by Doug Knutson
Center for Faith and Life
February 3 - March 24, 2006
A Nobel Peace Prize Forum exhibit
This exhibit of works by Minneapolis-based photographer Doug Knutson (LC '84) presents 24 large-scale black and white portraits. Pictured are 12 Nobel Laureates: Oscar Arias Sanchez, the Dalai Lama, José Ramos-Horta, Joseph Rotblad, David Trimble, Desmond Tutu, Lech Walesa, Elie Wiesel, Jody Williams, Betty Williams, Francisco Caliargo and Morton Rostrup; as well as 12 speakers from past Nobel Peace Prize Forums: R.F. “Pik” Botha, Nien Cheng, Walter Mondale, Frances Moore Lappé, George Moose, Franklin Sonn, Naomi Tutu, Terry Waite, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Mary Robinson, Jan Egeland and Tom Vraalsen. A native of the Minneapolis area, Knutson holds the bachelor of arts degree from Luther College and has also studied with documentary photographer Mary Ellen Mark and portrait photographer Arnold Newman. Since 1986 Knutson has been a professional photographer working out of Minneapolis, specializing in the photographic illustration of people for articles, ads, and annuals. Additional information on Knutson and his work can be found on his website.
"Several chance experiences opened photography up for me. The first was in 10th grade when I took Beginning Photography. Another was when I arrived as a freshman at Luther. I needed a job and responded to a posting for a position with Luther's Photo Bureau. During my junior year I began to think about a career in photography. At the time I thought there were three kinds of photographers; the wedding/senior portrait photographer, a commercial photographer shooting product shots in a dark studio, and a newspaper photographer. I wanted to be a newspaper photographer. As graduation approached, I applied for several newspaper internships and discovered that the competition was stiff, the pay was low and my philosophy degree did not impress potential employers. After graduation I began working as a photo assistant for food photographer Harland Nasvik (LC ‘31). I learned that I did not have the patience to spend hours on the detail of making each corn kernel or Cheerio look just right. One day I received a call from James Schnepf. Schnepf was in town, from Milwaukee, to photograph a cover assignment for Money magazine and needed an assistant. After several years of working with Schnepf when he came to Minneapolis, he asked me 'when are you going to New York to show your portfolio?'
For several years I went to New York City, made the rounds to the magazines, and started getting assignments from Business Week and others. Over the years I have worked for Forbes, Fortune, Money, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Time, Adweek, Information Week, USA Weekend and others. Since then my work has expanded to include people photography for annual reports and advertising. My work has taken me to most of the lower 48 states and Europe and Asia. I photographed many of Luther's distinguished lecturers while a student on the Photo Bureau. After graduation, I returned to Luther to take snaps of some of their speakers. In 1991, I was able to photograph portraits of the Peace Prize Forum speakers at Luther. Later I was able to photograph the Nobel Peace Prize Forum speakers at all five of the host colleges. Since that time I have also become associated with the Westminster Town Hall Forum in Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute's Carlson Lecture series. While at Luther I would often spend time in the library looking at photo books by world-renowned photographers Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman and Gordon Parks. The portraits in those books inspired me with their lighting and composition and the accomplishments of the subjects. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to photograph the same kinds of people and in some instances the same people. I use a combination of lighting, composition and expression tell the story and give insight to the subject. Hopefully those viewing the photos will experience some insight into the personality of these incredible people."