Chris Verene

Associate Professor of Photography

Guggenheim Fellow in Photography 2021-2022

Chris Verene earned his M.F.A. in Photography from Georgia State University in 1996.  Prior to coming to CSI, Verene directed the photography program at SUNY Westchester Community College and was on faculty at the Photography, Video and Related Media MFA program at the School of Visual Arts. Verene has been called a natural storyteller, focusing on the whole intimate truth of human narratives. In 1986, at age sixteen, Chris Verene began photographing his family's hometown of Galesburg, Illinois, and has since documented the lives of its people through a factual yet sympathetic lens for thirty years in a project called, "Family." Twin Palms Publishers have released two major books of the "Family" photographs, in 2000 and in 2010. In 2009, Verene began video recording the same characters.  Of these videos, called "Home Movies," the New York Times wrote, “Made with low-budget cameras, it’s a riveting, sad and sometimes comical series of short, documentary portraits of poor, white working-class people getting by…”  Today, Verene’s documentary photographs are represented in many major museum collections including The Whitney, The Met, The Jewish Museum, The Walker Art Center, The LA MOCA, The SF MoMA.  Though "Home Movies" is unreleased, seven short films that form the foundation of this project were screened in gallery and museum settings in 2015, and are now in the permanent collection of The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.  Verene has been profiled in major publications such as Vanity Fair, Vogue L'Hommes, Huffington Post, The New Yorker, Art In America, Art Forum, and The New York Times.  Verene is also an accomplished musician, recording or touring with artists such as The Rock*A*Teens, The Indigo Girls, and Ani Cordero.  Verene also works under the pseudonym Cheri Nevers, a performative alter-ego who takes glamorous photographs of ordinary people as part of a “Self-Esteem Salon.” Verene created the persona, which involves dressing in drag, with the intention of making people look fantastic, feel beautiful and empowered.


M.F.A. Studio Art and Photography, Georgia State University

B.A. Philosophy and Film Studies, Emory University

Scholarship and Publications


The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Whitney Museum of American Art 

The Museum of Contemporary Art

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

The Walker Art Center

The Jewish Museum, New York

The Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation

The Museum of Contemporary Photography

The High Museum of Art

The Birmingham Museum of Art

Cheekwood Museum

Nashville Hartsfield International Airport

Georgia Museum of Art

The Margulies Collection, Miami

Zabdulowicz Collection, London

The Indianapolis Museum of Art

Fellowship Recipient: The New York State Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for Photography, New York, NY
Nominee: The Henri Cartier Bresson Award for Documentary Photography Nominated by Karen Irvine, Curator and Associate Director, The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College, Chicago, IL
Pollock-Krasner Award: Full Support. Among first artists ever to receive this for the medium of photography. The Pollock Krasner Foundation, New York, NY


2010     “Family,” Twin Palms Publishers, New Mexico
2001     “Chris Verene / Camera Club,” Reflex Modern Art, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2000     “Chris Verene,” Twin Palms Publishers, New Mexico

The professor is holding a camera, and looking up

Contact Information

Office: Building 1P Room 108-A
Office Hours

Fridays 2:15-3:15
Thursday afternoons, by appointment