The Light Work Grant is one of the oldest photography fellowship awards in the United States. Every spring Light Work awards three grants of $1000 to photographers, critics, and photo-historians residing within a fifty mile radius of Syracuse. The twenty-sixth Annual Light Work Grants were awarded in the spring of 2000 to three photographers:
Doug DuBois (Syracuse) was awarded a grant for his three series of large-scale prints, Winners, Motorini, and Motorsai. Winners is a series of posed portraits of successful players in games of chance and skill from the midway at the New York State Fair. In a publication that accompanied the recent exhibition of DuBois’s work at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, Thomas Piché, Jr., senior curator of the Museum, connects this series to the work of August Sander, relating it to Sander’s Man of the Twentieth Century. Piché wrote, “Like Sander’s subjects, Winners can be read for specific information about these people at this fair.”
Motorini, a collection of images of motor scooter riders in Florence, was photographed in July 1999. DuBois notes, “Florence has the highest number of Vespa-type motor scooters in Europe. The streets are narrow and the motorini can navigate the traffic with great ease but more importantly with the intimacy of a high-speed stroll. This spectacle of motorized flaneurs was photographed somewhat discreetly from the pedestrian sidewalk.”
DuBois approached the motorsai of Bangkok in a completely different manner, confrontationally. Bangkok, according to DuBois, has the worst and riskiest traffic in the world. There was risk involved in photographing the motorsai as well. DuBois ran out into traffic and crouched directly in front of the motorcycles as they paused at long stoplights. Through this series, DuBois presents several issues including the emerging global economy, class, and national identity.
Doug DuBois is an assistant professor in the Art Media Studies Department at Syracuse University. His work has been exhibited at S.F. Camerawork, San Francisco, California; Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; Bridge Center for Contemporary Art, El Paso, Texas; Columbus Museum of Fine Arts, Columbus, Ohio; and the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York.
Michael Patrick Demmy (Johnson City) combines original and appropriated images with wood, iron, canvas, sheet metal, and copper, to create a “library” of visual information in his installation Narrative Mythological Structures. From this library of information, Demmy says he begins “making connections,
comparisons, and metaphorical jumps beyond its mere subject matter. It is like a word that combines with other words, then other sentences, to produce a complex thought.” As a speaker repeats a word to add emphasis, Demmy repeats images to strengthen connections. In The Fall he repeats the images of two women, a nun in full habit and another with wind blown hair, to contrast the perceptions of good and evil. Earth’s biosphere
provides the visual information for Surface; images of divers, airplanes, swimmers, and fish carry us between strata and from conscious to subconscious thought.
Demmy is a photographer and business owner. His work has been included in exhibitions at the Parsons School of Design, New York, New York; Natura Morte, New York, New York; and State of the Art Gallery, Ithaca, New York.
Carol Golemboski (Ithaca) hand tones silver gelatin prints of items she says “are especially worn, such as old toys and
garments, as well as objects that echo the shape of the human form.” These remnants of life are grouped with beads, shells, leaves, cages, and stuffed birds into allegorical tableaux. She then incises lines and words into the photo emulsion. Striving to create an unsolvable mystery within a believable situation, Golemboski uses nonsensical text to disquiet the viewer and cause anxiety. Like vanitas painting, in which everyday items such as fruit,
flowers, and timepieces are held as emblems of life’s actions and occurrences, Golemboski’s images also relay the inevitability of the passage of time. Golemboski says this work is her response “to emotions that cannot be accurately described in verbal terms,” but seem to relate to life’s greatest fear, death.
Golemboski is an assistant professor in the Cinema and Photography Department at Ithaca College. Her photographs are included in the permanent collections of Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, and the Taylor Arts Center in Hampton, Virginia. She has exhibited widely, including Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana; Anderson Gallery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia; Amarillo College, Amarillo, Texas; and Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.
We congratulate the grant recipients and wish to thank the 2000 grant selection panelists: Vincent Cianni, an artist and instructor of photography at the Parsons School of Design, and artist Dinh Q. Lê of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
The Light Work Grants in Photography program, founded in 1973, is one of the longest-running photography fellowships in the United States. This program awards three grants to photographers, critics, or photo-historians who reside within a fifty-mile radius of Syracuse, NY. The purpose of these grants is to encourage the creation of new work and scholarship in the Central New York community. Light Work congratulates the recipients of the thirty-first Annual Light Work Grants in Photography: Luke Buffenmyer, Doug DuBois, and Steven Skopik.
Luke Buffenmyer (Syracuse) received the Light Work Grant in recognition of his landscape series The Land Viewed, reflecting on the historical in a digital landscape. The work from this series features hand-manipulated black-and-white images that reference the nineteenth century landscape. They question such ideas as the premise of originality and authorship in photography. Buffenmyer says that these images reflect his “fascination with the beauty of the photographic print yet speak to my need for intellectual justification.” The images are about “context, illusion, reality, nostalgia, and a sense of place.”
Buffenmyer has worked as a photography instructor at various universities and art organizations since 1987, most recently at Colgate University. His work has been exhibited nationwide, and has appeared in various publications.
Doug DuBois (Syracuse) has been photographing his family for the past twenty years. The photographs submitted by DuBois were made between 2003 and 2005. The portraits and still lives allude to each family member’s emotional life and private traumas. They speak to his parent’s aging and subsequent divorce, as well as his sister’s experience as a single parent. While the work as a whole serves as a chronicle of DuBois’ family, the incidental rituals and experiences of family life remain largely outside the frame leaving the photographs to trace the effects.
DuBois is a professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University. He has exhibited his work and lectured nationwide. In addition, his work has been published in a variety of books and magazines. His Web site can be found at www.dougdubois.com.
Steven Skopik (Ithaca) submitted work from his series titled Tokyo Totems. Produced in collaboration with fellow artist Danny Guthrie, these images feature traditionally-made photographs of Tokyo’s urban landscape digitally collaged with non-photo based graphic elements. The work draws from product packaging, books, pamphlets, newspapers, print media, and historical Japanese calligraphic texts to create images featuring both graphic and photographic elements. The final images depict both traditional and contemporary architecture, commercial signage, and infrastructural objects. While at first the images feel foreign and exotic, the ability to read certain signs in the sea of Japanese language (a Coca-Cola sign, for example) helps the Western audience to understand the global consumer culture of Japan.
Skopik is the chair of the Cinema and Photography Department at Ithaca College. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States, and he has received numerous fellowships, grants, and awards.
In addition to the Light Work Grants in Photography, two Director’s Choice Awards were also awarded to Dale Pierce and Gary Walts. This award recognizes photographers who have consistently produced work of a high quality and who have been committed to working in Central New York.
Light Work would like to congratulate the 2005 grant recipients and extend a special thank you to our judges: Martin Kollár, Katharine Kreisher, and Kanako Sasaki.
Martin Kollár participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in April 2005. He travels the world photographing extraordinary moments in everyday life.
When not traveling, Kollár lives in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Katharine Kreisher is a professor of photography at Hartwick College. She is a founding member of the Round House Press, and her work has been exhibited nationwide. Her work is part of the permanent collections of The Center for Photography at Woodstock and Albany Institute of History and Art, among others.
Kanako Sasaki participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in March 2005. Her exhibition View from Here was then featured at the Light Work main gallery the fall. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and she recently launched her own clothing line. She divides her time between New York City and Tokyo.