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Colleagues & Friends: Mary Engel

  • Emigrant Fine Art and Finance 6 E 43rd St New York, NY United States (map)
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Mary Engel, Founder & President of the American Photography Archives Group (APAG) is joined by Ann Rothstein Segan, Research Associate for the Living New Deal (LND), and Melissa Stevens, Director of the Shaw Family Archives, for a conversation on what it means to inherit a photographers estate. These three heirs will discuss how they market their archives and keep the work in the public eye.

$5 Members | $15 Non-Members

About Mary Engel
Mary Engel is an award-winning filmmaker, the director of the Orkin/Engel Film and Photo Archive, and the founder and president of the American Photography Archives Group, APAG. She is the author of: The Photo Archive Handbook: what you need to know.

Engel has been the director of the Ruth Orkin Photo Archive since its inception in 1985.  She included her father Morris Engel’s archive in 2005 and is now known as the Orkin/Engel Film and Photography Archive. Engel is responsible for all aspects of running the archives including sales, licensing, marketing, legal issues, working with galleries, museums and auction houses throughout the United States and abroad. She has published four catalogs of photography.

Engel’s first film “Ruth Orkin: Frames of Life” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1996 and went on to screen at many other festivals. The film was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as one of the “Outstanding Documentaries of 1996.” Her film “Morris Engel: The Independent” premiered on Turner Classic Movies in 2009. Engel is a contributing producer on the feature length documentary, “Ordinary Miracles: The Photo League’s New York” 2011.

She has been published in The New York Times, the American Society of Media Photographers magazine, Photo District News and Film Comment. She has lectured at Harvard University, New York University, Brooklyn Historical Society, St. Louis Art Museum, Central Park Conservancy, and has appeared at the Avon Theater, (Stamford, CT), Loews Jersey (Jersey City, NJ) Film Forum (New York, NY) and the Egyptian Theater (Park City, Utah).

About Melissa Stevens
Melissa Stevens has been the Director of Shaw Family Archives since 2008. The family-owned company was founded in 2002 to preserve and promote the artistic legacies of Stevens’ grandfather, photographer and filmmaker Sam Shaw, and her uncle, photographer Larry Shaw.

 As Director, Stevens is responsible for the daily conservation and cataloguing of hundreds of thousands of photographic items stored in the collection’s archive. Every year, Stevens produces solo and group exhibitions of photographs from the collection in partnership with museums, galleries, film festivals and cultural institutions. Shaw images have been widely shown internationally, including in Italy, France, The Netherlands, Japan, The United States, Denmark, Belgium, The United Kingdom, Portugal, Germany and Spain.

 Stevens’ essays have appeared in The Who, The What and The When: 65 Artists Illustrate the Secret Sidekicks of History and Reporters Without Borders: 100 Photos by Sam Shaw for Press Freedom. She also edited Sam Shaw’s first monograph, which was then developed into the largest and longest running exhibition tour of Sam Shaw’s photography. The exhibition has traveled to eight museums in Europe, with two more venues scheduled for this coming year.

 Shaw Family Archives has an extensive licensing program, including editorial and commercial licenses and a network of worldwide representatives and partners that Stevens manages. She is responsible for various co-branding initiatives and celebrity partnerships.

 Stevens speaks regularly at museums and cultural institutions about the joys and challenges of maintaining her family’s art collection and legacy. She is currently working on a documentary film about her grandfather Sam Shaw, pulling from her own background in film production.

 Before managing the Shaw archive, Stevens lived in Italy where she worked on feature film, music video, documentary and television productions at the famous Cinecittà film studios, the same studio where her grandfather photographed Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the film Cleopatra. Stevens' production credits include Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic, Exorcist: The Beginning, HBO’s Rome and The Sopranos. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University.

About Ann Rothstein Segan
Ann has an undergraduate degree in Visual Arts with a concentration in Photography. Her interdisciplinary Ph.D. is in the field of Expressive Arts for Healing and Social Change. Her specialization is the use of narrative for therapeutic purposes. Dr. Segan’s doctoral dissertation focused on the value of visual storytelling in oral history projects. Ann’s oral history work was celebrated at the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.

 Dr. Segan and her husband, Brodie Hefner, manage the Arthur Rothstein Legacy Project (, which exists to educate the public on the life and career of Ann’s father, Arthur Rothstein (1915-1985), one of America’s premier photojournalists of the twentieth century. During a 50-year career, Rothstein created an indelible visual record of life in the United States and opened windows to the world for the American people during the golden era of magazine photography. Ann offers entertaining lectures about her father’s life and career and she develops educational programming to support exhibitions she and Brodie create.

Dr. Segan is a charter member of American Photography Archive Group (APAG) and a Research Associate for the Living New Deal (LND), which documents, preserves and commemorates FDR’s New Deal agenda.