Browse Light Work’s New Online Collection

Visitors to Light Work’s website can now explore thousands of photographic works and objects from our permanent Collection in a new online database that expands access to work by former Light Work artists, students, researchers, and online visitors. Optimized for speed, image quality, and overall user experience, this new website will enable visitors to learn more about the Light Work Collection and the history of the organization.

Already an early-adopter of digital technology in the 1980s, Light Work made the Collection fully accessible online in the early 1990s. The new site has been in preparation for over two years, builds on the information available in the previous format, and introduces new search features. This project was made possible with support from David Broda at Syracuse University’s Photo and Imaging Center, The Gifford Foundation, Joy of Giving Something, Inc. (JGS), The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), The Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, and Light Work staff, led by Jeffrey Hoone, Shane Lavalette, Mary Lee Hodgens, and Victor Rivera.

The funding and support is a testament to the archive’s importance and the quality of the work done to make it more accessible to the public. The material in the Light Work Collection has significant research value, and thanks to the redesign of the online platform, these resources will be more widely available to educators, artists, critics, curators, and the arts community. The new participatory approach allows both the online visiting public and internal staff members to locate a desired image, object, or information in the archive more efficiently and accurately.

“The Collection is one of our greatest assets—people, I think, will be thrilled by it. It’s not only beautiful looking, but it’s an incredible resource for artists, curators, educators, and students of photography,” says Mary Lee Hodgens, Light Work’s Associate Director. “They will have the whole Collection at their fingertips.”

The Collection documents Light Work’s history of support for artists and their creative process. In 1979, early participants in our Artist-in-Residence Program began informally donating photographs to Light Work, which accumulated into a small collection. Light Work soon began to invite each artist to contribute work while in Syracuse to establish a permanent collection. The Collection now primarily comprises work made by artists who have participated in the residency and exhibitions as well as Light Work Grant recipients. The Collection represents Light Work’s 45-year legacy of supporting emerging and under-represented artists and boasts an extensive, diverse archive that maps the trends and developments in contemporary photography. Light Work’s Collection database currently contains more than 4,000 items, all of it original work, including color and black-and-white photographic prints, alternative processes, collages, installation pieces, artist books, portfolios, and publications. Exceptional in scope, the Collection covers all genres from documentary to abstract to experimental to conceptual work.

Online visitors will find early work by many artists who have gone on to significant acclaim after their Light Work residencies, winning coveted awards, exhibiting work in prestigious museums, and represented by top gallerists. The Collection has grown over the past four decades due to the generosity of former artists-in-residence and individual donors. The Collection includes many works of major importance from artists such as Dawoud Bey, Zanele Muholi, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman, Carrie Mae Weems, William Wegman, and James Welling.

Explore the richness and diversity of works across the photographic medium. Have questions or need additional support, our collection management staff can provide useful background information and offer guidance in selecting images that best supplement class curriculum or research topics.

Search Permanent Collection

Announcing the 2019 Light Work Artists-in-Residence

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. Work by former Artists-in-Residence is also part of the Light Work Collection.

We are pleased to announce the 2019 Light Work Artists-in-Residence!

Carolyn Drake
Carolyn Drake

Kris Graves
Kris Graves

Pao Her
Pao Her

Mark McKnight
Mark McKnight

Meryl Meisler
Meryl Meisler

Rafal Milach
Rafal Milach

Zora Murff
Zora Murff

Sarker Protick
Sarker Protick

Arpita Shah
Arpita Shah

Cian Oba-Smith
Cian Oba-Smith

Jiehao Su
Jiehao Su

Ka-Man Tse
Ka-Man Tse

Cristina Velasquez
Cristina Velásquez

See past Artists-in-Residence at www.lightwork.org/air
Applications are now open for 2019. Apply at lightwork.slideroom.com

Announcing the Light Work Photobook Award 2018

We are pleased to announce that the Light Work Photobook Award 2018 has been given to Rose Marie Cromwell, for her monograph El Libro Supremo de la Suerte, which will be co-published this year by TIS Books and Light Work. The Light Work Photobook Award is given each year to an artistic project that deserves international attention. As with all of Light Work’s programs, in selecting the artists to receive this recognition an emphasis is made to highlight emerging and underrepresented artists of diverse backgrounds.

Rose Marie Cromwell is a photographic and video artist who is based in Miami. Her work explores how globalization affects human interaction and social politics and the tenuous space between the political and the spiritual. Cromwell received a BFA degree from Maryland Institute College of Art in Art Photography in 2005, and an MFA from Syracuse University in Art Photography in 2013. Cromwell is a recipient of the Fulbright Research Grant, and a Syracuse University full-ride graduate fellowship. She was named one of “25 Under 25 Up and Coming American Photographers” by the Center for Documentary Studies in 2008, and “One to Watch” by the British Journal of Photography in 2017. She has had solo exhibitions at the Diablo Rosso gallery and the Antitesis Art Space in Panama City, and participated in the 1st Biennale del Sur in Panama City, and Prizm Art Fair in Miami. Cromwell’s artwork has been published online and in print in a variety of international magazines, including the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Vice Photo Issues, The New York Times, Camera Austria, Time Lightbox, ARC Magazine, Musee Magazine, The Oxford American, and The New Yorker. She participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program in September 2014.

Rose Marie Cromwell
El Libro Supremo de la Suerte
TIS Books/Light Work, 2018
Hardcover, 192 pages
ISBN: 978-1-943146-12-3
First Edition
Signed by the artist

Rose Marie Cromwell’s debut monograph, El Libro Supremo de la Suerte (“The Supreme Book of Luck”), refers to a little piece of photocopied samizdat that supports a covert lottery in Havana, where Cromwell spent eight years living and photographing. Of the work, Paula Kupfer writes: “In exploring the visual connections between numbers—exact and absolute units of measurements—and the mystical, wayward ways of luck, as embodied by friends and family performing for her camera, Cromwell offers a lyric homage to Cuba, the place that’s shaped her practice and that, moreover, continues defying expectations and interpretations.”

Pre-order a first edition SIGNED copy of our 2019 Book Collectors Offer El Libro Supremo de la Suerte by Rose Marie Cromwell and you will also receive a complimentary subscription to Contact Sheet (a $115 value) for only $75!

Stephen C. Mahan III (1956-2018)

Light Work was bereaved to learn of the sudden passing of colleague and friend Stephen C. Mahan III, in a July 26 vehicular accident in Manlius, NY.

Mahan, the founding director of the University-based Photography and Literacy Project (PAL) and a teacher in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, was an adventure-seeking force whose boundless verve and compassion was evident in every aspect of his life. For over thirty years he was a vital leader in the Syracuse art and photography community. “His infectious enthusiasm and curiosity touched everyone he encountered and drove him to use his skills in photography to improve and enrich the lives of others,” says Jeffrey Hoone, executive director of the Coalition of Museums and Art Centers at Syracuse University and Light Work.

Mahan participated in many programs at Light Work including receiving a Light Work Grant in 1989 and serving on our board of directors from 2010-2018. But his most enduring contribution to the field was his work teaching literacy and life skills through photography to young students. Beginning with a collaboration with his wife, Mary Lynn Mahan, at the Ed Smith school in Syracuse, Steve went on to teach and mentor a generation of young students so that they could discover value and self-worth by exploring their talents through photography and writing.

Since 2010 Steve accomplished this work through PAL a collaborative program among the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers at SU, and the Syracuse City Schools. Located in the Nancy Cantor Warehouse the PAL Project is a model for helping students develop literacy skills by using photography, video, audio recordings, and writing.

photo credit: Carrie Mae Weems

With Steve at the helm, PAL not only offered youth exposure to the photographic medium, he cultivated a safe environment for program participants, a place in which youth, could frame, explore and share visual narratives of the world around them.

Doug Dubois, Department Chair and Associate Professor in Department of Transmedia at Syracuse University, reflected on the unique space Mahan fostered at PAL stating,

“Steve designed, furnished, equipped and ran the PAL Project as a dynamic classroom/community space in the basement of the SU Warehouse. Crammed with art books and magazines, computers of various vintages, cameras of all shapes and sizes, poetry, posters and prints from past PAL projects covering the walls, the space delighted and inspired students and visitors alike.”

Student Work: 2017 ‘Seen and Heard Project’ Photography and Literacy Project (PAL)

In his capacity as director, Mahan also taught the course Literacy, Community, and Media in VPA’s Department of Transmedia. As part of that course, University students had the opportunity to become mentors to city schoolchildren involved in the project The PAL program received national recognition and funding from the Joy of Giving Something, Inc. (JGS) in New York City and the Fay Slover Foundation in Boston among others.

Through his incredible dedication and desire to make the world a better place, Steve touched many people, and as our thoughts go out to Steve’s family, we will do our best to honor his memory in the weeks and years to come.

Stephen C. Mahan III is survived by Stephen and Rosemarie “Riley” Mahan of Geneva, his wife Mary Lynn, daughters Riley and Sadie; two brothers Michael “Mickey” (Deborah) and Joseph “Go”, and sisters Mary Pat Longstreet (Paul) and Jean Marie Shutter (Steve), and beloved in-laws, nieces, and nephews.

If you wish to send a note of condolence please visit www.gangmemorial.com

Calling hours: 5-7 pm Friday, August 17 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church 310 Montgomery St. Syracuse.

Memorial Service: 11:00 am, Saturday, August 18 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 310 Montgomery St. Syracuse.

In lieu of flowers, a 529 College Savings Account has been established for Sadie. Contributions can be made as follows: Checks payable to College America, memo – FBO Sadie Mahan and mail to Mary Lynn Mahan. Checks can be directed to Light Work at 316 Waverly Ave, Syracuse, NY 13244.

Stephen Mahan’s obituary in the Post Standard can be found here.
SU News article describing Stephen Mahan’s work and legacy can be found here.

Light Work Partners with For Freedoms To Launch Billboard Campaign in Syracuse, NY

In conjunction with the forthcoming exhibition, Be Strong and Do Not Betray Your Soul: Selections From The Light Work Collection, Light Work and For Freedoms are collaborating on a series of billboard artworks in the Syracuse area. This is part of The 50 State Initiative, an ambitious new phase of For Freedoms programming that culminates this fall. Building upon the United States’ existing artistic infrastructure, For Freedoms has developed a network of artists and institutional partners, including Light Work, who will produce nationwide exhibitions, public art installations, and local community dialogues in order to introduce nuanced, artistic thinking into public discourse. Centered on the vital work of artists, these exhibitions and related projects will model how arts institutions can become forums for civic action.

The 50 State Initiative will include the installation of a series of artist-produced billboards in public and art spaces in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Billboards are going up across the country this fall in advance of midterm elections, while other educational and outreach components of the initiative will occur from September through December. Six of the billboard installations are within the city of Syracuse, New York, and will be in various locations between August 13 – October 7, 2018. The images and text that comprise these billboards aim to provoke conversations in our community that lead to civic engagement. To help easily identify billboard locations and encourage engagement, a free downloadable map with information regarding the works on view will be available to the public.

“Our hope was to spark dialogue about our collective civic responsibility to push for freedom and justice today, as those before us pushed for freedom and justice in their time through peaceful protest and political participation.”

— Eric Gottesman

Thursday, September 20 at 6pm, For Freedoms co-founder Eric Gottesman will join us for a gallery talk about the process of curating Be Strong and Do Not Betray Your Soul and how this thematically intersects with the For Freedoms campaign artistic and art ideals.

201 South Geddes and West Fayette Street (digital billboard)

700 East Washington and Almond Street

201 South Geddes and West Fayette Street (digital billboard)

201 South Geddes and West Fayette Street (digital billboard)

Butternut and North Salina Street (side 1)

Butternut and North Salina Street (side 2)

In appropriating the billboard format, these by award-winning artists invite the viewer to engage critically with the messages their work presents as well as with the medium of political and commercial advertising itself.

Former Light Work artists-in-residence Eric Gottesman and Hank Willis Thomas started For Freedoms in 2016 as a non-partisan platform for civic engagement, discourse, and direct action for artists in the United States. Inspired by Norman Rockwell’s 1943 paintings of the four universal freedoms that Franklin Delano Roosevelt articulated in 1941—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear—For Freedoms seeks to use art to deepen public discussions of civic issues and core values, and to clarify that participation, not ideology, is the bedrock of citizenship in American society. For Freedoms is part of a rich history of artists employing means of mass communication to provoke political discourse. For Freedoms believes art and artists play important roles in galvanizing our society toward a more representative and transparent government.

Free Public Programs

Be Strong and Do Not Betray Your Soul:
Selections from the Light Work Collection

August 27 – October 18, 2018
Kathleen O. Ellis and Hallway Gallery at Light Work
Reception: Thursday, September 20, 2018, 5-7pm

Gallery Talk: Eric Gottesman
Thursday, September 20, 2018, 6pm
For Freedoms co-founder Eric Gottesman will share back-story about the inception of the For Freedoms and use his curatorial selections from the Be Strong and Do Not Betray Your Soul exhibition as talking points to ignite a dialogue about the various socially relevant topics.

Be Strong and Do Not Betray Your Soul: Selections from the Light Work Collection exhibition and related programming are partially supported by a grant from The Central New York Community Foundation (CNYCF).

To request high-resolution images for press reproduction and interviews, contact Light Work Promotions Coordinator, Cjala Surratt directly at (315) 443-9933 or cjala@lightwork.org

Collector Spotlight: Kenneth Montague of The Wedge Collection

One of the wonderful things about Light Work’s Fine Print Program is the affordability our limited-edition prints by artists. This has allowed for photography lovers of all kinds, from around the globe, to begin or grow their collections and support a good cause at the same time.

Many serious collectors and institutions are regular subscribers to Contact Sheet, by way of our Fine Print Program, and have discovered new artists in the process. We love having the opportunity to visit our collectors in person and to see Light Work prints in their amazing collections. Recently, we had the pleasure of visiting Dr. Kenneth Montague in Toronto, who has been a longtime advocate for the organization.

“I have acquired important photographs for my personal collection through Light Work’s Fine Print Program—Carrie Mae Weems, Deana Lawson, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Zanele Muholi—among many others. My most recent purchase was this quietly powerful print by John Edmonds (Phantom, 2017). These affordable works have greatly enhanced my perspective on contemporary photography, and added value to my growing collection.”

– Dr. Kenneth Montague | The Wedge Collection, Toronto

Take it from Kenneth…

Now is a great time to begin or grow your personal collection!

Light Work’s Online Benefit Auction: April 17 – May 1 on Paddle8

Raise Your Paddle and Bid! Light Work is pleased to partner with Paddle8 to launch an online benefit auction of more than 60 limited-edition, archival fine prints, and signed books. Bidding is available through our auction partner Paddle8 April 17 through May 1, 2018. Proceeds benefit Light Work and support our mission of supporting emerging and under-represented artists working in photography through residencies, publications, exhibitions, and a community-access digital lab facility.

For this unique online auction, we are offering hand-selected Fine Print and Book Collector auction lots curated by Phil Block (Deputy Director for Programs,ICP), who co-founded Light Work with Tom Bryan in 1973. All purchases include a one-year subscription to Contact Sheet. The 2018 Light Work benefit auction catalog boasts an offering of diverse works by internationally acclaimed and award-winning photographers. Bidding begins between $300 and $1,500.

The auction includes works by John Edmonds, Matt Eich, Lida Suchy, Wayne Lawrence, Zanele Muholi, Paul D’Mato, Christian Patterson, Doug DuBois, Lucas Foglia, Ann Hamilton, Leslie Hewitt, Mark Klett, Shane Lavalette, Andrea Modica, Mark Steinmetz, William Wegman, James Welling, and more!

We thank you, as always, for your continued support of the hundreds of artists that have called Light Work home over the past forty-one years. With your support, we will continue to do this valuable work for many more years to come. Thank you.

Please visit our auction to view all lots, and start your bidding!

Phil Block, a long time photographer, founded Light Work with Tom Bryan in 1973, serving as its director for the next ten years. The organization offers space to artists for studio work as well as exhibitions for aspiring photographers. Block curated more than 60 solo and group exhibitions of photography during his time with the nonprofit. We thought of ourselves as being facilitators, catalysts, not as being curators or directors, Block told FK magazine, a journal of Latvian and international photography. We were partners with the artists. Our job was to serve them, and, of course, our success was based on their success. The more we could help them to be successful in what they did, the greater our success would be. Since 1982, Block has worked with the International Center of Photography in New York City, first as associate director and now as deputy director of exhibitions and education.

Reception Recap: 2018 Newhouse Photography Annual

By Andrea Henderson

2018 Newhouse Photography Annual is on view in Light Work’s Hallway Gallery through July 27, 2018. Exhibiting student photographers include Marianne Barthélemy, Colleen Cambier, Bryan Cereijo, Haoyu Deng, Kathleen Flynn, Shweta Gulati, Chase Guttman, Shuran Huang, Joshua Ives, Evan Jenkins, Zachary Krahmer, Fiona Lenz, Tingjun Long, Claudia McCann, Todd Michalek, Moriah Ratner, Jessica Sheldon, Erika Sternard, Ashley Tucker, Austin Wallace, and Cassie Zhang.

Selfies with artists, echoes of laughter, and brief photo-explanatory conversations filled the Light Work Hallway Gallery on March 29, 2018, as students, staff, and community members took in the 2018 Newhouse Photography Annual. Light Work proudly hosted the exhibition of more than 25 stills by graduate and undergraduate students from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Multimedia Photography and Design Department. Their work—talented in vision and accomplished in technique—covered a range of topics, including images from the Syracuse refugee community, holiday traditions, and various styles of portraiture.



Light Work partnered with Newhouse’s MPD department to encourage students to create quality work in the community and to then produce a group show in this space to exhibit their work to the general public. The last time Newhouse students showcased work in the Light Work Hallway Gallery was 11 years ago, but Lorraine Branham, Dean of the Newhouse School, said she is delighted to return to Light Work and hopes that the next such collaboration occurs well before another decade passes.



Photography graduate student Zachary Krahmer traveled to Colombia last year and captured photos of the women and men fighting in the civil war there and the aftermath of the battles. He chose to use wet plate photo processing to create images that document conflict resolution groups within Colombia. Krahmer shot more than 80 stills, but for the Light Work exhibition he chose two from his series, Santa Lucia, Ituango Municipality, Colombia/Maritza, Member of the 18th Front of FARC, Colombia, days before demobilization.



For the Newhouse Photography Annual display, students chose to shoot a wide variety of subjects. Shuran Huang said the community always inspires her to produce photos that reflect the souls of societies and the people who add life to common activities. This explains her affinity with Collin’s Barber and Beauty Shop, a three-generation African-American salon that has serviced the Syracuse community for half a century.

A large crowd including faculty and local photographers attended and expressed enthusiasm about the students’ work. And so did Dean Branham, who walked through the exhibit greeting students with excitement and satisfaction.



She said the photographs, “show us how many great possibilities there are for collaboration and what great opportunities there are for our students. And I hope going forward that we will make the most out of these kinds of opportunities. I’m so proud of the work that they have done here.”

During the formal part of the reception, Light Work director Shane Lavalette acknowledged the Newhouse students’ work and expressed his gratitude for their participation. “This really shows the diversity of not only photography now, but of visual storytelling, and I’m excited to follow the work of all the students.”



To see all the images, visit the Hallway Gallery at Light Work in the Menschel Media Center on Waverly Avenue. The 2018 Newhouse Photography Annual exhibition will be up until July 27, 2018.

Tim Maul on Artist Keren Shavit’s “Broken Kayfabe”

2014 Light Work Artist-in-Residence Keren Shavit’s Rabbits (a.k.a. Oryctolagus Cuniculus) is part of AKIN: Keren Shavit & Eva Marie Rødbrom, the first exhibition in Urban Video Project‘s 2018-2019 curatorial program. AKIN will on view at the UVP Everson Museum of Art architectural projection venue from February 15 through March 31, 2018. Vanguard filmmakers Keren Shavit and Eva Marie Rødbrom will be present for an indoor screening of additional selections of work and a Q&A with the audience on Thursday, March 8 at 6:30pm in Watson Theater at Light Work.

UVP is a multi-media public art initiative of Light Work and Syracuse University, and an important international venue for the public presentation of video and electronic arts. For more event and exhibition information, please visit www.urbanvideoproject.com.

Given Shavit’s current exhibition with UVP, we decided to dig into our archives and share the following essay about her work, written by Tim Maul, and originally published in Contact Sheet 182: Light Work Annual 2015. Tim Maul is an artist and art writer who lives in New York, NY.

Keren Shavit’s forthcoming publication Broken Kayfabe will defy casual interpretative reading of its challenging assembly of images and text. Culled from her extensive archive of self-produced photography and video, Broken Kayfabe constitutes a metafictional tale centered on a cast of characters inhabit- ing a clique of young people working in a greasy, fast-food chain in Haifa, Israel. The ravaged individuals that populate Shavit’s images are not directed in any imposed mis en scene but function as puzzle pieces moving within a dense narrative concerning the group’s fixations on the Von Erich professional wrestling dynasty, which they fantasize joining. Peti, (“gullible” in Hebrew) the central female character, is the haunted peg this morphing story is hung upon. Her initial goal to attend the Von Erich match in Israel (an actual event) is thwarted, and she emerges as a mutable, tragic figure in a maelstrom of lurid and o en distressing photographic content. The symbols (fast- food employee cap) and markers (eating, food) dispensed throughout Broken Kayfabe are highly unstable signifiers exemplified by the Von Erichs themselves, their history fraught with deception, suicide, and internal struggles over legitimate use of the Von Erich name. Shavit has built an array of oblique documentation into a construct that, despite the seriality of any page, will deflect narrative by radically dissociating image and text.


Keren Shavit, from Broken Kayfabe

Attracted to hermetic clans, Shavit courts acceptance and inserts herself into family units and social groups that o en exhibit unusual behavior or militant disregard for conventional norms. Once within, Shavit documents and mediates events captured on a battery of cameras: moving, still, and iPhone. Shavit’s project originates more from cinema than still photography, threading through the documentaries such as Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s Brother’s Keeper (1992) and primitivists like the Kuchar brothers, early John Waters, Harmony Korine’s Gummo, and the unsettling oeuvre of David Lynch. Lynch’s sumptuous dream film Mulholland Drive (2001) corresponds with the glamor-deprived Broken Kayfabe with its embedding of symbols like a blue key, an empty sign that, when pro red, returns the labyrinthian plotting back to mystery genre with its (false) promise of final revelations and a restoration of visual order.

Shavit’s still photographs, produced by a range of amateur technologies, are blunt and harrowing. Favoring raw texture and high contrast color, her reflexive in-camera compositions appear organized around our discomfort. While coy or voyeuristic portraiture o en maintains a self-preserving distance from its subjects, Shavit situates herself in the action located in unspecified claustrophobic settings. Unlike the supine addicted families of emaciated beautiful losers in Corrine Day’s or Jessica Dimmock’s photography, Shavit’s people, when not in repose, engage in hectic activities where aging bodies crowd into a frame awash in garish patterns amid accumulations of clutter. In both content and lurid coloration, a resemblance exists between Shavit’s images and British photographer Richard Billingham’s notorious 1996 body of work around his troubled working-class family. Billingham’s pictures cruelly recall a grotesque Monty Python skit depicting “the worst family in Britain,” with Mum ironing a cat with the son, played by fantasy director Terry Gilliam, screaming for baked beans from a couch.


Keren Shavit, from Broken Kayfabe

Shavit’s pursuit and integration with perceived outsiders are primary source material gathering repurposed, for the artist, into the unwinding tale of Peti and her circle. Scavenging her own corpus and deleting any explanatory backstory precedes an image’s enlistment into Broken Kayfabe performing a surrealist act of detournement upon her own production, and in this Shavit emerges as highly original. Shavit’s pageant of glistening bearded men, cavorting seniors, wrestlers, monstrous rabbits, and haggard fast-food employees may be interpreted as a dream world or alternative universe. Indeed, Broken Kayfabe is an amalgam of doppelgängers, tangential distractions (Hitchcock’s “MacGuns”), and enough recurring symbols to hold us in paranoid thrall. Employing multiple perspectives and imaging formats can suggest avant-garde cinema at its most hallucinatory, but I propose that Broken Kayfabe, in its structure, relates closely to the autism or Asperger’s condition, where the slippage between what is seen and what is named resists even temporal registration into contextual narrative. Individuals with these disorders may construct densely plotted, hand-rendered epics resembling storyboards or pictograph friezes not to express or communicate, but to slow reception of a delirious exterior world where language and appearance never align.

Kayfabe (pronounced kay-fabe) is a term pro wrestling insiders use for active plot, storyline, and events inside the ring. A broken kayfabe applies to an incident in the match that temporarily ruptures the fourth wall between the wrestlers and an audience that expects a continuation of the agreed action that the sport’s emotional and physical content is real. Aficionados of wrestling have detected a growing trend of these, perhaps, intentional lapses within the ring and speculate online how it will alter the future of the industry. Keren Shavit’s Broken Kayfabe project occupies a similar, convulsive space between the documented fact and the elaborate action it purports to illustrate.

Light Work at The Photography Show 2018, Presented by AIPAD

Light Work is proud to exhibit at the longest-running exhibition dedicated to the photographic medium, The Photography Show presented by AIPAD, April 5-8, 2018 at Pier 94 in New York City.

Find us at The Photography Show to view and purchase limited-edition prints from our Fine Print Program, as well as a selection of signed photobooks. All purchases will begin or renew your subscription to Contact Sheet!

For a preview of what we’ll be showing, visit our profile on Artsy.

See you soon, NYC!