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2010 Light Work Grants in Photography announced

May 03, 2010

Jessica Heckman
(315) 443-1300

The 36th Annual Light Work Grants in Photography were recently awarded to three Central New York residents. The selected artists are Yasser Aggour, Ron Jude and Lida Suchy.

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. Light Work awards grants to photographers, critics and photo historians who reside in Central New York. The grants also aim to foster an understanding and appreciation for photographic arts in the area.

The Light Work Grant is a fellowship that includes a $2,000 cash award, an exhibition at Light Work and publication in “The Light Work Annual.” Applicants were required to submit 10 examples of their work along with a short application form. Three judges from outside the grant area then selected the recipients based on the merits of their work.

Yasser Aggour, Syracuse, Onondaga County

Aggour submitted photographs from two different series, “The Hunted” and “The History of Paradise.” In the images from “The Hunted,” Aggour collects photographs depicting hunters and the animals they have killed, and then manipulates them using imaging software to remove the hunter completely, resulting in portraits that defy easy categorization. In “The History of Paradise,” Aggour uses a collage technique to create images that, in his words, “transform the pedestrian into the seemingly mythic.” The images revolve around the themes of nature and destruction, violence and beauty, and death and immortality.

Aggour received both a B.A. in fine arts and a B.A. in political theory from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his M.F.A. from Yale University. His work has been exhibited internationally, and he is currently an assistant professor of photography in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Ron Jude, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Jude’s series “emmett” features images made during his youth in his home state of Idaho. The photographs are focused around the idea of living an average, working-class life in a rural mountain town in the 1980s and the struggle of the inevitable, looming blue-collar life. According to Jude, “Edited here nearly 30 years later, the somewhat accidental, experimental body of work has the cohesive qualities of a dream—memories reorganized into a fictionalized narrative, imagery suffused with both an unsettling melancholy and the prismatic glow of youthful reverie.”

Jude received a B.F.A. from Boise State University and an M.F.A. from Louisiana State University. His work has been exhibited internationally. He is represented by Blind Spot Artist Representation in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., and Gallery Luisotti in Santa Barbara, Calif. He previously received a Light Work Grant in 2001.

Lida Suchy, Syracuse, Onondaga County

Suchy received the Light Work Grant for her series “The Community Choir—Photographs by Lida Suchy.” The black-and-white portraits in this series, described by Suchy as “the antithesis to the celebrity portrait,” look closely at the members of the Syracuse Community Choir. The choir is based on the idea of inclusion and therefore offers brailled music, rides for people in wheelchairs and childcare, among other services, and always welcomes people from any race, ethnicity, gender, age and sexual orientation. According to Suchy, “The choir’s use of art and singing as tools to foster inclusiveness and community building are what initially inspired me to create these images.”

Suchy holds a B.A. from the University at Albany and an M.F.A. from Yale University. Her work has been exhibited internationally, and she has received numerous grants and awards.

The judges for the 2010 Light Work Grants competition were Sharon Bates, Shawn Records and Brian Ulrich.

Bates is director of the Art & Culture Program at the Albany International Airport. The Art & Culture Program has become a cornerstone for showcasing the breadth and quality of the arts throughout the Capital Region of New York and has made the airport a busy hub not only for travel but also for celebrating and learning about local culture. Through the program’s Airport Gallery, Concourse Galleries, the Exhibition Case Program and free public programming and group tours, the Art & Culture Program has extended the reach of area artists and museums to an audience of more than 3 million people per year.

Records has been photographing Gray’s Harbor in Southwest Washington State for the past three years. His series “Harbor” looks at both the decline and resurrection of this area, which has had more than its share of stumbles into the 21st century. A region known for incredible natural resources and beauty, Gray’s Harbor has also seen the failure of a declining logging industry, a nuclear power plant that foundered on the eve of opening, and the rise of meth use. Records received a B.A. from Boise State University and his M.F.A. from SU. His work has been exhibited internationally and is featured in numerous collections, including of the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and Portland Art Museum in Portland, Ore., among others. Records also oversees the Critical Mass portfolio reviews for Photo Lucida in Portland and is the president of the board. He was an artist-in-residence at Light Work in November 2009.

Ulrich’s photographic series “Copia” looks at the economic, cultural, social and political implications of consumerism, as well as the everyday activities of shopping. He received his B.F.A. from the University of Akron and his M.F.A. from Columbia College Chicago. His work has been exhibited internationally, most recently at Robert Koch Gallery in San Francisco. His work is included in numerous collections, including of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. He received the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 2009 for “Copia.” He was an artist-in-residence at Light Work in April 2010. He maintains the blog “Not If But When.”

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