Luke Buffenmyer
Untitled, from the series 'The Land Viewed: reflecting on the tradional in a digital landscape', 2004

7.5 in H x 9.5 in W
Image Notes
sheet 11 x 14"
Catalogue Number
Current Location

About the Artist

Luke Buffenmyer

BirthplaceChicago, IL
CitizenshipUnited States
Cultural HeritageEuropean-American
Light Work RelationshipLight Work Grant, 1987
Light Work Gallery, 1987
Light Work Grant, 2005
Light Work PublicationsContact Sheet 56
Contact Sheet 137


For a more recent CV or bio please visit the artist's website,

Luke Buffenmyer was born in Chicago, IL. Received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and MFA from the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University. He currently lives in Macon GA.


These images are a physical representation of my inner-feelings. They are about the world I live in. They are my visual reaction to the world condition. They reflect my inability to control the destiny of my children's lives (because of our societies overwhelming control, through government, media, religion, etc.).

The images involve combinations of elements, found, homemade and drawn, juxtaposed within a restricted space. I attempt to play one element off another both internally and externally (within each image and between the group of images). It is important that the images communicate intellectually as well as emotionally, creating tension between the elements, the image, and the viewer.

Beauty seduces the viewer into the image, opening up the possibility to see. I feel these images contain provocative subject matter capable of making the viewer think about what they have seen, to hopefully to see the world as I do, and if they do, I have in some way succeeded.

Luke Buffenmeyer (c) 1987

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

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.

Jessica Heckman