2024 BFA Art Photography Annual

January 19–March 8, 2024
Jeffrey J. Hoone Gallery
Reception: Thurs, January 25, 6:30pm

Light Work presents the 2024 BFA Art Photography Annual of photographs by seniors from the Art Photography program in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University. We will host a reception for the exhibiting artists on Thursday, January 25, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The exhibiting artists are Keming Chen, Madison Chloe, Zhiyu Feng, Siya Hu, Megan Ivy, Megan Jonas, Yu-Hsia Liu, Tyber Longacre, Chika Winston Ma, Clara Neville, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Avery Wild, Suhao Yang, and Joe Zhao. 

The artist Nelson Chan served as juror and selected Siya Hu’s images for Best in Show with Honorable Mentions awarded to Chika Winston Ma and Suhao Yang.

“Each spring, seniors in the art photography program exhibit a selection of images from their senior thesis at Light Work. Senior thesis is a yearlong (or longer) in-depth photographic exploration of a subject chosen by the students. The open-ended nature of the process can be a challenge, and the work often changes radically between the beginning of September, when students start their projects, and December, when the work is installed for exhibition. Students choose, edit and print the images in collaboration and with the assistance Light Work’s curatorial staff and master printers. The BFA Art Photography Annual is not only the first exhibition for many of our students, but also an important learning opportunity for them. In addition to giving students the space to imagine how their thesis work might develop over the next several months, the Art Photography Annual introduces their thesis work to their peers, the local community and the renowned curators and critics who jury the exhibition.”

-Laura Heyman, Department of Film and Media Arts, Associate Professor, Art Photography

A note from Nelson Chan:

“I was recently asked what my thoughts were regarding the future of photography, and I can’t express enough how boring that question is. I say this because as a medium birthed between artistry and alchemy, with its advancements ever-changing, it is so much more interesting to engage with its constant identity crisis, its breakneck speed through culture and technology, and the people using it to show me something about the world, about themselves, and maybe, possibly, hopefully, about me. 


Siya Hu’s photograph of a bloody hand semi-submerged in liquid is messy, visceral, and beautiful in its elegance and aggression. As I look at this photograph, my body is scanning itself internally and externally, slowly firing up the tingly nerves of a hangnail, or my recently bitten tongue, or the raw skin of a fresh tattoo. I feel fragile. I’m paying attention to my breaths and wondering if my heart is out of rhythm. 


Chika Winston Ma’s photograph of a blue-mohawked punk rocker isn’t just a portrait, but a reflection of Ma and their own journey through a hostile world of conformity. The brightly colored figure is raked with the camera’s flash and met with perfectly muddy edges from the light’s fall off. It couldn’t be a more perfect metaphor for the boxes that we are often put in by society.  


Another photograph by Suhao Yang depicts a mysterious parking garage. Two thirds of the image are almost pure black, and all we have to hold onto is a florescent bulb, a shaft of afternoon light, some buildings, and power lines that lead my eye to a surprising Syracuse skyline that almost looks like it could be Brooklyn. This image reminds me to always be prepared – that the potential for a photograph can appear just as fast as it can evaporate. 


The photography program at Syracuse University is one that I think about with fondness and great respect. Because of the incredible faculty and resources like Light Work, I’ve sent several of my students there to further their studies. Many alumni are some of my closest friends, who have also become artists of great influence and inspiration – I’m not sure how I got so lucky. So, if you, like me, ever have to ponder the future of photography, let the light of this rust belt town help guide the way. 


Nelson Chan was born in New Jersey to immigrant parents from Hong Kong and Taiwan and has spent most of his life between the States and Hong Kong. Nelson received his BFA and MFA from RISD and the Hartford Art School, respectively. He has been exhibited nationally and internationally at institutions such as the Museum of Chinese in America, New York, NY; Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA; The Print Center, Philadelphia, PA; Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany; and 798 Space, Beijing, China. His books are collected in the institutional libraries of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Whitney Museum, and MoMA. Along with his photography, book publishing is also focus of his studio practice. He is co-founder of TIS books and is an Assistant Professor of Photography at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, CA.”