Light Work Announces 2022 Grants in Photography

Light Work announces the 48th annual Light Work Grants in Photography. The 2022 award recipients are Carlton Daniel, Jr., Lacey McKinney, and Sarah Phyllis Smith. Additionally, judges awarded Honorable Mentions to Bridget Badore, Christine Chin, and Joshua Ives. The Light Work Grants in Photography are part of Light Work’s ongoing effort to provide support and encouragement to Central New York artists working in photography within a fifty-mile radius of Syracuse. Daniel and McKinney hail from Syracuse in Onondaga County and Smith from Utica in Oneida County.

Established in 1975, the Light Work Grants program is one of the longest-running photography fellowships in the country. Each recipient receives a $3,000 stipend and appears in Contact Sheet: The Light Work AnnualA group exhibition of grant recipients’ work will be on view in the Hallway Gallery as part of the opening exhibition for the Fall 2022 season. This year’s judges were Ryan Arthurs (visual artist, curator, and founder of Rivalry Projects), Tara Johnson  (Visuals Director at Vanity Fair), and Efrem Zelony-Mindell (curator, writer, artist, and contributor to DEAR DAVE, FOAM, Rocket Science Magazine, SPOT, and Unseen). 

Light Work is pleased to announce this year’s grant recipients:

Carlton Daniel, Jr. (Syracuse, Onondaga County)

Carlton Daniel, Jr. imagines Black futurity through his lens as a queer storyteller. Daniel’s multidisciplinary approach engages, interrogates, and is grounded in Afro-diasporic identity, sexuality, and Black love. He navigates storytelling through film, photography, and innovative technologies, using the camera to document the lived experiences of Black Americans. By using the past to inform our present, and the present to inform our future, he envisions worlds that center joy, healing, and care. 

Lacey McKinney (Syracuse, Onondaga County)

Lacey McKinney’s solo and duo exhibitions include the Everson Museum of Art (Syracuse), Mana Contemporary (Jersey City, NJ), and The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has shown her work throughout New York State, Virginia, and Washington, notably at NARS Foundation (Brooklyn), Novado Gallery (Jersey City, NJ), Pen & Brush (New York City), Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center (Auburn, NY), and Urban Zen (New York City). Numerous private collections hold her work, which has also appeared in ARTnews, Art Zealous, Cultured Magazine, and Huffington Post. Her residencies include Fremantle Arts Centre (Fremantle, Western Australia), McColl Center for Art + Innovation (Charlotte, NC), and Post Contemporary (Troy, NY). In 2020 the New York Foundation for the Arts awarded her a Keep NYS Creating grant.

Sarah Phyllis Smith (Utica, Oneida County)

Sarah Phyllis Smith is a photographer, educator, and assistant professor of photography at PrattMWP in Utica. Recent notable solo exhibitions include Respite at Whitespace in Atlanta, GA, and Where the Great Lakes Leap to the Sea at The Shed Space in Brooklyn, NY. She has also recently shown her work at Ground Floor Gallery (Nashville), Perspectives Gallery at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Roman Susan Gallery (Chicago), Space 204 at Vanderbilt University (Nashville), Wedge Projects (Chicago), and Whitespace Gallery (Atlanta). Online and print publications featuring her work include Don’t Take Pictures Magazine, From Here On Out, Incandescent Magazine, Lenscratch, Light Leaked, Musée Magazine, Silver Eye Center for Photography, and Vulgaris Magazine. The Iranian literary magazine, Dastan, featured her work on their cover. Smith also curates Study Hall, a pedagogical project and contemporary photography gallery at PrattMWP, where she recently presented at the national conference for the Society for Photographic Education. Smith has been invited to give a workshop at the Tasmeem 2022: Radical Futures conference in Doha Qatar.