Dinh Q. Lê at Elizabeth Leach Gallery

Dinh Q. Lê opens a solo exhibit on May 7, 2009, at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland, Oregon. The reception will held the same day from 6 to 9 pm. The show, titled Signs and Signals From the Periphery, will be up until May 30. Dinh participated in Light Work’s artist-in-residence program in 2000.

Elizabeth Leach Gallery
417 N.W. 9th Ave
Portland, OR

Kerry Skarbakka on The Today Show

Kerry Skarbakka - Studio, 2002

Kerry Skarbakka - Studio, 2002

Kerry Skarbakka, who was a Light Work Artist-in-Residence in July 2006, appeared on NBC’s Today Show on April 21, 2009.  He sat down with Matt Lauer to discuss how he makes the images in his series The Struggle to Right Oneself, which depict Skarbakka tripping or falling. Follow the links below to see a video of his interview, or the slideshow of his work compiled by NBC.

Interview Video
Interview Slideshow
Kerry Skarbakka’s website

Migdalia Valdes at Intersection

Former Light Work Artist-in-Residence (2005) Migdalia Valdes celebrates a decade of her daily photographic project with the exhibition Every Day in Black in White at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco. Valdez has made at least one photograph a day for the past ten years. The exhibition features prints from this diaristic practice and also elaborate journals made by Valdez in conjunction with the photographs. Visitors to the show can leaf through the journals for an intimate look at the artist’s creative process. The exhibit runs from April 4 to May 23, 2009.
Intersection for the Arts
446 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Change in Digital Technology Brings End for Color Processor

Like many institutions, Light Work has been debating the next steps for our darkrooms and digital labs. As a creative space for artists working in photography and related media, we have always listened to the need of our artists. We have made our best decisions by paying close attention to the ever changing needs of the photographers working in our public access facilities. Back in the early Eighties, Light Work decided to set up its first computer lab (with Amiga computers), when artists started coming to our Artist-in-Residence Program with projects that they were hand-programming into computers. Then, it was the artists, who showed us what all could be done with this emerging technology. By now much has changed. Gone are the days when computer art was a fringe art— raw and experimental. But we are also past the second wave of artists, who would come to us full of questions on how to get started with their first digital prints. Now we work mostly with artists who may or may not still be shooting with film, but all of whom want to print digitally. Some of them are still printing edition prints on Lambda printers using the color process, but almost none still hand-print color prints. In fact, the last pool of over 250 applications for the Light Work AIR Program not a single photographer requested to work on the color printer. So clearly it is time to rethink.

In the past we were decided to hold on to the color processor as long as possible. Enter “photography artist residency” and “color processor” in just about any search engine, and the search results lead directly to Light Work’s AIR program. But those days are coming to an end. Based on input by many different artists and the changing trend in artists needs, we have decided that the time is drawing near to say good-bye to our color processor. We have seen stunning prints roll off our Hope processor, and the technology served us well for decades. But the future clearly lies with the digital processes. Light Work’s digital lab, under the knowledgeable leadership of Digital Lab Manager John Mannion, is bursting at the seams in its section of Community Darkrooms. Meanwhile the color processor is only infrequently in use and most individual color darkrooms are collecting dust.

For those of you still printing black-and-white, rest assure that we will keep those wet labs going. The artist interest for black-and-white has held steady. For those of you working in digital or wanting to work in digital, keep an eye on our programs. We plan to expand workstation environments with Imacon film scanners, top-of-the-line computers, and viewing stations to our facilities. Printing exhibition-ready digital prints with Community Darkrooms will be easier than ever once we have reworked our space. Are we sad about the impending loss of our processor? A little. But the future for artists is brighter than ever. We keep seeing work like the photographs by Ben Gest that reinvent what is now possible through digital processes.

A few years ago, Christopher Secor curated the exhibition Digital Transitions from photographs in the Light Work Collection. The exhibition examined the changes in digital photography by looking at the work completed by Light Work’s Artists-in-Residence between 1990 and 2005. Secor describes, “The exhibition provides an enticing glimpse at digital photography’s young history as we look at these works and consider the digital transition taking place, with new technologies redefining what photography may become in the near and distant future.” As more and more artist work spaces are having to make similar decisions as Light Work has, we are already standing firmly in tthis time of change. We are ready, and we are looking forward to what is ahead.

(images: (left) Terry Gips, In the Forest, 1990,  (right) Ben Gest, Jessica and her Jewelry, 2005)

Techno_Culture at the Redhouse Arts Center

Sean Hovendick curated the refreshing exhibition Techno_Culture that just opened at the Redhouse Arts Center on April 16. The exhibition includes innovative work by artists Stephen Belovarich, Wafaa Bilal, Meggan Gould, Michael Heroux, Shawn Lawson, Olivia Robinson, Alicia Ross and Chris Prior. Syracuse does not have an abundance of exhibition spaces, so it is great when the existing galleries shine with exemplary exhibitions that are truly contemporary. In late May, the exhibition will be traveling to the Dowd Gallery at SUNY Cortland in an expanded version featuring additional artists.

We’ve known Sean for many years. He has taught at Light Work’s Community Darkrooms and recently redesigned our website. Somehow Sean finds the time to teach full-time at Syracuse University, make new work and curate exhibitions. We were pleasantly surprised that this exhibition includes Meggan Gould, who is scheduled to participate in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program this summer.

(image: Shawn Lawson, Surface Traversal, 2007)

Congratulations to Guggenheim Recipients

Suzanne Opton and Osamu James Nakagawa each received the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship Award. Suzanne received the award for her photographic series Soldier and Citizens. The work takes a closer look at the human side of the Iraq War. She started by photographing US soldiers at Fort Drum in Watertown, NY. She has since then traveled to Jordan to photograph Iraqis living there in exile.

James was awarded the Guggenheim award for his work on Banta (Cliff). His breathtaking, large-format images depict the emotionally laden rock fronts on the island of Okinawa that were the scene of war-related atrocities during WWII. He recently gave a lecture on the series at the National Conference for the Society of Photographic Education.

Both artists participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program. Suzanne participated in 2005. Her photographs in the Soldier series were first exhibited in her solo exhibition at Light Work in 2006. James came to Light Work as an Artist-in-Residence in 2002. He participated in our Fine Print Program the following year.

Reflections in Black: Lecture by Deborah Willis

Make sure that you’ve marked your calendar to attend the presentation Reflections in Black, which will be given by Deborah Willis this Wednesday, April 8, 4pm, at Maxwell Auditorium, The Maxwell School of Syracuse University. There will be a reception right before the talk, at 3:30pm, outside of Maxwell Auditorium.

The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will focus on the African American experience in Syracuse as depicted in photography. Willis will also speak about her collaboration, along with Dawoud Bey, Lonnie Graham, and Carrie Mae Weems, in the project Embracing Eatonville, a photographic survey of the oldest black incorporated town in America.

The lecture is sponsored by the South Side Initiative, Light Work, U.Encounter Grant, and the Onondaga Historical Association.

Myra Greene at the Gallery of the College of Staten Island

Myra Greene's image Stare Eyes
Former Light Work Artist-in-Residence (2004) Myra Greene is exhibiting her work in Cataloguing Attitudes: Contemporary Photography and the Archive, curated by Beatrix Reinhardt (also a former Light Work Artist-in-Residence) and Siona Wilson. The exhibit runs April 1 to May 14, 2009.

Gallery of the College of Staten Island
College of Staten Island
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, New York 10314