Light Work is pleased to announce that the recipients for the 41st annual Light Work Grants in Photography are Allison Beondé, Thilde Jensen, and Costa Sakellariou. The Light Work Grants in Photography program is a part of Light Work’s ongoing effort to provide support and encouragement to artists working in photography. Established in 1975, it is one of the longest-running photography fellowship programs in the country. Each recipient receives a $2,000 award, has their work exhibited at Light Work, and is published in Contact Sheet: The Light Work Annual. The judges for this year were Larissa Leclair (Founder, Indie Photobook Library), Ryan Linkof (Assistant Curator, Los Angeles County Museum of Art), and Todd J. Tubutis (Executive Director, Blue Sky, the Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts).
Allison Beondé is a visual artist currently living in Syracuse, NY. She holds her BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in partnership with Tufts University. She has exhibited work in the Boston area and is the recipient of a 2015 Traveling Fellowship through the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The project I have submitted explores one small fraction of the Roswell Incident – the famous UFO sighting of 1947. I’m captivated by the way that this fictionalized, and historic moment has been passed down and shifted over time, with the key witness morphing his testimony throughout his own life. Utilizing various modes of image making (from constructing a camera to produce unique abstractions, to working digitally, and collecting found imagery), I’m considering with the ways in which a photograph can exist as an image, a piece of evidence, a physical object, and a falsification. In working on this series, I’m looking to tie together details and elements of the story of this famous sighting, while creating a new, poetic, and thoughtful narrative of my own.
— Allison Beondé
Thilde Jensen was born in Denmark and moved to New York City in 1997. Six years later, her life and career as a documentary and editorial photographer was cut short by a sudden development of severe Environmental Illness. Thilde Jensen’s first monograph, The Canaries, is about Environmental Illness and was published in 2013. It has since received much international acclaim. Her book was selected by many as one of the best photobooks of the year 2013. The Canaries was shortlisted for the Paris Photo/Aperture Foundation First Photobook Award 2013, longlisted for the Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards 2014, nominated for the Kassel Best Photobook Award 2014, and is in the collection at MoMA. The project has been exhibited in solo shows at Light Work, Syracuse, New York and The Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York; featured in The New York Times, Esquire Russia, Wired.com rawfile, Vision Magazine China, Business Insider, Slate.com; and selected for Slate.com’s “Best Photography Shows of 2012.” The Canaries was featured in the TONY:2012 exhibition at The Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York. Jensen is a current NYFA Fellowship recipient.
In the shadows under highways and abandoned buildings they survive. We see the homeless in passing and are reminded of the abyss that awaits us if we were to slip and fall. Who are these people and what brought them here?
Some take to the street in their teens escaping the dysfunction and abuse of broken homes. While others were hard working men and women for whom a death of their loved ones, divorce, illness or job loss has caused their lives to fall apart. There are war veterans suffering from PTSD, ex-inmates with no place to go, the mentally ill and a growing number of people living in poverty in areas where housing cost has reached such highs that a minimum wage job could never hope to pay the actual cost of living. For many long-term homeless drugs and alcohol become the escape, what keeps them going in a constant hustle for money to dull the pain of being alive. Regardless of the individual reasons, it is hard not to see homelessness in America as a failure of a capitalistic system that values profit over human welfare.
— Thilde Jensen
Costa Sakellariou is a photographer currently living and working in Binghamton, NY. From the mid-1980s until 1992, he was a working photographer based in Athens, Greece; Islamabad, Pakistan; and New Delhi, India. His clients were the weekly news magazines and his work was represented by JB Pictures in New York City. In 1992, he began work on a long term project on the dwindling Greek population of Istanbul, Turkey. The project was published as a book titled The Last Greeks of Istanbul, and was one of the first photobooks to be published in Greece. The Benaki Museum plans to acquire a portfolio of the work for their permanent photography collection. In 1998, Sakellariou and his wife moved to Binghamton, NY. A year later, he began teaching photography at Binghamton University where he continues to teach today.
Crumbling and cracked concrete, empty strip malls and a shrinking population bedevil the struggling post-industrial cities of the Rust Belt. These images, made along the Southern Tier in upstate New York, are a snapshot of a region whose high water mark was reached decades earlier when living was good and paternalistic companies like IBM dominated life hereabouts. Following the siren call of higher profits, they eventually migrated, leaving the region in decline.
There is no bustling chaos of street life here for the photographer! In some instances, it is the intersections of telephone poles and wires, white lines of crosswalks and the harsh shadows of a late afternoon sun along an empty street that become the building blocks for street images.
These images seek to weave conscious and unwitting relationships of people to their environments who have become enmeshed in the bright line finder. All of these photographs in this series are to be limited to the urban-scapes of the Southern Tier.
— Costa Sakellariou
For more information about the Light Work Grants in Photography, including past recipients and how to apply, please visit www.lightwork.org/grants