John Chervinsky (1961-2015)

“I am fascinated by the concept of time. I can measure it, account for it in an experiment in the lab, and live my life in it, but I still don’t know what it is, exactly.”

— John Chervinsky

We are saddened to share the news of the passing of photographer and friend John Chervinsky. John passed in the afternoon on Monday, December 21, 2015 at his home in Somerville, MA.

John Chervinsky was a Light Work Artist-in-Residence in October 2012. During his month in Syracuse, he produced a handmade version of his book An Experiment in Perspective. John was a self taught photographer and an engineer working in the field of applied physics, most recently at Harvard’s Rowland Institute for Science, originally founded by Polaroid’s Edwin H. Land. John’s creativity and inventiveness came through in his photographic work, and we had the great pleasure of working closely with him, through which we discovered what a humble, generous, and truly brilliant person he was.

During his career, John exhibited his photographs nationally at many venues, including solo exhibitions at The Griffin Museum of Photography, Blue Sky Gallery, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in conjunction with the Photographic Resource Center, Wallspace Gallery, Cordon Potts Gallery, and Photo-eye Project Gallery. His work is included in many collections, including Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Portland Museum of Art, Portland, OR; List Visual Art Center Collection at MIT, Cambridge, MA; and Light Work, Syracuse, NY.

The Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA has established The John Chervinsky Emerging Photographer Scholarship. The scholarship seeks to recognize, encourage and reward photographers with the potential to create a body of work and sustain solo exhibition. Awarded annually, the Scholarship provides recipients with a monetary award, tuition-free enrollment in Photography Atelier, exhibition of their work at the Griffin Museum of Photography, and a volume from John’s personal library of photography books. The Scholarship seeks to provide a watershed moment in the professional lives of emerging photographers, providing them with the support and encouragement necessary to develop, articulate and grow their own vision for photography.

Please consider making a contribution to the fund. In doing so, you will honor John’s memory by making it possible for others to continue his work of tirelessly questioning the world around us.

We would like to extend our thoughts to John’s wife, Kirsten, and all of our colleagues who knew John’s gentile spirit, intelligence, and creativity.

Image: Flowers and Painting on Door, 2010

View Light Work’s Fine Print Program print by John Chervinsky here.
Browse John Chervinsky’s recent work on his blog or website.

Light Work Receives 2016 NEA Art Works Grant

In its first 50 years, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded more than $5 billion in grants to recipients in every state and U.S. jurisdiction, the only arts funder in the nation to do so. Today, the NEA announced awards totaling more than $27.6 million in its first funding round of fiscal year 2016, including an Art Works award of $50,000 to Light Work to support Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program and the production of Contact Sheet: The Light Work Annual.

The Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields. NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The arts are part of our everyday lives – no matter who you are or where you live – they have the power to transform individuals, spark economic vibrancy in communities, and transcend the boundaries across diverse sectors of society. Supporting projects like the one from Light Work offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

Light Work’s director Shane Lavalette commented, “We are absolutely thrilled to receive news of the award, and are very grateful to the NEA for their continued support of our programs. We look forward to another excellent year of supporting some of today’s most exciting image-makers.”

Every year Light Work invites between twelve and fifteen artists to come to Syracuse to devote one month to creative projects. Over 400 artists have participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program, and many of them have gone on to achieve international acclaim. The residency includes a $5,000 stipend, a furnished artist apartment, 24-hour access to our state-of-the-art facilities, and generous staff support. Work by each Artist-in-Residence is published in a special edition of Contact Sheet: The Light Work Annual along with an essay commissioned by Light Work.

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEAFall15. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to

2016 Light Work Artists-in-Residence


To learn more about the 2016 Artists-in-Residence, read our announcement on the Light Work Blog.

To become a supporter of Light Work yourself, consider making a contribution by beginning or renewing your subscription. We encourage you to help us achieve our goal of matching the NEA’s generous support. Contribute today and get something back in return. Browse limited-edition prints, signed books, and Contact Sheet at

All subscriptions will assure that you receive the NEA-supported issue of Contact Sheet: The Light Work Annual 2016 next summer. Preview spreads from Contact Sheet 182: Light Work Annual 2015 online here.