COVID-19 Precaution: Cancellations and Limited Hours

In response to concerns around COVID-19 and in accordance with a directive issued Tuesday, March 10, 2020, by Syracuse University’s Chancellor and President, Kent Syverud, Light Work, a member of the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers (CMAC) at Syracuse University, will cancel all scheduled receptions and artist talks from Friday, March 13 through Monday, March 30, 2020.  During this period, Light Work Lab will temporarily maintain limited hours of operations and will continue to run classes and workshops. We will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. 


Thursday, March 26, 5 to 7 p.m. The Eyelid Has Its Storms. . . reception and talk with exhibiting artist Pacifico Silano

Thursday, March 26, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Newhouse Photography Annual 2020 opening reception

Friday, March 27, 5:15 to 7 p.m. Political Listening: The Forensic Turn in Art and Architecture screening and Q&A  filmmaker Ana Naomi de Sousa

Keep an eye on our website and social media platforms for the most up-to-date information regarding forthcoming events. We are resolute in our efforts to reschedule or offer virtual engagement alternatives for the events on our March calendar. Thank you for your and understanding and patience in this trying time.

For more information or questions on Light Work and Urban Video Project programming, contact Light Work at or 315.443.1300.

Light Work at Paris Photo New York 2020 / Booth P1

With great excitement, Light Work is presenting a curated selection of works from acclaimed photographers at Paris Photo New York 2020, the world’s largest international art fair dedicated to the photographic medium. This event runs April 2-5, 2020, at Pier 94 and you can find Light Work in Booth P1.

Join us in the Publisher and Photography-related Business section to celebrate and collect photography in print and photobooks. Visitors will find an exciting catalog of signed, limited-edition fine prints from photographers such as Ann Hamilton, Mark Klett, Justine Kurland, Wayne Lawrence, Andrea Modica, Xaviera Simmons, Rodrigo Valenzuela, William Wegman, James Welling, Letha Wilson, and many more.

Additionally, Light Work selections boast award-winning signed photobooks from Andres Gonzalez, Gregory Halpern, Mahtab Hussain, Hank Willis Thomas, and Carrie Mae Weems.  Your purchase from Booth P1 at Paris Photo New York will support some of today’s most exciting image-makers!

Light Work’s mission is to provide direct support to emerging and under-represented artists working in photography and related media via residencies, grants, exhibitions, publications, and a community-access lab facility.

Collectors may preview Light Work’s catalog here.

Artist Conversation: Poulomi Basu in conversation with Fred Ritchin
Thursday, April 2, 4PM 

Paris Photo’s The Artist Talks will present 2020 Louis Roeder Discovery Prize recipient Poulomi Basu, on Thursday, April 2, at 4 p.m. Poulomi Basu, a multimedia artist, photographer, and visual activist, will be in conversation with Fred Ritchin, founding director of the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program at the School of the International Center of Photography. Their discussion will include Basu’s upcoming Rencontres d’Arles solo exhibition in France, the centering of activism and unflinching verisimilitude in her artist practice, and her recent residency at Light Work.

Book Signing: Centralia by Poulomi Basu
Saturday, April 4, 2-4PM
Pier 94 / Booth P1

Join Basu on Saturday, April 4, from 2 to 4 p.m., for a signing of Centralia, her award-winning photobook published by Dewi Lewis Publishing. Limited copies will be available, so arrive early to collect your personally signed book at Light Work’s booth (P1) in the Publisher and Photography-related Business section.

About Poulomi Basu and Centralia
Poulomi Basu is an Indian artist who has received wide attention for her advocacy work for the rights of women. In her practice, she explores how the formation of identity intersects with geopolitics to reveal the deep, often hidden power structures in our societies. She has exhibited internationally, was a Magnum Foundation Human Rights Fellow in 2012, won the Magnum Emergency Fund in 2016, and the 2020 National Geographic Explorer Grant. In war, truth is the first casualty. Basu’s book Centralia explores the unsteady relationship between reality and fiction and the forces that manipulate our perceptions of reality and truth. Through a blunt photographic vernacular, Basu exposes hidden crimes of war as an indigenous people fight for their survival.
About Paris Photo

Founded in 1997, Paris Photo has established itself in just over two decades as the leading fair for photography and image-based art by uniting 200 leading galleries and publishers to present vintage and modern works as well as the latest contemporary trends to a growing audience of more than 68,000 collectors, professionals, and enthusiasts. For schedule, tickets, and information about the fair, visit Paris Photo: New York website.

See You in NYC!

Re:Collection: Sophia Pennex on Rita Hammond

Visitors to our website are invited to explore thousands of photographic works and objects from the Light Work Collection in our online database that expands access of work by former Light Work artists to students, researchers, and online visitors. To coincide with the our collection website launch, we’re introducing a series on our blog called Re:Collection, inviting artists and respected thinkers in the field to select a single image or object from the archive and offer a reflection as to its historical, technical, or personal significance.

Today we’re sharing a reflection on Rita Hammond’s Images of a Girl series from Sophia Pennex. Pennex is a freshman in Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and Renée Crown Honors Program.

Rita Hammond’s photography series, Images of a Girl (1967), emphasizes the unguarded emotions of her subjects, caught unaware. Like many in the series, this image is raw and powerful, with a quality of suddenness. The organic and candid emotions of the young girl and the blurriness of the gentlemen in the background both attract the viewer’s attention. Co-author of the definitive book about Hammond’s work as well as her friend, Gina Murtagh told me that this image reminds her of a Martin Scorsese film. The men surrounding the girl create a sense of danger, yet she has a slightly defiant look on her face. Murtagh describes the face as young and impressionable.

But the street photography qualities of this image make it hard to tell what is actually happening in this scene. Murtagh described street photography as always trying to catch something and this image embodies this idea. The girl in the front—who is, in fact, one of Hammond’s long-time friends, Lynn Moser—is the only subject in focus. The setting of a busy street, likely 42nd street, and the background of people in motion, give the photograph an overall rushed tone. The juxtaposition of Moser’s in-focus face and startled expression with the rushing, blurry background crowd, provokes our speculation about what may just have happened and what the emotions on Moser’s face actually mean. This image makes us feel a personal connection to Moser. The interesting thing about such identification with Moser is that this experience—a momentary glimpse of a stranger in passing—is not new to us, yet how often do we develop these connections and interests in others?  Others constantly surround us—at least if we occupy an urban environment—but how often do we actually look at each other?

We walk by other people many times in a day. Whether we are in a city or on campus, we are almost always near other people, but constant proximity is not the same as constant human contact. Sure, we may smile or wave to a friend or neighbor, but greeting a stranger is uncommon. As I walk through campus, I see many stone cold and dismissive faces. Everyone seems so engrossed in their own thoughts that I start to feel invisible.

This image captures the experience of escalating mutual invisibility. Our constant, self-absorbed hustle deadens our curiosity about the lives of others. Yet without our attention, other people may start to feel unseen too, turning ever more inward. This is a vicious cycle. However, Rita Hammond encourages us to break this cycle. Her images seize us abruptly and demand we look at one another and makes us realize that we are not alone in this chaotic world.

Find more of Rita Hammond’s work online here.

Explore the Light Work Collection online at

Announcing the 2020 Light Work Artists-in-Residence

Light Work is excited to announce the 2020 Artists-in-Residence: David Alekhuogie, Farah Al Qasimi, Sophie Barbasch, Poulomi Basu, Melissa Catanese, Arko Datto, Alanna Fields, Tarrah Krajnak, Jan McCullough, Harold Mendez, Star Montana, Christie Neptune, and Leonard Suryajaya. This assembly of photographers from across the world represent various approaches to photographic technique, and as part of their photographic practice they explore unique social, political, cultural or personal narratives.

“This diverse group represents the breadth of important and innovative work being made in the field today,” said Light Work Director Shane Lavalette. “We are excited about their visions—the stories, ideas, and issues addressed through their images—and the creative risks they are taking with the medium of photography. We look forward to having them all in Syracuse soon!”

Every year Light Work invites between twelve and fifteen artists to come to Syracuse to devote one month to creative projects. Residency program participants have the opportunity to use their month to pursue their own projects: photographing in the area, scanning, printing for a specific project or experimenting with a new photographic technique. 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.

This year, we’re very happy to partner with two international arts organizations in support of two of our artists. Autograph in London, U.K. has sponsored the residency of Poulomi Basu, the latest for a collaboration extending back to 1996. Additionally, the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in Dublin, Ireland has sponsored the residency of Jan McCullough. As part of this new exchange in IMMA for 2020, we’re pleased to share that former Light Work Artist-in-Residence Suné Woods will be completing a residency in Ireland next year.

We are pleased to announce the 2020 Light Work Artists-in-Residence!

David Alekhuogie

Farah Al Qasimi

Sophie Barbasch

Poulomi Basu

Melissa Catanese

Arko Datto

Alanna Fields

Tarrah Krajnak

Jan McCullough

Harold Mendez

Star Montana

Christie Neptune

Leonard Suryajaya

See past Artists-in-Residence at
Applications are now open for 2021. Apply at

Announcing the Light Work Photobook Award 2019

Then came Sandy Hook. I remember the day vividly, the complicated emotions embedding themselves and lingering for a long time. Over the following year, I thought seriously about the ways we absorb and synthesize this kind of trauma as a culture, and about how I could begin to approach it as a storyteller. I started visiting sites of mass shootings—from Columbine to Sandy Hook—in an attempt to find the meaning behind this confounding accumulation of grief. — Andres Gonzalez

We are pleased to announce Andres Gonzalez as the recipient of the 2019 Light Work Photobook Award. His monograph American Origami,” co-published by Light Work and Fw:Books, is brilliantly designed by Hans Gremmen. Light Work gives the Photobook Award annually to an artistic project that deserves international attention. As with all of Light Work’s programs, in selecting the artists for this recognition we seek to highlight emerging and underrepresented artists who come from diverse backgrounds.

American Origami presents an unusual and moving reflection on the complexity of a seemingly endless cycle of gun violence in America—a timely publication that is visually striking, poetic, and painful,” said Light Work Director Shane Lavalette. “We are pleased to present Andres Gonzalez with the 2019 Photobook Award, for this powerful project.”

Reflecting on his selection for this year’s award, Gonzalez said, “I am extremely honored to be awarded this year’s Light Work Photobook Award. I arrived at Light Work in 2017 with a backpack full of hard drives and negatives not knowing what was to come of my time at the residency. A month later, with the help and feedback from the Light Work staff, I had a book dummy ready to print. It makes me so very happy to come back full circle and have Light Work co-publish American Origami with Fw:Books.

Andres Gonzalez
American Origami
Fw:Books/Light Work, 2019
Softcover, 384 pages
ISBN: 978-94-90119-81-2
First Edition
Signed by the artist

Andres Gonzalez’s raw project closely examines the epidemic of mass shootings in American schools. His collection of first-person interviews, condolence items, ephemera, and blunt images—made and archival—coalesce in this compelling photobook, depicting a country that violence has sometimes overwhelmed. Gonzalez elaborates, “The varied elements repeat and fold into each other, illuminating the relationship between myth-making and atonement.” American Origami takes the reader on a visual journey of shared grief that illuminates moments of beauty and brings into focus the moral questions inherent in acts of collective healing.

Andres Gonzalez is an educator, photographer, and visual artist living in Vallejo, California. His current work synthesizes in-depth research and the poetics of photography, looking for truths behind the fictional, mythic aspects of American history. He is a graduate of Pomona College and received his MA in Visual Communications from Ohio University in 2004. Gonzalez is a Fulbright Fellow and was selected as one of PDN’s 30. He has also received recognition from the Pulitzer Center, the Magenta Foundation, the Alexia Foundation, and his work has been exhibited internationally. Gonzalez participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in October 2017.

Pre-order a first edition SIGNED copy of our 2020 Book Collectors Offer American Origami by Andres Gonzalez and you will also receive a complimentary subscription to Contact Sheet (a $115 value) for only $75!

Light Work Awarded $100,000 Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has honored Light Work with a $100,000 multi-year programming grant. Distributed over the next two years, these funds will support Light Work’s renowned residency and exhibition programs, offering support and visibility to emerging and under-recognized artists working in photography and image-based media. This is the second Warhol Foundation grant that the forty-six year-old arts institution has received, following the first in 2015. Light Work extends our congratulations to all the other grant recipients for their great contributions in the field.

The highly-coveted Andy Warhol Foundation grants focus on serving the needs of artists by funding the institutions that support them. In total, 42 organizations nationwide will receive more than $3.6 Million in support of scholarly exhibitions, publications, and visual arts programming, including artist residencies and new commissions.

“We’re extremely grateful to the Warhol Foundation for their recognition of Light Work as one of the leading arts organizations in the country,” said Light Work Director Shane Lavalette. “With their ongoing funding of our programs, we will continue to focus on our mission of providing direct support to artists.”

One testament to Light Work’s artist-centered mission comes from award-winning photographer, author, curator, and former artist-in-residence Debra Willis, who reflected on the benchmark importance of the organization in her early career, “During my month-long residency at Light Work I discovered what many artists had already known — Light Work is a place where photographers are embraced, supported and treasured. Whenever photographers talk to me about their work and the place where they feel most comfortable, Light Work is evoked as a spiritual-like place where photographers can be totally involved in their work.”

In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, The Andy Warhol Foundation’s mission is the advancement of the visual arts. The Foundation’s primary focus in making grants is to support the creation, presentation, and documentation of contemporary visual art, particularly work that is experimental, under-recognized, or challenging in nature, emphasizing that the Foundation “believes that arts and culture are a fundamental part of an open, enlightened society.” The Foundation manages an innovative and flexible grants program while also preserving Warhol’s legacy through creative and responsible licensing policies and extensive scholarly research for ongoing catalogues raisonnés projects. To date, the Foundation has given more than $200 million in cash grants to more than 1,000 arts organizations in 49 states and abroad and has donated 52,786 works of art to 322 institutions worldwide. For more information, see

For more on the selected organizations and projects receiving funding read the online announcement and browse the the Awarded Grants page.

Light Work Welcomes New Lab Manager

Today, Light Work welcomes Dan Boardman as its lab manager. Boardman begins his position July 16 and replaces long-time lab manager Amrita Stützle. Stützle leaves the position after four years to pursue a Masters Degree in Fine Art at the University of Pennsylvania. We wish her much success in her academic pursuits and future exhibitions and projects.

Dan Boardman is not a new face at Light Work. We got to know him and his work during his month-long residency in 2015. He has exhibited internationally and is a founding director of Houseboat Press, an award-winning publisher of artists’ books. Over the years he has fostered a relationship with our organization as a service member in our community-access DIY digital services lab.

“We are excited to welcome Dan back to Light Work as the community lab manager,” says Shane Lavalette, director of Light Work. “Dan’s past experience brings together technical expertise with a passion for working with others on creative projects, aligning with Light Work’s ethos of artists supporting artists. We look forward to working with Dan to continue serving the vibrant photography community in Central New York and beyond, and bringing Light Work Lab into the future.”

Our new lab manager reciprocates our own excitement and enthusiasm. “It is with great pleasure that I join the team at Light Work as Lab Manager,” says Boardman. “I’m looking forward to continuing the mission of serving artists working with photography. I believe strongly in this mission. In 2015 as an artist-in-residence I was able to see first-hand the care, dedication, and expertise of the entire staff at Light Work. I am honored to be able to join this team. I’m excited to get to know Light Work’s community both here in Syracuse and all over the world.”

Dan Boardman lives in Brutus, NY. Boardman received a BFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2008 and his MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2012. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally and has work in both public and private collections. In 2016, Aperture short-listed Boardman for their PhotoBook Award and he was a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellow in 2013. Recent exhibitions include 321 Gallery in Brooklyn, Harvard University, Mills Gallery at the Boston Center for the Arts, Musée des Beaux-Arts in Le Locle, Switzerland, Sad Gallery in Seattle, and The Photography Gallery at Riley Hall, University of Notre Dame.

Re:Collection: Pacifico Silano on Robert Benjamin

Visitors to our website can now explore thousands of photographic works and objects from the Light Work Collection in a new online database that expands access of work by former Light Work artists to students, researchers, and online visitors. To coincide with the our new collection website launch, we’re introducing a series on our blog called Re:Collection, inviting artists and respected thinkers in the field to select a single image or object from the archive and offer a reflection as to its historical, technical, or personal significance.

Today we’re sharing a reflection on Robert Benjamin’s Jaiya, 1984 from 2016 Light Work in-residence, Pacifico Silano.

If you’ve ever taken a Photography 101 class, you’re familiar with the cardinal rule: no pictures of babies or dogs. There’s something about how everyone likes them, and so that deems them “unserious” subject matter. And yet many photographers, over the course of their careers, will, at one point or another, break the rules and turn their camera to the family pet. We love to be disarmed by these images as they bring us a sense of levity in an increasingly divided and hostile world.

Robert Benjamin’s 1984 photograph, Jaiya, is a gentle reminder of the unconditional love we receive from our devoted, four-legged friends. A bed of grass fills the frame, the dog laying against it in the sun, with a glimpse of the photographer’s foot appearing in the lower right-hand corner. It’s an image that tells us of the simple pleasures in life like laying outside in the summer and briefly forgetting our troubles. We want to be as carefree and content as a dog, to not have to stress, worry, or live in fear for the future.

Find more of Pacifico Silano’s work online here.

Explore the Light Work Collection online at