Migdalia Valdes at Intersection

Former Light Work Artist-in-Residence (2005) Migdalia Valdes celebrates a decade of her daily photographic project with the exhibition Every Day in Black in White at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco. Valdez has made at least one photograph a day for the past ten years. The exhibition features prints from this diaristic practice and also elaborate journals made by Valdez in conjunction with the photographs. Visitors to the show can leaf through the journals for an intimate look at the artist’s creative process. The exhibit runs from April 4 to May 23, 2009.
Intersection for the Arts
446 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
415-626-2787

Change in Digital Technology Brings End for Color Processor

Like many institutions, Light Work has been debating the next steps for our darkrooms and digital labs. As a creative space for artists working in photography and related media, we have always listened to the need of our artists. We have made our best decisions by paying close attention to the ever changing needs of the photographers working in our public access facilities. Back in the early Eighties, Light Work decided to set up its first computer lab (with Amiga computers), when artists started coming to our Artist-in-Residence Program with projects that they were hand-programming into computers. Then, it was the artists, who showed us what all could be done with this emerging technology. By now much has changed. Gone are the days when computer art was a fringe art— raw and experimental. But we are also past the second wave of artists, who would come to us full of questions on how to get started with their first digital prints. Now we work mostly with artists who may or may not still be shooting with film, but all of whom want to print digitally. Some of them are still printing edition prints on Lambda printers using the color process, but almost none still hand-print color prints. In fact, the last pool of over 250 applications for the Light Work AIR Program not a single photographer requested to work on the color printer. So clearly it is time to rethink.

In the past we were decided to hold on to the color processor as long as possible. Enter “photography artist residency” and “color processor” in just about any search engine, and the search results lead directly to Light Work’s AIR program. But those days are coming to an end. Based on input by many different artists and the changing trend in artists needs, we have decided that the time is drawing near to say good-bye to our color processor. We have seen stunning prints roll off our Hope processor, and the technology served us well for decades. But the future clearly lies with the digital processes. Light Work’s digital lab, under the knowledgeable leadership of Digital Lab Manager John Mannion, is bursting at the seams in its section of Community Darkrooms. Meanwhile the color processor is only infrequently in use and most individual color darkrooms are collecting dust.

For those of you still printing black-and-white, rest assure that we will keep those wet labs going. The artist interest for black-and-white has held steady. For those of you working in digital or wanting to work in digital, keep an eye on our programs. We plan to expand workstation environments with Imacon film scanners, top-of-the-line computers, and viewing stations to our facilities. Printing exhibition-ready digital prints with Community Darkrooms will be easier than ever once we have reworked our space. Are we sad about the impending loss of our processor? A little. But the future for artists is brighter than ever. We keep seeing work like the photographs by Ben Gest that reinvent what is now possible through digital processes.

A few years ago, Christopher Secor curated the exhibition Digital Transitions from photographs in the Light Work Collection. The exhibition examined the changes in digital photography by looking at the work completed by Light Work’s Artists-in-Residence between 1990 and 2005. Secor describes, “The exhibition provides an enticing glimpse at digital photography’s young history as we look at these works and consider the digital transition taking place, with new technologies redefining what photography may become in the near and distant future.” As more and more artist work spaces are having to make similar decisions as Light Work has, we are already standing firmly in tthis time of change. We are ready, and we are looking forward to what is ahead.

(images: (left) Terry Gips, In the Forest, 1990,  (right) Ben Gest, Jessica and her Jewelry, 2005)

Techno_Culture at the Redhouse Arts Center

Sean Hovendick curated the refreshing exhibition Techno_Culture that just opened at the Redhouse Arts Center on April 16. The exhibition includes innovative work by artists Stephen Belovarich, Wafaa Bilal, Meggan Gould, Michael Heroux, Shawn Lawson, Olivia Robinson, Alicia Ross and Chris Prior. Syracuse does not have an abundance of exhibition spaces, so it is great when the existing galleries shine with exemplary exhibitions that are truly contemporary. In late May, the exhibition will be traveling to the Dowd Gallery at SUNY Cortland in an expanded version featuring additional artists.

We’ve known Sean for many years. He has taught at Light Work’s Community Darkrooms and recently redesigned our website. Somehow Sean finds the time to teach full-time at Syracuse University, make new work and curate exhibitions. We were pleasantly surprised that this exhibition includes Meggan Gould, who is scheduled to participate in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program this summer.

(image: Shawn Lawson, Surface Traversal, 2007)

Congratulations to Guggenheim Recipients

Suzanne Opton and Osamu James Nakagawa each received the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship Award. Suzanne received the award for her photographic series Soldier and Citizens. The work takes a closer look at the human side of the Iraq War. She started by photographing US soldiers at Fort Drum in Watertown, NY. She has since then traveled to Jordan to photograph Iraqis living there in exile.

James was awarded the Guggenheim award for his work on Banta (Cliff). His breathtaking, large-format images depict the emotionally laden rock fronts on the island of Okinawa that were the scene of war-related atrocities during WWII. He recently gave a lecture on the series at the National Conference for the Society of Photographic Education.

Both artists participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program. Suzanne participated in 2005. Her photographs in the Soldier series were first exhibited in her solo exhibition at Light Work in 2006. James came to Light Work as an Artist-in-Residence in 2002. He participated in our Fine Print Program the following year.

Reflections in Black: Lecture by Deborah Willis

Make sure that you’ve marked your calendar to attend the presentation Reflections in Black, which will be given by Deborah Willis this Wednesday, April 8, 4pm, at Maxwell Auditorium, The Maxwell School of Syracuse University. There will be a reception right before the talk, at 3:30pm, outside of Maxwell Auditorium.

The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will focus on the African American experience in Syracuse as depicted in photography. Willis will also speak about her collaboration, along with Dawoud Bey, Lonnie Graham, and Carrie Mae Weems, in the project Embracing Eatonville, a photographic survey of the oldest black incorporated town in America.

The lecture is sponsored by the South Side Initiative, Light Work, U.Encounter Grant, and the Onondaga Historical Association.

Myra Greene at the Gallery of the College of Staten Island

Myra Greene's image Stare Eyes
Former Light Work Artist-in-Residence (2004) Myra Greene is exhibiting her work in Cataloguing Attitudes: Contemporary Photography and the Archive, curated by Beatrix Reinhardt (also a former Light Work Artist-in-Residence) and Siona Wilson. The exhibit runs April 1 to May 14, 2009.

Gallery of the College of Staten Island
College of Staten Island
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, New York 10314
718-982-2553

Changing States of Memory: Dinh Q. Lê Lecture at MoMA

untitled image by dinh q le
On Thursday, April 2, 2009, at 6:30 pm, Dinh Q. Lê will be speaking at MoMA in the “Conversations with Contemporary Artists” series.

Dinh’s work has been exhibited worldwide in solo and group exhibitions and biennials including the 2008 Singapore Biennale and the 2006 Gwangju Biennial in South Korea. He is the co-founder of the Vietnam Art Foundation (VNFA), a Los Angeles–based organization that supports Vietnamese artists and promotes artistic exchange between cultural workers from Vietnam and around the world.

Dinh participated in Light Work’s artist-in-residence program in 2000.

The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 708-9400

Hot off the printer: Community Darkrooms

Community Darkrooms has been busily printing exhibition prints for Admas Habteslasie. The images are now featured in our exhibition Limbo that opened March 16.

It’s a rarely mentioned secret that Light Work/Community Darkrooms regularly prints entire exhibitions under the watchful eye of our digital lab manager John Mannion. These images end up in world-class museums and collections, like Susan Opton’s prints and banners (shown here being sewn together at Community Darkrooms) that will be exhibited at Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art contemporain in Great Expectations: Contemporary Photography Looks at Today’s Bitter Years from March 28-June 14, 2009.

When we print the work for our own exhibitions, we only have to move the prints across the hall for framing, yet more often than not these prints travel across the country and the world.

Admas Habteslasie: Limbo

Admas Habteslasie—Limbo
March 16–June 12, 2009
Spoken-Word Poetry Performance and Gallery Reception: April 9, 2009, 5:30–8:00pm

Light Work is pleased to announce the exhibition Limbo, featuring the work of Admas Habteslasie. The images from this series depict a graceful yet unusually honest and insightful snapshot of Eritrea, an East African country suspended in an unsettled state between war and peace.

Eritrea warred with neighboring Ethiopia for thirty years before gaining independence in 1991. Then, in 1998, they entered another war with Ethiopia that lasted two years. Today the war-torn country is yet again at the brink of war with their neighbor. Years of unrest have left the people of Eritrea waiting for life to improve. According to Habteslasie, “Transitory states become permanent; empty villas, destroyed old buildings and unfinished new buildings dot the landscape, monuments to the suspension of history. The collision between Eritrea’s proud historical narrative and the bleak ennui of the present has produced an obsessive focus on the future. Reconstruction and infrastructure development are energetically driven forward whilst the economy remains essentially shut off from the outside world.” The images in the Limboexhibition capture both destruction and construction, both the unhealed wounds of war and a fierce optimism and hope for a brighter future.

Habteslasie was born in Kuwait and his parents are Eritrean. He received his MA from the London College of Communication in photojournalism and documentary photography. His photographic projects look at the ideas of identity and history, and reevaluation of our relationship with historical process. His work has been exhibited at venues such as Flowers East and 198 Gallery in London. His work has also been published inSource Magazine.

Habteslasie participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in June 2008 through a collaboration with London-based charity Autograph ABP. Each year Light Work welcomes one Artist-in-Residence selected through Autograph ABP, which works internationally to educate the public about photography, with a particular emphasis on issues of cultural identity and human rights. Habteslasie was the tenth artist to participate in the Artist-in-Residence program through the collaboration. For more information about Autograph ABP visit www.autograph-abp.co.uk.

Light Work will feature an evening with the artist on April 9 from 5:30 to 8:00pm. The evening will begin with a spoken-word poetry performance by Verbal Blend, followed by a question and answer session with Habteslasie, and a gallery reception. Verbal Blend is a spoken-word poetry program sponsored by Syracuse University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, designed to enhance participants’ confidence in writing and performing original poems. The program comprises of a five-week workshop series on poetry forms and formats, journal entry, and peer-reviews. Participants get the opportunity to showcase their work at public venues such as open mic nights. For this event, a group of SU students, high school students, and community members have prepared spoken-word performances in response to Habteslasie’s images.

Also on view at this time is As it Happens: Artists-in-Residence at Light Work. This exhibition, curated by Syracuse University Museum Studies graduate student Josh Brilliant, features work by participants in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program. The exhibition celebrates Light Work’s commitment to supporting emerging and under-recognized artists by featuring work that has been donated to the Light Work Collection by participants in the program. Artists included in this exhibition include Kelli Connell, Cristina Fraire, Tony Gleaton, Suzanne Mejean, Peggy Nolan, Christine Osinski, and Amy Stein.

Gallery hours for these exhibitions are Sunday to Friday, 10am–6pm, and by appointment. To schedule an appointment, please call 315-443-1300. Both the exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. Paid parking is available in the Marion Parking Lot and Booth Garage.

Light Work invites groups and individuals to schedule tours and gallery talks of the exhibition and facility. Light Work is a non-profit, artist-run organization dedicated to the support of artists working in photography and electronic media. Light Work is a member of CMAC, the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers at Syracuse University.

For more information about any of these exhibitions, please contact Jessica Heckman at Light Work, 315-443-1300 or jhheckma@syr.edu.

**Digital press images and image information from both exhibitions are available upon request.

Artist Showcase: Images by Jane Walker

Artist Showcase: Images by Jane Walker
March 16–April 16, 2009
Spoken-Word Poetry Performance and Gallery Reception: April 9, 2009, 5:30–8:00pm

Light Work is pleased to announce the exhibition Artist Showcase: Images by Jane Walker on view in the Community Darkrooms Gallery. The images in this exhibition capture portraits of people with their animals. Walker grew up in Corning and has lived in the Finger Lakes region of New York most of her life. Her deep connection with the people and the land inform her environmental portraits of people and their pets.

According to Walker, there are three elements central to each of the images in this exhibition—the place, the person, and the animal. She states, “The most enjoyable aspect of this portrait process has been the time spent with the people. I slow down, think about who they are and see them. All my human subjects have been open and cooperative, patiently waiting as I attempt to get the image I want. Animals are not quite as accommodating, but they do help the person relax by sharing the spotlight. When I see my subject in a print, a persona I had not seen before will often emerge. It is that essence of the person I try to capture.”

Jane Walker lives in Freeville, NY with her husband, two daughters, five dogs, six canaries, toad, flock of chickens, herd of goats, a cat and, during the summer, turkeys, pigs, and a vegetable garden, all of which contribute to her passion for photographing people with their animals.

Light Work will feature an evening with the artists on April 9 from 5:30 to 8:00pm. The evening will begin with a spoken-word poetry performance by Verbal Blend, followed by a question and answer session with Admas Habteslasie, whose Limbo series is on view in Light Work’s main gallery. This event will be followed by a gallery reception. Verbal Blend is a spoken-word poetry program sponsored by Syracuse University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, designed to enhance participants’ confidence in writing and performing original poems. For this event, a group of SU students, high school students, and community members have prepared spoken-word performances in response to Habteslasie’s images.

Also on view at this time is As it Happens: Artists-in-Residence at Light Work. This exhibition, curated by Syracuse University Museum Studies graduate student Josh Brilliant, features work by participants in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program. The exhibition celebrates Light Work’s commitment to supporting emerging and under-recognized artists by featuring work that has been donated to the Light Work Collection by participants in the program. Artists included in this exhibition include Kelli Connell, Cristina Fraire, Tony Gleaton, Suzanne Mejean, Peggy Nolan, Christine Osinski, and Amy Stein.

Gallery hours for these exhibitions are Sunday to Friday, 10am–6pm, and by appointment. To schedule an appointment, please call 315-443-1300. Both the exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. Paid parking is available in the Marion Parking Lot and Booth Garage.

Light Work invites groups and individuals to schedule tours and gallery talks of the exhibition and facility. Light Work is a non-profit, artist-run organization dedicated to the support of artists working in photography and electronic media. Light Work is a member of CMAC, the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers at Syracuse University.

For more information about any of these exhibitions, please contact Jessica Heckman at Light Work, 315-443-1300 or jhheckma@syr.edu.

**Digital press images and image information from both exhibitions are available upon request.