Light Work is pleased to announce that the recipients for the 40th annual Light Work Grants in Photography are Trevor Clement, Sebastian Collett, and Dan Wetmore. 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 Natasha Egan (Executive Director, Museum of Contemporary Photography), Taj Forer (Co-founder, Daylight Books), and Paul Moakley (Deputy Photo Editor, TIME).
Trevor Clement is a Syracuse, NY based visual artist, musician, and performance artist. His photographic and visual art has been shown at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, the Spark Art Gallery in Syracuse, and at the NoFound Photo Fair in Paris, France. Recent efforts have been focused on producing ‘zines and artist books, musical endeavors, and the administrative maintenance of BADLANDS, an all-ages, DIY art and music space in Syracuse. Over the past seven years, Clement has performed in various hardcore-punk/noise groups across the greater eastern half of the country. The do-it-yourself ethic, the antisocial, violent, and anti-capitalist character of noise and hardcore-punk music all play a major role in Clement’s thinking about visual art.
INVERTED MOUNTAIN re-purposes the cathartic language of hardcore-punk and noise music, the conceptual geography of Dante’s Purgatorio, and the despondent atmosphere of sci-fi cinema, in order to weave a labyrinthine and disjointed narrative of willful disillusionment and destructive purification.
Described is a journey towards, and then through, an anonymous city; a location with a dual identity as both place and process. The city acts as a stand-in for the orthodox structure of social coercion. The institutional power of society is designed for quiet violence; quicksand. The currency of this violence is sexual. Identities are forged on the bedrock of gender, and the codes which contain them. Control is practiced by cooking the code-book, by manipulating the social DNA of the user from beneath their consciousness. “Good Men” (Capitalists, Rapists, Murders) are created by luring young boys into the warm waters of their own entitlement.
At face value, the experience implied by the photographs is change-at-the-site-of-change: the chaotic, violent state in-between identities. These nine images are excerpts pulled from a body of work containing approximately 300 photographs.
— Trevor Clement
Sebastian Collett is a photographer working in the USA and Berlin, Germany. He studied with Stephen Shore and Larry Fink at Bard College, and earned his MFA from the Hartford Art School. His work has been exhibited at 25CPW Gallery in New York, Kominek Gallery in Berlin, and is in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Art Museum. He was recently awarded residencies at the Hambidge Center and the Vermont Studio Center. His work has been featured in Fraction Magazine, Vice Magazine, and is included in Mossless Magazine’s survey of documentary photography, The United States, 2003-2013.
The Vanishing Point project explores memory, desire and impermanence, through encounters with people at various stages of life. On the occasion of 20th high school reunion, I returned to my small hometown in Ohio, where I remained for some time. Immersed in the landscape of my youth, I found myself scouting for people who could serve as “stand-ins” for characters from my past, or for those archetypal figures that haunt our collective memory. I was especially drawn to the young and the aging.
As a child I’d often felt haunted. I could spend days absorbed in a trance, communing with the spirits of an ethereal world. Late nights, I’d slip out of the house like a ghost and haunt the town myself, revisiting the sites of daytime dramas. I relived scenes of struggle, humiliation, loss and desire, allowing their emotional essence to permeate me. As in a dream, realities blended – was I recalling the past or the future, other lives or my own? No matter – I felt more alive and expansive than ever. For a few dark hours, the veil of consensus reality was lifted, and I could see the invisible clearly.
Now standing at the threshold of middle age, I wanted to look back and forward simultaneously. Photography became a form of time travel, enabling an integration of past, present and future selves. Making portraits of people, I watched for moments of transition, when the subject seemed on the verge of becoming, or vanishing. Throughout my work, I seek to describe these liminal states, and to evoke the endless quest to situate the self in time.
— Sebastian Collett
Dan Wetmore is a photographer operating between Pittsburgh, PA and Syracuse, NY. He received his BFA from Syracuse University in 2013, and now works at a food cooperative to fund his photography practice. He has long brown hair and drives a Buick station wagon.
I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA during a period of economic flux. The proud history of steel manufacturing still defined the region. By the early 1990’s most of the heavy industry had closed, but these facilities were not yet razed. As a child, I was taken by the furnaces and mills that lined the rivers, these giant dark carcasses. At home, my parents had a paperback copy of selected Becher typologies and I became obsessed with the sections featuring blast furnaces and mineheads. When I turned sixteen, I was fortunate enough to have a car and I started exploring these sites intimately. With a developing fondness and understanding, I began to photograph in the surrounding neighborhoods.
My work deals with the post industrial landscape at the juncture of romanticism and current social and economic conditions. Stereotypically, the landscape is bleak, yet quiet dialogues of nature, beauty and persistence weave throughout, at times brilliant and unexpected. The idiosyncrasies raised in long stagnation suggest individuality and endurance.
— Dan Wetmore