The Light Work Grants in Photography program, founded in 1973, was designed to encourage the creation of new photographic work and scholarship in the Central New York community. Each year three grants are awarded to photographers, critics, or photo-historians who reside within a fifty-mile radius of Syracuse, NY. The Light Work Grants in Photography program is one of the longest-running photography fellowships in the United States. Light Work congratulates the recipients of the Thirty-Second Annual Light Work Grants in Photography: Laura Heyman, Thilde Jensen, and Rishi Singhal.
Laura Heyman (Syracuse, NY) submitted work from her series The Photographer’s Wife, which presents a female subject gazing intimately at the camera, suggesting an artist making images of their lover. However, Heyman performs the role of both photographer and subject, further complicating the already tricky relationship between artist and model. In making use of this visual trope, she appropriates the male gaze and examines the history of images made by male artists of their wives and lovers, specifically referencing portraits of Georgia O’Keefe, Eleanor Callahan, and Edith Gowin, while playing with various photographic conventions, such as travel and sensual imagery.
Heyman is an assistant professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, teaching courses in photography and critical theory. Her work has been shown internationally including recent exhibitions at the Deutsch Polen Institute in Darmstadt, Germany; and Ampersand International Arts in San Francisco, CA.
Thilde Jensen (Truxton, NY) submitted work from her series Human Canaries. The images are a personal account of the life she has lived with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, and the people she has met who suffer the same condition. People with this sensitivity have been dubbed “human canaries,” and they are the casualties of what Jensen calls a “ubiquitous synthetic chemical culture.” Jensen became so sensitive to chemicals in the air that she could not be in traffic, read a book, or sit next to someone wearing perfume. She was forced to wear a gas mask when entering banks, supermarkets, and doctor’s offices. She left her life in New York City, her husband, and her career, and moved to the country where she lives in a tent away from regular chemicals such as laundry detergents, pesticides, and exhaust.
Before developing Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Jensen worked as an editorial photographer for numerous magazines, including Newsweek, Details, and Blender, among others. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and featured in articles in Doubletake/Points of Entry and I.D. Magazine.
Rishi Singhal (Ithaca, NY) has traveled the world photographing his series Condition of Urbanity since 2004. His work explores the natural and built environments, and their interrelationship. He is particularly interested in certain transient zones within urban environments, where the inherent dualities of subsistence constantly refer to the transforming world order, both physically and metaphorically Singhal photographed this series first in Western Europe, and then in New Delhi, India, followed by Central New York. He has photographed rapidly growing cities with booming economies, as well as cities struggling under loss of jobs to offshore agencies, urban and social planning failures, and industry closure. Singhal received his MFA in Art Photography from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. His work has been exhibited internationally, including exhibitions in China and India.
Light Work would like to congratulate all of the winners of the Thirty-Second Annual Grants in Photography, and extend a special thank you to our judges: Lonnie Graham, Lisa Robinson, and Marni Shindelman.
Lonnie Graham participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in 2000. He was named Pennsylvania State Artist of the Year in 2005. He is currently a professor of visual and integrative arts at Pennsylvania State University, and an instructor of special programs at the Barnes Foundation. Lisa Robinson participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in February 2006. She lives in Jackson Heights, NY, has been photographing snowscapes since 2003. She looks for man-made, singular objects blanketed in heavy layers of snow. Marni Shindelman is an assistant professor of art and an associate of the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Rochester. Her work ranges from printmaking to photographic imagery to sculpted soap. It incorporates found hypertexts, medical myths, and news events with icons of the banal.