In 2019, Photolucida was able to offer a new Critical Mass award made possible by a generous endowment gifted to us by the Luminous Endowment for Photographers – an organization created by the late Michael Reichmann in 2007 to foster current and anticipated photography projects. Photolucida is excited to continue Michael’s legacy by providing this opportunity to emerging photographers.
We caught up with last year’s recipients to see how their projects were coming along now that nearly a year has passed, and despite the world being very different than it was when they received the grant, we found that they are all continuing to work on the projects that inspired Photolucida to support their endeavors!
“I’ve been documenting my daughter and nieces for about six years. Primarily it’s a record of them growing up together and all the nuances of kinship and connection that pass between them. Over time, as the girls started to mature, they became aware of the lack of positive imagery of girls of color. Cousins is about their relationship to each other, but it makes us happy knowing that the images can contribute to filling that void in representation.”
“There is something deeply frustrating about being an artist and not being able to control your vision of the presentation of your work because the cost of supplies is prohibitive.
I went to my very first portfolio review in April 2019. My first reviewer was Jessica Roscio, the curator of The Danforth Museum, and an all around lovely human. Months later, Jessica invited me to be a part of a beautiful group show she was curating called Family Circle at The Danforth – an amazing opportunity! More surprising was that she was interested in hanging 15 images. I was floored. Underneath my excitement and gratitude, was panic. I had no idea how I would ever be able to afford 15 quality frames, let alone how I would be able to frame them in a style that I felt best complimented the images. During this time I was blown away to become a Critical Mass 2019 Top 50 winner. Shortly after, I learned I was also one of three Michael Reichmann Project Grant awardees. I cannot tell you how many times I put my hand on my heart and thanked the forces of magic that helped bring these incredible opportunities my way. The grant money quelled my anxiety around framing concerns and I ordered 15 simple, modern, muted gold frames to showcase my Cousins series the way I envisioned.”
“I’m not denying that my hard work and abilities helped set me up for these accolades. I care very much about my work, about my daughter and nieces who the work documents and that I am thoughtful about what and where I enter, and who I chose to share my works-in-progress with.
But talent and hard work without access can fall short. I was often very nervous to speak about lack of access in the photo world. I often feel like an outlier at openings where people are discussing home renovation projects, or summer homes when I’m secretly trying to figure out if I can afford decent summer camp for my daughter. I prefer to be transparent about it now, because I know I’m not alone.”
“I am deeply, earnestly grateful to Photolucida for offering this grant that, for me, leveled the playing field and allowed me to participate equally and directly. I’m thankful for the jury who looked through a huge amount of excellent work and went back to mine anyway, to take another look.
Love and thanks to you Photolucida!!”
“My project, Zarek: A Family’s Journey, is a long term documentary about my family’s ongoing journey in raising my youngest brother Zarek. Zarek has battled numerous medical and behavioral conditions since birth. Diagnosed with Autism, Epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy, and severe allergies, his life has been anything but easy.
“New challenges present themselves every day. He is completely dependent on others. These challenges have thrown my family into a world of constant struggle, stress, and devastation that has drastically altered the structure of our family for both better and worse.”
“Recently I have moved back close to home not only to help my parents with Zarek but also to dedicate more time to this project as it has become such a significant part of my life. It’s been a rewarding and eye-opening experience that I know will continue to shape and mold me as a brother, son, and person.”
“Receiving the Michael Reichmann Grant was such an honor. This grant gave me a huge boost in motivation to keep shooting, especially since I had not submitted this work anywhere else before. After more than a decade of working on this story I have started to slowly get it out into the world through shows and open calls.The grant money has been a huge help with covering the associated costs. I can’t thank Photolucida enough for supporting me and this project.”
” ‘Transcending Self,’ a portrait and interview project documents, to date, 35 transgender and non-binary youth aged 3–20, in Europe and the USA. It questions what living an authentic life looks like. The project is ongoing.
While transgender stories are often framed in a way that reduces us to our physicality—emphasizing difference—“Transcending Self” brings viewers into the heart of our experience, enabling connections to the underlying humanity of each participant. The portraits and interviews focus on each one of them as a whole person, unique beyond their gender identity. Everyday, stories of love and struggle—often overlooked—are serving as a source of hope.”
“The further the project progressed, the more it felt like I was hearing the story of my own childhood. When I began this project in 2014, I had no idea that it pertained to me. As much as I’m an advocate for the trans community, I had internalized transphobia and struggled to accept myself as transgender. Recognizing this reaffirmed to me the importance of this work. In recent months, the project has inspired me to begin a series documenting my own gender transformation journey through surgery and hormones.”