Debi Cornwall


I have a longstanding interest in conflict and abuses of power. In college while living in a Zulu township I volunteered as a peace monitor during the run-up to South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994. In law school in 1993, I volunteered with the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation under a state of emergency in Jakarta, spearheading a campaign for the return of missing prodemocracy activists. After attending Harvard Law School I practiced as a civil rights lawyer for 12 years, primarily representing wrongly convicted DNA exonerees who had been in civil suits seeking to identify, expose and change systemic misconduct among law enforcement across the United States. In 2014 I returned to photography full time with a long-term project on the legacy of Guantánamo Bay in the post-September 11 era.

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