Established in 1975, Light Work Grants in Photography recognize the work of three Central New York photographers every year. It is one of the longest running photography fellowships in the United States and provides direct support, opportunity, and visibility to regional artists working in photography. Recipients receive $2,000, a group exhibition in the Light Work Hallway Gallery, and publication in Contact Sheet: The Light Work Annual. The 2014 grant cycle was juried by Natasha Egan, executive director, Museum of Contemporary Photography; Taj Forer, co-founder, Daylight Books; and Paul Moakley, deputy photo editor, Time. For more information about Light Work Grants, visit lightwork.org/grants.
The 40th annual Light Work Grants in Photography recipients are Trevor Clement, Sebastian Collett, and Dan Wetmore. This year’s winners use photography as a tool to examine sites, characters, and narratives that define their lived experiences. These artists present three distinct approaches seeking to expand the blurry boundaries of perceived historical and emotional realities.
Trevor Clement’s Inverted Mountain includes an installation of objects and images, a handmade edition of a 400-page artist book, and an original hourlong avant-garde soundtrack. Clement’s work blends languages of hard-core punk / noise music, Dante’s Purgatorio, and sci-fi cinema to weave a meshed network of images, objects, and sound for a dystopian present-future. Inverted Mountain suggests a queer coming of age in tenderness and rage, an outsider finding identity and place in the chaos of a speculative city and society. In Clement’s words, the project is “a journey towards, and then through, an anonymous city: a location with a dual identity as both place and process.”
Trevor Clement is a visual artist, musician, and performance artist based in Syracuse, NY. His work has been shown at Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY; Spark Contemporary Art Space, Syracuse; and NoFound Photo Fair in Paris. Clement has performed in multiple hardcore-punk / noise groups across the United States. Recent work includes the production of ’zines and artist books, music, and maintainingBADLANDS, an all-ages, DIY art and music space in Syracuse.
The photographs from Sebastian Collett’s Vanishing Point revisit residual memories and desires from growing up gay in a small, college town in Ohio. On occasion of his twenty-year high school reunion, Collett returned to his hometown to find himself through still-familiar streets and archetypes of his youth. Collett describes himself as scouting for stand-ins for “those I had wanted, wanted to be, or was afraid to become.” Through his process of image making, Collett navigates the poetics of longing, becoming, and vanishing — lingering in the eternal process of finding oneself through time, place, and the gaze of other people.
Sebastian Collett is a photographer working in the United States and Berlin. He studied with Stephen Shore and Larry Fink at Bard College and earned his MFA from Hartford Art School. Collett is the recent recipient of a Source-Cord Prize and residencies at the Hambidge Center in Georgia and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. His work has been featured in Vice, Source Photographic Review, Fraction Magazine, Phases Magazine, and Darwin Magazine. Selected exhibitions include Aperture Gallery, New York, NY; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ; Kominek Gallery, Berlin, Germany; Duke University, Durham, NC; and Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA. His work is in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Light Work.
Dan Wetmore’s Jubilee Kitchen seeks language through the postindustrial mill towns of the Northeastern United States. He first experienced these landscapes as a child through the back seat window of his parents’ car: “I was taken by the furnaces and mills that lined parts of the rivers, often defunct, staggering in scale. In time, I would explore these sites intimately.” Jubilee Kitchen tenderly captures this postindustrial landscape: rich with color, character, and idiosyncrasy. Through his images, Wetmore pays careful attention to the quiet dialogue of nature, beauty, and endurance persisting through the bleak economic conditions that now define much of Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, New York, and Massachusetts. A passion for postindustrial landscape — informed by his personal history in Pittsburgh — frames much of Wetmore’s art practice.
Dan Wetmore is a photographer living and making art in Pittsburgh. He received his BFA from Syracuse University in 2013. Wetmore is completing two book projects, Jubilee Kitchen and Golden Dawn. He’s proud of his long brown hair and driving and maintaining a Volvo 740 station wagon.
Clement, Collett, and Wetmore each establish particular, divergent, and specific vernaculars of their worlds as they see them. This year’s Light Work Grants in Photography exhibition illustrates how photography frames and defines our lived experiences: delicately held in the present, suspended between captured pasts and imagined futures.
Jessica Posner is an artist, performer, arts educator, and worker. She teaches in the Department of Transmedia at Syracuse University and is the communications coordinator at Light Work. jessicaposner.com
The 45th Annual Light Work Grant recipients are Trevor Clement, Lali Khalid, and Reka Reisinger. Begun in 1975 and given each spring, the Light Work Grant is one of the oldest such fellowships in the US and spotlights our support and encouragement of Central New York photographers. Besides getting a $3,000 stipend, each winner appears in the fall season’s opening exhibition and in Contact Sheet: The Light Work Annual. The 2019 judges were Kimberly Drew (writer, curator, founder of Black Contemporary Art), Eve Lyons (photo editor, The New York Times), and David Oresick (executive director, Silver Eye Center for Photography).
Trevor Clement is a visual artist, musician, and performance artist in Syracuse. He combines photography with book art, installation, and sound. Clement’s sometimes gritty “aesthetic of no taboos” lets him remain open-minded in the face of orthodox photographic conventions of cleanliness, simplicity, and rigidity. He does see himself in dialog with three traditions: Japanese photography (Daido Moriyama, Masahisa Fukase), Western photography (Richard Billingham, William Klein, Nan Goldin), and more than forty years of hardcore punk and noise. He describes the untitled installation and individual images that comprise his grant project, DOUBLE HELL, as “how notes may combine to make a song or scenes in a movie.” Clement’s music projects include FAITH VOID, HUNTED DOWN, and WHITE GUILT, and he was a manager of the underground Syracuse music/art space, BADLANDS. He has exhibited locally at Spark Contemporary Art and across New York State, as well as at the Fotofanziner Fotobokfestival in Oslo (Norway), the NoFound Photo Festival in Paris, and the San Francisco Center for the Book. Clement also received a Light Work Grant in 2014.
“A lot of people like to make art about art,” said Clement. “I’d rather be taken on a journey outside of that world. I would be much happier with keeping the focus directly on the social, political, or aesthetic connotations of how my work is presented. This can still be oppositional, but I would prefer keeping the focus on what I do, rather than what I do not.” www.trevorclement.com
Lali Khalid is a visual artist living in Ithaca in the Finger Lakes. She holds a BFA in printmaking from the National College of Arts in Lahore (2003) and an MFA in Photography from Pratt Institute (2009), where she was a Fulbright Scholar. Khalid immigrated from Pakistan in 2011. Her work spans landscape, abstraction, and documentary photography, but centers on portraiture. She explores diaspora, identity, family, and home in her own life and in the lives of people she photographs. Her images depict cultural and private conflicts in the emotive effects of natural light. She has shown work in galleries across Europe, Pakistan, the US, and recently in Italy. Her photo essays have appeared in publications such as Art Now, Artnowpakistan, ArtAsiaPacific, F-STOP Magazine, Chasmjournal, and Saatchi Online. Khalid is an assistant professor of photography in Media Arts, Sciences, and Studies at Ithaca College.
“This work is about following. I follow myself with a camera and frame where I am,” she has said. “Through pictures of my family, personal journals, travels, and self-portraits, I document my personal experiences. The last couple of years have made me fathom and somewhat accept the difference others see. I have been in America since 2007, but somehow, I am still on the periphery, looking in. I am an outsider. Fighting the US legal system and recognizing what it means to be ‘the other’ has changed my approach to image-making.” www.lalikhalid.com
Reka Reisinger is a visual and historical archivist living in the Finger Lakes village of Burdett near Seneca Lake. She graduated from Bard College (2004) and holds an MFA in photography from Yale University School of Art (2007). A native of Budapest, Hungary, she still returns often to photograph her homeland. Reisinger uses a 4x5 camera to photograph her subjects in the midst of daily activities. She seeks to evoke a cultural atmosphere she experienced during childhood visits in the post-Communist era. In the serious, urgent, and “seemingly impossible task of documenting a moment recently passed,” Reisinger still finds humorous juxtapositions informed by her deep affection for Hungary. National and international group exhibitions include The Camera Club of New York, The Center for Photography at Woodstock, Lisa Ruyter Gallery in Vienna (Austria), the Midlands Art Center in Birmingham (UK), SculptureCenter in Long Island City, and the Swiss Institute in Manhattan, and a solo show at Real Artways in Hartford, CT.
“I had the opportunity to experience Hungary at a pivotal time in its history subsequent to its opening up to the West,” Reisinger says. “It was a unique period when antiquated traditions still persisted in the context of an increasingly modern world. I witnessed firsthand an era when women in my grandmother’s village still wore the traditional costume, a time before telephones and extensive highway systems, a time before shopping malls and mass media. Simultaneously, I observed the influx of Western culture and the Hungarian people’s varied reception and at times unusual interpretations of a lifestyle that was already familiar to me.” www.rekareisinger.com
Cjala Surratt is communications coordinator at Light Work.