in the U.S. Marine Corp. He went on to be a staff photographer at the Shreveport Times, the (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger, and the Memphis Commercial Appeal before moving to Minneapolis. In his spare time, Holt practices and teaches Okinawan traditional karate and Kobudo. He has also taught multiple semesters as a diversity fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He lives in suburban Minneapolis with his wife, and tries to keep track of his two adult daughters.

Throughout his 50-year career, Dave LaBelle has been a photographer, editor, teacher, author and lecturer. After beginning at the Ventura County (California) Star-Free Press as a weekend sports shooter and lab man while still in high school in 1969, LaBelle has worked for 20 newspapers and magazines in nine states, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he was assistant manager editor for photography. 

LaBelle’s love for feature photography and his ability to hunt out feature ideas has helped him win numerous awards. At age 19, he was NPPA Region 10 Photographer of the Year, an honor he repeated the next two years. He was runner-up to W. Eugene Smith for the first Nikon World Understanding award in 1974 and runner-up for the NPPA Photographer of the Year award in 1979. In 1991, NPPA honored LaBelle with the Robin F. Garland Award for photojournalism education. And in 2002, the Photographic Society of America Inc. honored LaBelle with the International Understanding Through Photography award.

LaBelle has also taught photojournalism at Western Kentucky University, the University of Kentucky and directed the photojournalism sequence at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio from 2010-2016. LaBelle also taught photojournalism for Kent State in Florence Italy in Spring of 2017. In 2018-19, he taught photography with The Athens Photo Project in Athens, Ohio, a non-profit art program that promotes mental health recovery. In addition, LaBelle writes a monthly column for Oregon-based Ruralite Magazine, contributes to Florida Currents Magazine, Ojai Magazine in California, and writes a monthly blog at bridgesandangels.wordpress.com. LaBelle’s latest book, and first novel based on the disappearance of his mother in the 1969 flood was published in March 2019. In May of 2022, David and his wife Erin began a job share as reporter/photographers at the Dyersville Commercial, a weekly newspaper in northeast Iowa. In his words, “My life’s mission is to use the gifts God has blessed me with to be a blessing on others in any way I can.”

Lynn Melling is an Emmy-award winning storyteller who helps organizations identify and amplify stories that drive awareness and build engagement with their target audiences. She and her husband, Ian Planchon, own and operate 515 Productions, a video production business based in Minneapolis. Together, they co-directed the award-winning Lake Superior documentary film Freshwater, and continue to work on video projects aimed at raising awareness about climate change in the cold north.

Melling was a TV news anchor/reporter for 15 years, before making the switch to a role as an account supervisor at a Minneapolis PR firm, and then a position as a corporate
communications manager. In 2021, she joined Planchon full time at 515 Productions, which he started in 2006. This trifecta of experience helps her connect dots across owned, earned, paid and social media to maximize the client experience and achieve business goals.

She and Planchon live in Golden Valley with their two kids. They love camping in the BWCA, skiing, and biking to the Trailhead at Wirth Park as much as humanly possible.

Deb Pastner is the Assistant Managing Editor for Photography at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, the largest media company in Minnesota. She has worked there 23 years, doing just about every job in the photo and video department. She recently spent a year at Harvard as a Class of 2022 Nieman Fellow.

During her tenure as director of photography, the photo and video team’s work has been recognized by POYi, Best of Photojournalism, SND, the Edward R. Murrow Awards, ONA, the World Press Awards and the Midwest Emmys.

Before coming to Minneapolis, Pastner was a photographer at newspapers in Massachusetts, Washington and Michigan. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and attended the Missouri School of Journalism. When she’s not in the newsroom, she likes to read, play tennis and occasionally pluck a banjo. 

Sara Quinn is a designer, journalist and educator who loves to tell visual stories. A senior fellow at the University of Minnesota, she’s a former president of the Society for News Design and a long-time faculty member at the Poynter Institute.

Her eyetracking research helps journalists and media professionals determine the best forms for storytelling. She consults with non-profits, news organizations and universities on creativity and storytelling.

Insta: @saradq

Nate Ryan works at the intersection of commercial and editorial photography – bringing elements of each to his work with regional and national brands, advertising agencies, and editorial clients.
He embraces both portrait and documentary lifestyle photography to capture real people– athletes, musicians, business leaders – doing what they do. He loves to learn about their processes and personal stories, which is why he is always asking questions, keeping the conversation flowing during a shoot. The insight he gains does more than satisfy personal curiosity — it allows him to infuse depth into an image, compelling viewers to take a closer look.

Nate has worked with commercial clients including, WeTransfer, Lululemon, Redwing Shoes, Minnesota Orchestra, Merrill Lynch, HAVAS, Olson Advertising, Preston Kelly, and editorial publications including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, MSP Magazine, EatingWell, and RollingStone.

Previously, Nate spent 10 years as the staff photographer at 89.3 The Current at Minnesota Public Radio, which gave him the opportunity to photograph and film some of the world’s most renowned musicians. With degrees in Geology and Studio Art from Carleton College, he has always embraced bringing divergent ideas together.

Mark Vancleave is a cinematographer and video journalist at the Star Tribune, specializing in documentary verite, breaking news and drone photography. He has produced work for national publications and broadcast programs including PBS FRONTLINE, The Wall Street Journal and Human Rights Watch.

His coverage of the killing of George Floyd and its aftermath was part of the Star Tribune’s work recognized by the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Reporting, the Howard Scripps Award for Breaking News and the Edward R. Murrow Award for Continuing Coverage.

Mark serves on the Board of Governors for the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and is a frequent instructor at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota’s Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Despite being a life-long Minneapolitan, Vancleave enjoys exploring Minnesota’s rural gems and escaping to our state’s natural wonders.