Light Work is pleased to announce that the recipients for the 36th annual Light Work Grants in Photography are Yasser Aggour, Ron Jude, and Lida Suchy. The Light Work Grants in Photography program is a part of Light Work’s ongoing effort to provide support and encouragement to artists working in photography. Established in 1975, it is one of the longest-running photography fellowship programs in the country. Each recipient receives a $2,000 award, has their work exhibited at Light Work, and published in Contact Sheet: The Light Work Annual. The judges for this year were Sharon Bates (Director, Art & Culture Program, Albany International Airport), Shawn Records (photographer, 2009 Light Work Artists-in-Residence), Brian Ulrich (photographer, 2010 Light Work Artist-in-Residence).
Yasser Aggour submitted photographs from two different series, The Hunted and The History of Paradise. In the images from The Hunted, Aggour collects photographs depicting hunters and the animals they have killed, and then manipulates them using imaging software to remove the hunter completely, resulting in portraits that defy easy categorization. In The History of Paradise Aggour uses a collage technique to create images that, in his words, “transform the pedestrian into the seemingly mythic.” The images revolve around the themes of nature and destruction, violence and beauty, and death and immortality. Aggour received his MFA from Yale University, and both a BA in Fine Arts and a BA in Political Theory from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His work has been exhibited internationally, and he is currently an assistant professor of photography in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.
Ron Jude’s series emmett features images made during his youth in his home state of Idaho. The photographs are focused around the idea of living an average, working-class life in a rural mountain town in the 1980s, and the struggle of the inevitable looming blue-collar life. According to Jude, “Edited here nearly thirty years later, the somewhat accidental, experimental body of work has the cohesive qualities of a dream—memories reorganized into a fictionalized narrative, imagery suffused with both an unsettling melancholy and the prismatic glow of youthful reverie.” Jude received his MFA from Louisiana State University and a BFA from Boise State University. His work has been exhibited internationally. He is represented by Blind Spot Artist Representation in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, and Gallery Luisotti in Santa Barbara, CA. He previously received a Light Work Grant in 2001.
Lida Suchy received the Light Work Grant for her series The Community Choir. The black-and-white portraits in this series, described by Suchy as “the antithesis to the celebrity portrait,” look closely at the members of the Syracuse Community Choir. The choir is based on the idea of inclusion, and therefore offers brailed music, rides for people in wheelchairs, and childcare, among other services, and always welcomes people from any race, ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual orientation. According to Suchy, “The choir’s use of art and singing as tools to foster inclusiveness and community building are what initially inspired me to create these images.” Suchy received her MFA from Yale University, and her BA from SUNY Albany. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and she has received numerous grants and awards.