Light Work Board Member Brings "Breach of Peace" to Syracuse

Eric Etheridge and Glen Lewis

Eric Etheridge and Glen Lewis

Light Work board member Glen Lewis was instrumental in bringing to Syracuse Eric Etheridge’s “Breach of Peace,” an exhibit based on his book of the same name.

Published in 2008, Breach of Peace juxtaposes mug shots of the 1961 Freedom Riders with contemporary images and excerpts of interviews. The Freedom Riders were American men and women, black and white, who traveled by bus to the South to protest the segregation of buses and bus stations that was then illegal but still being enforced.

“Breach of Peace” is at ArtRage Gallery until February 27.

Doug DuBois in BlackFlash

The Winter 2010 issue of BlackFlash magazine, entitled Family Matters, features an image by Doug DuBois on its cover. Inside, DuBois and Richard Hines talk about mixing art with family. Their conversation is also online here.

Doug DuBois has photographed his family for over twenty-five years, following the seasons of happy and sorrowful moments. His book …all the days and nights, which was published by aperture in 2009, features this and sixty-one other images in the series. photo-eye cited ...all the days and nights as one of the best books of 2009.

Light Work offers signed copies of . . . all the days and nights in our online store for $45. For $15 more, you can get a signed . . . all the days and nights plus a year’s subscription to the award-winning Contact Sheet (five issues, including The Light Work Annual). Also available is a signed, limited edition print by DuBois for $275.

Your purchases go directly into supporting our programming for emerging and under-recognized artists.

Image: Spencer with His Violin, Ithaca, NY, 2008.

SPE Conference in Philadelphia

Priya Kambli

During the first weekend in March over a thousand photography enthusiasts will gather in Philadelphia for the 47th SPE National Conference, “Facing Diversity: Leveling the Playing Field in the Photographic Arts.” Co-chaired by Miriam Romais from En Foco and Hannah Frieser from Light Work, the conference brings together a significant line-up of almost eighty presenters to take a look at the state of art photography.

In the context of the conference, diversity is defined very broadly to include issues of race, culture, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual preference, and more. Over the years artists have responded to these themes in multiple ways, but they have also been showcased in galleries and publications differently depending on their own background. This conference celebrates diversity with a focus on artists, while also examining the current climate in the arts with numerous lectures and panel discussions.

Keynote Speaker Kip Fulbeck will kick off the conference with a high-energy talk about mixed race and identity. Featured Speakers Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie and Veronica Passalacqua will examine international indigenous photography. Featured Speaker Dawoud Bey reaches beyond diversity and to a future of inclusivity. Honored Educator Deborah Willis will chair a panel discussion on beauty and desire (with panelists Wafaa Bilal, Coco Fusco, Phyllis Galembo, David Graham, Hank Willis Thomas, and Carla Williams), while also being celebrated for her considerable contributions to the field and the organization.

In addition to the main speakers, the general presentations provide a mixture of imagemaker sessions, lectures and panel discussions. Renée Mussai will examine “The Missing Chapter” in cultural history and the rich photographic archive that Autograph ABP in London is building in response. Don Gregorio Antón reverses the idea of the playing field to bring attention to those whom we teach rather than what we teach. Elizabeth Ferrer will create an overview of Latino photographic history. Priya Kambli (image above) will share her work on split cultural identity caused by migration. Douglas McCulloh and Kurt Weston will talk about blind photographers. Jane Noel with co-presenters Cybèle Clark-Mendes and Sonserée Verdise Gibson will explore self-portraits that negotiate stereotype. Susan E. Evans will take a closer look at skin color. The list continues, and the best advice is to carefully study the presentation descriptions. As always this annual four-day conference is accompanied by a tradeshow, technical seminars, portfolio reviews, gallery tours, and lots of camaraderie.

Society for Photographic Education, National Conference, March 4-7, 2010 at the Marriott Hotel Downtown, Philadelphia, PA,

Light Work at SPE: We will be represented at the conference with multiple staff members and many artists we have worked with in the past. If you have been planning to show us your portfolio, we may be able to schedule a review. Please send us an email at

Lola Flash opens at Gordon Parks Gallery

The exhibition Flash in Retrospect, featuring work by 2008 Light Work Artist-in-Residence Lola Flash, opened on February 13 at Gordon Parks Gallery on the John Cardinal O’Connor campus of The College of New Rochelle. The exhibition will run through May 2, 2010.

Flash’s work addresses boundaries and the physical and ideological areas that exist concerning those boundaries. Begun in 2002, [sur]passing examines how skin color impacts black identity both in real life and in front of the camera. With the portraits in epicene, Flash depicts a mosaic of subjects who have challenged societal confines, including those of race, class, and gender. Photographed in various cities in the United States and abroad, her series quartet looks at the interstitial places that comprise these cities and define the lives of their inhabitants.

Flash was born in the United States and is of African and Native American heritage. She spent ten years in London, where she regularly exhibited her work and also attained her MA. A classic Flash photograph, Stay Afloat, Use a Rubber, is part of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum collection. She is now based in New York.

Read more about Flash and her work at her website. Flash has two photographs in the Light Work Collection, which you can view by clicking here. Her work was also featured in Contact Sheet 152, which you can preview and purchase here.

Images: Above, left, Amanda, Cape Town, South Africa, from the series [sur]passing. Right, the artist with her work at the exhibition opening on February 13, 2010.

Seeing Haiti: Laura Heyman and the Ghetto Biennale 2009

Several months ago Laura Heyman, a professor in the Transmedia Department at Syracuse University, asked us if we could help support a project she had planned for the Ghetto Biennale in Haiti. We have a small endowment fund to support mid-career artists and decided that this would be a worthwhile project to support, and we offered her our assistance.

André Eugene, Jean Hérard Céleur, Rònald Bazile, Pierre Isnel Destimare, Leah Gordon, and Myron Beasley organized the Ghetto Biennale in Haiti’s capitol Port-au-Prince to ask the question, “What happens when first world art rubs up against third world art?” Heyman joined an international group of artists who started with this basic question, and the Biennale took place November through December of 2009.

For her project Heyman was interested in exploring formal portraiture that followed the example of artists like Mike Disfarmer, James Van Der Zee and Seydou Keita, who used the commercial and utilitarian aspects of their practice to portray their subjects with a consideration and respect that was both clear-eyed and beautiful.

Aware of the many cultural complexities of representation she had many questions, candidly stating, “I was highly conscious of everything that stood in the way of a real exchange between a subject from the first world and a subject from the third world—race, class, opportunity and lack of opportunity, agency, the ability to move freely through the world; all of the things that make communication difficult, as they are always present, but rarely discussed. […] What I found when I arrived in Haiti was that I was working within a community of fellow artists and their families and neighbors.”

Less than a month after Heyman returned from Haiti, the devastating earthquake struck causing unimaginable destruction and loss of life. Heyman is planning to return to Haiti within the next several months to offer her small part to the relief effort and to extend her project that has now become part record and part memorial.

This Fall Light Work will exhibit work from her project in our main gallery and publish the work in an issue of Contact Sheet. A selection of Heyman’s black-and-white portraits can now be viewed on Light Work’s website along with Heyman’s artist statement and a list of organizations that need donations for the ongoing relief and recovery efforts.

Image: Laura Heyman, Margaret Denis, 2009

36th Annual Light Work Grants

For the 36th year running, Light Work has announced a call for entries for its Light Work Grants in Photography. These grants support photographers, critics, and photo-historians in Central New York, and in order to be eligible, applicants must live in about a 50 mile radius surrounding Syracuse. The residency requirements are listed in the grant application, which you can read about and download here. The deadline for applying is March 31, 2010.

While the Light Work Grants celebrate our local community of artists, there are no geographic limits for our Artists-in-Residence program. There is a rolling deadline for the AIR program; we are continuously looking at new applications as they arrive throughout the year.

Image: Lucinda Devlin, Pocono Place, Marshall’s Creek, PA. Devlin won the Light Work Grant in 1978. Click here for a list of all the winners starting in 1975.

Baghdadi Mem/Wars project in Dubai

Today we shipped out a box of prints headed for Dubai. It may be the farthest that any prints made in Community Darkrooms have ever traveled from Syracuse.

The images in the package are from the series Baghdadi Mem/Wars, by January Light Work Artists-in-Residence Sama Alshaibi and Dena Al-Adeeb. This powerful series, which incorporates video and photographs, investigates the physical, intellectual, and emotional effects of torture. Both artists were born in Iraq and make this work from a personal perspective. Above is Still-Chaos, one of three suites that comprise the project.

Baghdadi Mem/Wars will be shown in conjunction with Art Dubai, which opens to the public on March 18.

Click here to find out how you can apply for the Light Work Residency and here to see the hundreds of artists who have been residents In Syracuse.

Portfolios for iPhone and iPad

There’s an interesting discussion going on over at the fractionmag blog about photographers redoing their online portfolios to make them compatible for viewing on the iPhone and iPad. Definitely check out the thread, and I’ll add my .02 here. Unless you work in the rarefied postage-stamp genre, it’s probably not a good idea to show people your work on an iPhone. It’s just not going to look its best if they can see it at all. The iPad could be a different story because of its larger screen size, so maybe it will be worth addressing these compatibility issues.

Basically, the question is whether you use Flash on your portfolio site or not (if you haven’t heard, neither i-devices do Flash). I’ve seen quite a number of sites where the Flash antics actually overshadow the work and make it hard to get to. Your site construction should deliver your images cleanly and quickly, and you certainly don’t need to get tangled up in Flash to accomplish that. There are many good looking website templates, like this one by photographer Dalton Rooney, that get you where you need to go with maximum ease and don’t use Flash, solving your i-compatibility issues from the beginning.

—Mary Goodwin

A great reminder

I met photographer Jamey Stillings recently in Los Angeles. At the end of our conversation about his Colorado River Bridge series, he gave me a really nice leave-behind: a 56-page custom published magazine featuring his project. For those who still believe in the value of a paper leave-behind beyond the business card, a magazine like this looks very professional but is not so expensive to produce that people have to pry it out of your hands.

MagCloud works pretty simply: After registering, you upload your designed page files as pdfs, they make a full-size proof FOR FREE, and then you can publish as many editions of your magazine as you want at about 20 cents a page. You can put your magazine into their store where others can buy it on demand, too. I talked later with Jamey about his experience with MagCloud, and their service sounded impressive. They worked closely with him through several rounds of proofs to get the values of his night images just right.

Although we look at a lot of work online these days, a well produced magazine can serve as a lasting reminder of your project.

—Mary Goodwin

One more for 2010

We’ve had late-breaking confirmation this afternoon that Susan Worsham will also join us as a 2010 Artist-in-Residence.

In her series Some Fox Trails in Virginia, Worsham evokes a Southern Gothic atmosphere in which the verdancy of this landscape and its people seems to have run wild and then aground. During her residency, Worsham plans to edit, scan, and print editions of Fox Trails as well as her newest work, By the Grace of God, which focuses on the hospitality of strangers in the South. Congratulations, Susan!

Image: Lynn with Red Towel