Michael Peres is this year’s recipient of the Gitner Family Prize for Outstanding Professional Achievement in Graphic Communications at Rochester Institute of Technology. The award is presented annually to a faculty member in RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences who makes outstanding contributions to his or her profession.
Peres, a professor in RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, is the award’s seventh recipient. He was honored for his role as editor in chief of the completely revised Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, Fourth Edition, published in 2007 by Focal Press, Boston. Peres was the co-recipient of the Gitner Family Prize in 2003 for his work on the Images from Science international photography exhibition.
“The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography has always been an essential book for the library of the serious photographer—amateur or professional alike,” says Robin Williams, a professor of photography at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia. “This new edition surpasses all others with excellent photographs from the George Eastman House collection, entirely new sections on digital photography and updated comprehensive coverage of all aspects of photographic practice. The content written by over 100 of the world’s experts makes this the most comprehensive source of authoritative information on contemporary photography to be found anywhere. Highly commended.”
Work on a significant publication is among a half dozen potential contributions recognized for eligibility to the Gitner Family Prize. Eligible disciplines include photography, film and animation, design, printing and illustration. Other professional highlights may include artistic achievement at a national or international level, pro bono contribution of outstanding work to a community organization, significant technical or scientific achievement, paradigm shifting commercial work that advances their field, or service to a professional organization at a national or international level.
In addition, a faculty member must have earned above average teaching evaluations during the most recent review period and be nominated by another faculty or staff member. The Gitner Family Prize was created in 2000 through a donation by Gerald and Deanne Gitner.
Peres has been a member of the RIT faculty for more than 22 years. He teaches courses in biological photography, medical photography, photomicrography and a variety of other subjects. Peres also serves as chair of biomedical photographic communications, a position he has held since 1989, where he directs the nation’s only baccalaureate degree program in this unique area of specialization. Peres is also a co-coordinator of the RIT Big Shot photography project and the recipient of the 2007 BioCommunications Association’s Louis Schmidt Award and the 2003 RIT Eisenhart Award for outstanding teaching.
“Michael’s commitment to the advancement of scientific photography and its related industry as well as his contributions to our academic programs are remarkable,” says Joan Stone, dean of RIT’s College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. “He is widely respected by our faculty, students and his professional peers and is very deserving of this honor for a second time.”
A native of Utica, N.Y., Peres and his wife, Laurie, and children Jonathan and Leah reside in Brighton, N.Y.