25 Under 25
Photographer Quotes and Bios
November 2008

Will Steacy
After Katrina

While walking through New Orleans documenting the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I discovered family photographs strewn across the debris-ridden streets. The faces staring up at me from the pictures stopped me in my tracks. I began photographing flood-damaged photographs as a way to connect with and honor the city’s residents whose neighborhoods I was in, whose houses and belongings I photographed. Stained, transformed, and stolen by the floodwaters, these snapshots represent cherished memories that are now tarnished. The distorted images reflect the lives of the people they depict: displaced, permanently scarred, and stuck in transition as they work to begin a new life.

Born: 31 July 1980, New Haven, Connecticut
School: Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, BFA, 2003
First Camera: A toy wooden camera on my sixth birthday. At age 8, I finally got my hands on a real camera, a disposable one on a keychain.

Quote: As I lay face down on the basement floor of the store I was working at, my hands tied behind my back and a gun to my head, I was overcome by this indescribable wave that swept through me. It told me that it wasn’t my time to die, that I had not yet done what I was put on Earth to do. From then on I have devoted my life to my art and followed this thing inside me that fought so hard that night to live.

Irina Rozovsky

Over and over I return to photograph the same faces: my mother, my grandmother, my dad. With each picture I delve deeper into the nuances of intimacy in my family, the ties that unite us to each other. I try to map moods and temperaments, as though I were making a family album that would be useful to a psychologist. My photographs create a dangerous distance between us, because in observing, I am living through them and not with them. The more photographs I make, the less I know the people in the pictures, and for this reason I insert myself into the frames—to keep from fading from the pages of my family history. Recognizing the power of photographs to tell stories, I feel the need to transform myself into one of the characters in my narrative. I make self-portraits for another reason—to fulfill an only child’s fantasy of populating our house with more people. By juxtaposing my staged self-portraits with photographs of my family, I blend fact and fiction and create a drama. Real life begins to mimic art and vice versa. My perspective on the scene varies. I’ve come to think that you can never know anyone well, even yourself, and this awareness is a driving force for me. I want to see how close I can get.

Born: 23 April 1981, Moscow, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
School: Tufts University, BA, 2003; Massachusetts College of Art, MFA, 2007
First Camera: A red plastic point-and-shoot (in middle school).

Quote: A self-portrait assignment from my amazing photography teacher in high school launched my photography obsession. Suddenly I felt more together in front of my own camera than behind it.

Brian Lesteberg
Raised to Hunt

My father was raised on a farm in North Dakota but followed his own path to Fargo, a city of 90,000 people. His brother had stayed at home to work the farm, and every year my father would take us to visit—to reconnect with the life that he had left behind but always valued. Like his father before him, he raised me to be a hunter. Every fall since my twelfth birthday, we have followed the migratory birds that fly south from Canada across central North Dakota. Exhausting and exhilarating, the time I spend with my father in the field has become a ritual as steady as the migrations they depend on. My photographs are witness to this ritual and its place in the layered order of the natural world. I am currently working on a new project that explores the economics of modern hunting and examines how we experience nature through popular culture.

Born: 16 August 1981, Fargo, North Dakota
School: Minneapolis College of Art and Design, BFA, 2004
First Camera: A VHS video camera—I created stop-motion animations for school projects.

Quote: A photograph can leave you with more questions than answers, a suspicion that there is something yet to be revealed.

Kim Badawi
The Glittered Life

I am a storyteller, and for me photography is a language that unifies and brings us closer to the realities of the people with whom we share the planet. I met Celeste sometime in the fall of 2006, and she and her friends presented uncertainties and ambiguities. Celeste negotiates a place between two very different realities: by night she is a woman, by day, a male construction worker. She is continually in transition from one state of being to another.

I take photographs because they express my curiosity and offer possible answers to my questions. A picture is “proof” of a reality, even if it is purposely ambiguous. Perhaps for these reasons I like to work with performers and illusionists. Celeste may be both, and photographing her and her friends is like entering the dark backstage of a person’s life. Celeste wanted me to show her turmoil in trying to find her path, and happiness. She said, “I’m not looking to get in touch with my feminine side. I am on a collision course, with my life unraveling—not quite a bum, not quite a faggot, but I ain’t exactly a man either. I dress because it’s a way for me to punish myself because I’m into humiliation. It’s degrading, disgraceful, and it’s a fucking ride, an exciting trip.” Nothing is very clear about Celeste’s life, and nothing is clear in my photographs.

Born: 4 August 1980, Paris, France
School: School of Visual Arts, BFA, 2003; International Center for Photography Certificate in Photojournalism, 2006
First Camera: I purchased my first camera on eBay in 2005—my life has been on a fast track since.

Quote: I decided I would try to do something that not everyone could do and bring to the world stories that others would not tell.

Adam Kuehl

Having grown up in the Chicago area, I have always been intrigued by the urban landscape. The trees placed so carefully between buildings, the flora framing city doorways, the flowers lining the sidewalks. In cities, we control nature, we shape it. Or try to.

When I moved to Savannah in 2001, I saw a transformation taking place in the city, one that had been going on for nearly three centuries. The city was designed to fuse natural and urban environments. Those designs work to the city’s advantage, creating a unique, even eccentric, reality. But Savannah is in constant metamorphosis, with endless construction shaping and reshaping its streets. After the sun fades away, so does the city’s congestion. This is when people retire to homes and hotels for the night, and the city, under the moon, under streetlights, puts itself on display. That’s the Savannah I know—a world where nature and the city connect, in the quiet illumination of night. The city hums, and I take its picture.

Born: 5 November 1982, Oak Park, Illinois
School: Savannah College of Art and Design, BFA, 2005
First Camera: I got my first camera my freshman year of high school—right after my family moved to Michigan.

Quote: I wasn’t making many friends our first year in Michigan, so my Mom signed me up for a photography class.

Ami Howard
Other Dimensions

In this work I have created images that exist between life and death that convey another dimension of time and experience. Working as a sculptor, thinking as a painter, and making images as a photographer, I want to depict a reality that leads beyond metaphor into what I call metareality. Many people experience reality-altering events—concatenations of psychological and physiological processes set within environmental and social contexts—that cause them to question their day-to-day perspectives, not unlike the eighteenth-century French Jansenists, who, during trancelike states, experienced convulsions, witnessed miraculous healings, and endured without harm an almost unimaginable variety of physical tortures. The reality they inhabited is not our normal experience. I am drawn to make photographs by Jean Baudrillard’s idea that a photograph records a scene that has occurred in real life. Even as the viewer realizes that the hands of a creator have set up the photograph, there is an undeniable reality present in the image of an event that occurred at some point in time.

Born: 22 August 1981, Alamogordo, New Mexico
School: University of Florida, BA, 2003
First Camera: A 110-film camera when I was 7.

Quote: I was planning on being a neuropsychiatrist, but after I took an art history course I changed my mind and decided to become an artist.

Lissa Rivera
Prep School

I was living in a poor neighborhood bordering on a school made up of rows of imposing concrete buildings. There was no schoolyard, and only a few small trees forced their way through the dirt along the street. Across from the school, police headquarters loomed like a giant shadow. The street itself seemed to lack trust and to give off a feeling of unconcern for the students bused there each day. I wondered how children could thrive in such a place.

This experience started me on a long journey of photographing public educational buildings and their environments. When I turned to private schools, the contrast was vast, especially in top-ranked academies. These were the privileged spaces where many of our country’s leaders are nurtured. These elite institutions are distinguished in their architecture and decoration, and in their cleanliness. The schools exist in environments that convey high aesthetic values and standards of behavior, that make eloquent visual statements about the passageways to success, power, and opportunity. Students move beneath portraits of trustees and tapestries, among classical pillars, and across marble floors, and they play in beautifully equipped sports centers and on fields of perfectly manicured grass.

I am now photographing community colleges, places of opportunity that reach out primarily to poor urban and rural youth and new immigrants. For these young people, community colleges are their stepping stones to a better future.

Born: 3 February 1984, Geneva, New York
School: Art Institute of Boston, BFA, 2006
First Camera: Nikon FM-10 (in college).

Quote: Photography gives me permission to explore ways of living that I would never have been able to experience and to find beauty in the absurd juxtapositions of everyday life.

Gina Brocker
The Travelling Donovans

Five years ago I met the Donovans, a family of Irish Travellers. After several visits I retrieved my camera bag and was pleasantly surprised by its acceptance. At first I was focused on researching Travellers, their history, their lifestyle, and how their lives were different from those of the settled Irish. But photographing the Donovans gave me far greater insight into their culture than the books I had read, and I began to realize that it was unfair to think of one family as representing Irish Travellers, whether I had good intentions or not. What followed was my desire to capture the essence of what defines the Donovans as a family.

I made these photographs during several years of painful transition for the Donovans, as they were displaced from caravans and “settled” into homes as a result of government policy that denied Travellers access to their traditional camping areas. I found the strongest dynamics centered around the children, and I became dedicated to making photographs of the transition from child to adolescent, adolescent to adult, and of the clear-cut gender roles that separate males and females. I strive to show the humor, chaos, frustration, and pensiveness that surround the young Donovans—interactions and relationships that are universal experiences of family and growing up. It is my hope that the intimacy of my photographs triggers memories for the viewers; I want my photographs to convey these insights, to reflect the family’s strength, to show those moments that we can recognize from our own lives.

Born: 30 May 1982, Grand Rapids, Michigan
School: Maryland Institute College of Art, BFA, 2004; University of Wales, Newport, MFA, 2007
First Camera: At 13, I started using my mother’s old 35mm.

Quote: I have always been a “people watcher,” and as soon as I learned photography, it became my ideal way to communicate; it is both a priority and an obsession.

Sean Donnelly
Tomorrow’s Army

I was photographing military recruiters before military programs for young Americans captured my attention. Given U.S. involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a critical question for me was how military values and goals might affect these children’s transition from childhood to young adulthood. I soon found my way to programs in California where I could study how children were taught to be little soldiers. Although these programs are controversial, over 273,000 students are currently enlisted in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, and more than 10,000 are in the Young Marines. In these weekend and after-school programs, drill marches replace organized games and free play. The children are taught military rules and regulations that contradict many of the values that I believe are most important for them to learn as they grow, but I don’t want my private opinions to limit my photographs. I want to present both sides of this story, to provide the viewer with a window into these programs.

Born: 8 July 1986, Los Angeles, California
School: California College of the Arts, BFA, 2008
First Camera: I got a camera when I was 12, because I was interested in the ocean and underwater photography.

Quote: Photography is my way to communicate about the larger social issues—war, religion, and class.

Elizabeth Looke-Stewart
American Girl

I am the oldest of five girls in a large family. Not many years ago I began to notice that the two sisters closest to me in age were changing, becoming more self-conscious. They were more sensitive to outside interpretations of their expressions and gestures. Meanwhile my two younger sisters were still imaginative and spontaneous, almost acting against the shift in their older sisters. While watching these behaviors I was drawn to think about the social, psychological, and physical pressures that push girls into adolescence. I began to marvel at the infinite curiosity of children and to question the tendency of adolescents to become bored with the world. My camera gave me a way to explore this tension. I could investigate how budding women begin to construct themselves, and at the same time, reveal with full awareness a young girl’s sensuality, grace, and charisma. These are intensely transitory moments in the lives of four girls, soon to be women, whose lives are still undecided. Their dispositions are at times deceptively simple and playful—at others, moody and submerged. In looking at my photographs, I feel that I have caught them living, moving, and changing.

Born: 29 November 1983, Houston, Texas
School: Princeton University, BA, 2006
First Camera: A Polaroid camera. I was really young and really excited about Polaroids (I still am).

Quote: In photographing people I search for that liminal movement that slips underneath spoken words.

Rose Cromwell
Jovellar y Infanta

Jovellar y Infanta is an intersection in Central Havana, and a community in transition where I developed close relationships with people when I photographed there in 2004 and 2006. On my second trip to Cuba, I felt a heightened tension in the neighborhood. Perhaps it was the increased use of the Cuban dollar—people could buy less and less with their weakened pesos—or it may have been the insecurity of the political situation. What would happen after Fidel? I wanted to explore the emotion I felt in the neighborhood through my photographs. I discovered that a surprising sense of well-being overtakes us in moments of restlessness, because such moments are provocatively life-affirming. We all struggle with change and unknowns and find pleasure when we feel the strength of our own will, as when we’re relaxed or taking comfort in human interaction and touch. There is no linear story here, only moments of strong sentiment that emerge as people go about their lives. These are people of a particular time and place, but I hope the images transcend their limitations and speak to the universal human condition.

Born: 25 March 1983, Sacramento, California
School: Maryland Institute College of Art, BA, 2005
First Camera: My mother bought me a point-and-shoot camera when I was 11, but at 8 I had already decided to be a photographer.

Quote: Stepping into other communities humbles me. I want my photographs to give people new ways to see others, to gain emotional insight and understanding.

Kitra Cahana
Leaving Gaza

I am the daughter of a rabbi, the oldest of five children. In Jewish custom we are called upon to be an ohr lagoyim, a light unto the nations, in order to practice tikkun olam, healing of the world. My photography has the potential to literally bear light on the world and take part in the mending. For me photojournalism is the domain where reality is realized as art. I believe in objectivity, in establishing myself as a medium through which a person’s story can pass to an audience. However, I also believe that moments of image-making have the potential to be transcendental experiences for the photographer.

I had my first encounter with photography as a sacred lens in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005. During my two-month stay there, the Israeli army began the evacuation of all Israeli residents from their homes in the Gush Katif bloc of settlements. The government’s hope was that disengagement from Gaza would be a positive step in Israeli-Palestinian relations. My photo-essay testifies to the varied emotional landscape I witnessed as the settlers, through tears and anguish, were forced to abandon their homes. This is a story of a people in flux, of the emotional trauma that comes when a people bound to their land are uprooted.

Born: 13 October 1987, Miami, Florida
School: McGill University, BA expected 2009
First Camera: My grandfather gave me a Canon A-1 when I was 14.

Quote: I was drawn to a spiritual quest and to photography at the age of 14. I was searching for a space within me where personal meditation could take place and joy could grow.

Rick Gershon
Uncertain Future

I had been working with well-off American teenagers in a local youth ministry for about three years, and was fed up with their apathy, self-absorption, and materialism. I was still in college and fairly new to photography, but I was being exposed to powerful visual storytelling and learning that it could have great impact. I wanted to start a project that would speak to the hearts and minds of these teenagers by showing the desperate suffering and pain of people in other parts of the world. If I could cause even one of these kids to feel empathy and compassion and think less selfishly, I felt that my photographs would be a success. So I made two trips to Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, over two years, spending six weeks in the townships just outside the city. I was drawn to the lives of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. One photograph I made of a mother and daughter has great meaning to me. The girl is 9 years old; her mother is HIV positive, and her father has already passed from AIDS. As if this weren’t enough for a child to experience, her mother had been badly burned. When local caregivers removed her bandages, the front of her body was covered in maggots. The smell of rotting flesh was overwhelming. All I could think about was what this little girl had to endure as she cared for her mother, and how she still enjoyed playing with a ball because she was, after all, just a child.

Born: 30 April 1982, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
School: University of North Texas, BA, 2004
First Camera: Until I was 19, I had never touched a camera except for disposable Kodaks.

Quote: I discovered in college that photography is a means of communicating in a very powerful way, and I wanted to use it to help transform people’s lives for the better.

Nick Freeman

Hampden is the Baltimore neighborhood where I grew up. When I went away to college, I began to come home on weekends to photograph what I remembered, but I saw it differently now that I was living elsewhere. Still, Hampden’s streets, businesses, and people remained so familiar to me that I felt I needed a constructive, relatively objective way of seeing what I knew. Old buildings, their worn signage and the artifacts of their facades, reflected how an urban area evolves. Generations come and go; what was a factory or a textile mill for one transforms into artist studios for another, or modest family homes become expensive rental properties. But children of people from the area can no longer afford to live and raise families in this place where they belong. The real estate market is driving a gentrification process that will ultimately obscure the place I remember as home. I photograph to preserve the past that I can see in the present.

Born: 1 August 1984, Baltimore, Maryland
School: Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, BFA, 2006
First Camera: I found it—I was 15 and going through a closet in my house.

Quote: I like the feel of film. It makes me think more about every negative I use, but my response with a camera is reflexive, too fast usually for me to become attached to what I’m seeing.

Greg Mrotek
Between Rooms

Emptiness is the homeostasis of a space. The empty spaces I photograph are all undergoing change. In some, the physical appearance is changing; in others, the space itself awaits new occupants or reveals old ones. Homes are particularly interesting because people leave little traces of themselves behind to tell tales—subtle remnants, like footprints or vacuum cleaner marks in carpet, or more noticeable ones, like curtains.

While rooms in homes share private stories, public spaces also take on new meaning and dimension without bodies in them. I like to catch those moments when a space designed to be full of people loses its specificity and is transformed by emptiness into something generic. Whoever is looking has to pay careful attention to the physical characteristics that construct the space. A vacant room is a blank canvas on which we can draw our lives, or it can be a vessel to contain and bring order to our ordinary days. Public places—an office, a store, a train car—tell us about the past in what has been left behind in their emptied rooms.

Born: 13 December 1981, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
School: Edinboro University, BFA, 2004; Ohio University, MFA, 2008
First Camera: A 35mm point-and-shoot Ansco – for Christmas when I was 12.

Quote: My family went to see "The Phantom of the Opera" in Toronto. I was 15, and my father let me use his Minolta SLR. Since then I’ve wanted to be a photographer.

Ashley Poole
Charles Patton Poole, Jr.

My grandfather’s house holds many objects. His life has been filled with family, faith, and the pursuit of knowledge, especially in the areas of religion and science. He is a very active person, a runner, which is becoming harder as his body is no longer young. Throughout his house one finds evidence of the person that he was in the past and strives to be now. His books, papers, trophies, and photographs of family are everywhere, telling stories about him. But my grandmother is missing—she died the year before I made these pictures, leaving my 73-year-old grandfather, Charles Patton Poole, Jr., alone for the first time after 50 years of loving marriage. He decided to remain in their home in Columbia, South Carolina, where he and his wife had raised their five children. I regretted not having photographed my grandmother before she died, so I wanted to photograph my intriguing grandfather and fortunately he was willing. I began to explore his space and learn what kind of person he is and what his years of life have taught him, and as I spent many days making these photographs, we grew closer. My grandfather embraces each new day; he uses his past to help him live in the present and for the future. Still, there are those times when he is alone, remembering and waiting— when he seems to be thinking about what will come next.

Born: 30 November 1982, Toccoa, Georgia
School: University of Georgia, BA, 2006
First Camera: The cheap disposable kind, when I was 12.

Quote: I remembered the excitement of taking pictures as a child in a college photography course and fell in love again with the magic of capturing a moment in time with light.

Eleanor G. Oakes
All That Remains

In a rural area of New Jersey there lies a secluded campus of over a hundred forlorn buildings. Built in 1898, the site was once a self-sustaining village for epileptics but lost its purpose in the 1950s with the development of new drug therapies. For a time it was used as a general psychiatric facility, but 10 years ago the state closed the institution and the site was boarded up and sealed. Left behind were medical posters, obscure tools, playpens, drawings, patient records, and iron beds. My curiosity drew me into the vacant rooms in the same way ghost stories had attracted local teens. They pried open the padlocked doors and gave me my entry into this forgotten space. Paint peeled from the ceilings and walls, leaving a carpet of chips that crunched underfoot, and the acrid smell of mold drifted through the hallways. Decaying artifacts merged with evidence of recent vandalism: broken windows, graffiti, crushed beer cans, and cigarette butts. The distinct imprints of two different times marked these buildings as victims of change and neglect. The local township is currently in the process of transforming the entire site into a town center. A sign of the future is the new elementary school, whose brightly colored playground clashes against the dull grays of the surrounding structures. Very few buildings will be renovated, and most have already been destroyed. With the destruction of this place, any memory of the people who were once confined within those walls will be erased from time as though they never existed. Photographs and artifacts will be all that remain.

Born: 25 December 1984, New York, New York
School: Princeton University, BA, 2007
First Camera: My mother’s Pentax K1000.

Quote: I want my pictures to capture the aura of a place and to reveal the hidden narratives in every space, object, and individual.

Tamara Rosenblum

Making photographs in New York City’s Chinatown was a disorienting experience. When I began taking photographs there in the winter of 2004, I found that I could not get my bearings. Going into a temple was like entering someone’s living room. Private and public spaces seemed to merge; private moments became public ones. This is true of cities in general, but the collision of public and private in Chinatown takes place against a distinct backdrop. These spaces have been home to first-generation immigrants from all over the world, and they are heavy with the past even as they are being shaped by new lives. In the end I found that I could make intimate portraits in these ambiguous environments.

Born: 15 September 1982, New York, New York
School: Amherst College, BA, 2004
First Camera: A Pentax K1000.

Quote: I always took pictures, but I started to take my work seriously during my senior year in college while I was shooting the Chinatown project.

Cary Dolan
Artificial Twilight

In college I began exploring the field of color photography in more depth. I wanted to create images that were at once traditional and modern. This particular series of vibrant color photographs explores the idea of transitions as visual phenomena. I focus on shifts in natural and artificial light, and although the photographs are representational, the ephemeral light in each image is the true subject. The actual locations are of secondary importance. In this dynamic glow created by the various light sources on film, seemingly ordinary locations become romantic and evocative. I also appeal to visual honesty by printing each image in its native square format with only minimal cropping, reflecting the literal scene captured by the camera’s lens. This series of photographs is fundamentally an exploration of the transition from day to night, and from night to the artificial and perpetual twilight we create.

Born: 17 November 1982, Washington, D.C.
School: University of Pennsylvania, BA, 2004
First Camera: I was about 7 years old. It was pink. I loved taking snapshots of my family and scenes from the windows of moving cars.

Quote: I’ve always seen photography as an artistic rather than a purely documentary medium; even as a child I wanted to capture light in images of snow, raindrops, and streetlamps.

Michael Harlan Turkell
Back of the House

While working as a cook in Boston, I was also taking photography courses. The only time I had to do my assignments was during my shifts, so I photographed my prep work and plating. As kitchens became more important to me than just a workplace, the focus of my photography shifted toward capturing the people who form the culinary community and the unseen life of restaurants. These photographs represent the unrecognized artistry, diligence, and precision of kitchen staff, who display camaraderie in chaos and serve a plate of much more than food. We may worry about where our food comes from, about agricultural practices and chemical additives, but not many of us think about the members of the service industry who are tireless workers in a demanding craft. Their efforts and talents are as important as each ingredient in a meal. The true heart of fine dining is neither elaborately plated dishes nor reservations for jacket-required dining rooms. It resides in what culinaires call mise en place, when all of the ingredients and equipment necessary to prepare a dish are ready and waiting to be set into action. This work aims to translate mise en place into photographs.

Born: 27 August 1980, Croton-on-Hudson, New York
School: Art Institute of Boston, BFA, 2004
First Camera: I borrowed my dad’s camera for my first photography course.

Quote: The first photograph I ever took was of my father while he was sleepwalking in our kitchen at 3:00 a.m. It was used to prove that he had been polishing off the peanut butter—a fact that he often denied.

Futoshi Miyagi
Loving Strangers

My identity crisis occurred late, at 23 1/2 to be accurate, and I wanted to confront it through photography. This project is the result. The procedure was simple: go to a stranger’s place and take photographs of us together, acting as if we were in a relationship. That way, I thought, I could deal with my incessant interrogation of my sexuality and my seemingly hopeless shyness. With each photograph I would be liberated, as though able to take a step forward. Maybe it is, as someone once remarked, “an elaborate coming-out plan.” Alone, each image makes an obscure statement, but the whole offers a clearer vision. I would not have met these men without this project; they were strangers who invited me into their apartments and let me make these photographs of us. I met some of them through the Internet, others in bars, still others through acquaintances or past sitters. Each time triggered in me an affection for the stranger (at least I tried to feel affection), though there were times when I felt an immense physical and psychological distance and other times when I felt a close connection. The shoots went silently, quickly, and rather awkwardly, but there was always some interaction. Perhaps, no matter how instantaneous and subtle it was, we were creating some sort of relationship.

Born: 13 October 1981, Kume Island, Okinawa
School: City College of New York, BA, 2006
First Camera: At age 20 I bought a Lomo LC-A while in Osaka, Japan.

Quote: I only photographed landscapes and cityscapes until “Strangers.” It was my first project to look at people, and to do so in such a personal manner.

Kathryn Parker Almanas
The Body as Experiment

Autoimmune disease: Any of a large group of diseases that causes one’s immune system to produce antibodies against one’s own tissues.

What lurks beneath the skin has fascinated me since I was a child studying my mother’s anatomy books. What are the parts that make up the whole? How do they function together? Since being diagnosed with autoimmune disease, I’ve had a chance to find out firsthand, as my body has become a kind of science experiment— monitored, prodded, opened up, sewn shut.

These photographs explore the dual nature of the things we desire, the unknown. The still lifes are of foods I cannot eat. Ethereal light and corporeal subject are in tension with one another. These clinical-looking still lifes appear to have been made in a hospital room during a fit of boredom. Light is an important theme in these pictures, as nuances of light have been a place to focus during time spent in hospital rooms, staring at blank walls.

These experiences have caused me to consider how medicine is an entity that is as comforting as it is threatening. Hospitals, meant to be safe havens for the body, are tempestuous environments where birth and death coexist.

Born: 26 October 1981, Binghamton, New York
School: Massachusetts College of Art, BFA, 2003; Yale University School of Art, MFA, 2007 First Camera: An Olympus point-and-shoot.

Quote: In 1895 Roentgen was given credit for the discovery of X-rays as he was the first to document them by using a photographic plate. I am intrigued by how X-ray images created a significant change of perspective—once the general public could see within the living body, the visual world, as well as the practice of medicine, changed. I am inspired by the connections between science and art, and how they relate to my interest in seeing beneath the skin and in the history of representing the body in art or anatomical illustration.

Elizabeth Claire Rose

My photographs depict the tensions of dislocation and change that man-made elements impart to the natural world. Alterations made to the landscape create semi-permanent environments that exhibit both a certain friction and an uncommon beauty. My work focuses on these juxtapositions: the relationships of people and land; what people create and observe within the environment; how living organisms adapt to social structures; and the inspiration that biodiversity provides civilization. This is too important to be lost in this rapidly changing world. My visual depictions embody these frictions: blue tarps piercing water, seedlings growing beneath plastic sheets, onion skins mixing with glass. In exploring synthetic and nonsynthetic worlds I have discovered the odd beauty that is inevitable when these worlds are forced to coexist.

Born: 28 October 1980, Springfield, Illinois
School: University of Montana, BA, 2003
First Camera: I received my first real camera on my fourteenth birthday.

Quote: Early on I wanted to pursue photography along with printmaking, painting, and drawing. Photography has been a continuous thread in my life.

Beatriz Wallace
River Dawn

I make photographs of loved ones to explore happiness, fear, innocence, and compassion. I photograph River Dawn growing up beside the Missouri River with her parents and brother, and I relive my childhood. We spend nights together on the front porch, at the kitchen table, on boats and sandbars, and under the stars in the backyard. We help each other make it through the hard times and see each other through the good. I like to be there to photograph in an emotional and spiritual way, the way my families are there for me. My storytelling is always in the first person. I have challenged myself to give expression to the difficulties and triumphs of life, and to stay in touch with the little girl I once was, saying my prayers at night, “Dear Lord, please help Mom win at the track tomorrow. The car is running real bad, and we need the money.” I know how we are always moving, changing phone numbers, homes, friends, chickens, lovers, dogs, and driver’s licenses, and I react like an artist and take pictures—because, as Diane Arbus said in her 1963 Guggenheim proposal, it “will have been so beautiful.”

Born: 23 November 1981, New Orleans, Louisiana
School: Amherst College, BA, 2004; Missouri School of Journalism, MA, 2008
First Camera: A gift from my aunt—it had a broken light meter, and we couldn’t figure out why all my photographs were underexposed.

Quote: I feel guilty about spending money on a new camera when I know just making it in life is hard enough.

Peter van Agtmael

Photographs offer no explanations or answers, but they can serve as evidence and reminders of war’s wastefulness and its wretched consequences for ordinary people. I took these photographs in three cities in Iraq—Mosul, Rawah, and Baghdad—over a 10-week period in early 2006. Much of my time was spent on patrol with U.S. and Iraqi soldiers who were not in direct battle with insurgents; instead these soldiers were on patrol, wearily alert for anything out of place. But for all their caution, patrol was usually a hopeless venture as the violence came randomly and suddenly.

My photographs represent the evil inherent in all wars. The lives of the U.S. soldiers, many of them still teenagers, are irrevocably changed by their experiences in Iraq. The loss of their comrades and the sense of constant danger in an unfamiliar and hostile environment will define them. They will come back from Iraq very different people from when they left. The Iraqis in these pictures are in painful transition. Some have lost family members or comrades to detention or death, and their lives too have been permanently altered. A corrupt and oppressive regime has been overthrown, but chaos has taken its place, and no one knows where these events will lead.

Born: 22 February 1981, Washington, D.C.
School: Yale University, BA, 2003
First Camera: At 16 I got my first camera, but it was just a point-and-shoot. I was 20 when I took my first photo class; it all took off from there.

Quote: I was a college sophomore when the European Union sent me to Romania to photograph orphans. I felt an awakening of deep responsibility and realized that I could provide a window through my camera for people to see and be moved and influenced in the way I had been.

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