John Moses, MD is a primary care pediatrician and a documentary photographer based at Duke University. While he was an undergraduate student at Duke, Moses took a photography class from Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) faculty member Alex Harris. Before attending medical school, he spent a year photographing the conditions of migrant farmworkers in the Southeast. Over the last twenty years, Moses has worked on a number of projects at the intersection of documentary and medicine, and has used this material to teach at the undergraduate, medical student and medical residency levels. It seemed a natural progression to seek support from the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund to extend this work to medical residents through a mentorship with a documentarian during their final year.

In addition to maintaining a busy clinical practice, Dr. Moses teaches photography at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies. His undergraduate courses include Medicine and the Vision of Documentary Photography and Children and the Experience of Illness in which children with chronic illness are paired up with student mentors and taught how to use a camera as a means of expression. His photographs of adolescent parents in North Carolina were included in the book The Youngest Parents (Norton Press). He also contributed photographs to Big Doctoring in America: Profiles in Primary Care (UC Press), which presents oral histories of fifteen pioneering primary care clinicians. Dr. Moses also helps direct the Innovation Program, in which he mentors medical residents producing photographic documentary work. His current projects include a series of portraits of gun crime victims and a book that will showcase the photographs of children coping with illness.

Liisa Ogburn currently teaches documentary to physician residents through a program, “Documenting Medicine,” which she founded with Dr. John Moses at Duke University in 2011. She has taught documentary at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke for the last five years and was recognized in 2011 by the Dean for teaching excellence. Prior to Duke, she helped found “415,” a multimedia firm in San Francisco, and helped grow the company from 5 to 120 within the first two years. While at 415, she worked in a number of roles, with clients including the Library of Congress and the San Francisco Symphony. While there, she also began producing her first documentary work, using photography and audio. Liisa has lived and taught in Germany, Finland, Estonia, Costa Rica, England, Scotland and Japan, and currently lives in Raleigh, N.C. with her husband, Gregg Colvin, and three children. To view some of her documentary work, visit

“The teenagers I photographed taught me a lot, even as many of them struggled with serious challenges in their own lives. Having gone out to meet with them in their world, I came away with no neat formulations about teenage pregnancy but rather a richer, more accurate context in which to see them, and I hope, better understand their experience.” – John Moses, M.D.

“People learn using different modalities, and for some people the visual route opens the door to understanding. Even richer than teaching using documentary methods is the experience of the individual who prepares the materials, since documentary studies by their nature include rich human interactions. We learn when we take part, whether as the subject, the documentarian, or the viewer. This is a unusually meaningful project in which I'm very glad to participate." - Dr. Ross McKinney, Director of the Trent Center

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