2023 Michael Reichmann Grant Recipients Announced!

Photolucida is thrilled to announce the 2023 Michael Reichmann Project Grant recipients – congratulations to Roshni Khatri, Rashod Taylor, and Andrés Mario de Varona! These three photographic artists have been selected from the CM23 Finalists to each receive a $ 1,000 cash award for developing an ongoing or new project. Each artist is creating outstanding work on important, timely topics. We are happy for the opportunity to support them and encourage their work!

Please check out each artist’s website to learn more about their work, but first read the statements they submitted with their portfolios for Critical Mass 2023!

Roshni Khatri | Website

Constructing Equality: Unveiling the Hidden Heroes of New York’s Construction Industry

In the bustling chaos of New York City, a silent revolution unfolds within the construction industry. Through my lens, I bring to light the untold stories of remarkable women who rewrite the script. Constructing Equality captures their determination, resilience, and trailblazing spirit.

Using diptychs, I create a visual dance between the workplaces and sanctuaries. Accompanied by profound whispers drawn from intimate interviews, each image reveals the profound experiences of these extraordinary women amidst the clamor. These women embody grit and grace, forging paths where none existed before. They challenge norms, topple walls, and inspire generations to come. Through this project, I honor their contributions and ignite conversations about gender, Equality, and the transformative energy of women in male-dominated fields. As a storyteller through the lens, I unravel the tapestry of gender, culture, and identity. Born in New Delhi and immersed in the vibrant kaleidoscope of New York City, I capture the nuances of human existence. 

Constructing Equality showcases the resilient spirits of these women who shape the city’s skyline. Education at the International Center of Photography and collaborations with The New York Times, NBC News, and Reuters have guided my creative journey. Exhibitions at Photoville allow me to share visual stories that amplify underrepresented voices. Aligned with Women Photograph and Diversify, I advocate for inclusivity in photography. This project empowers women marginalized within the construction industry. Within these frames, witness the symphony of triumphs and tribulations. These stories provoke empathy and question existing paradigms. By celebrating women’s contributions, we pave the way for a future of recognition and value. Constructing Equality is a love letter to the unsung heroines breathing life into our city.

Rashod Taylor | Website

My America is an examination of what living in America as a Black man is like. The wet plate collodion process was first introduced in the 1850’s. I use this process to connect the past to the present and to explore the atrocities of slavery, Jim Crow, and the institutional and systematic racism that remains so tightly woven into the fabric of American society. The American Dream is founded on equal opportunity being accessible to all people. Still, it is a dream that remains out of reach for most Black Americans. By capturing the Black America I live in daily, I hope to shed light on what people unfamiliar with Black lives either don’t want to see or refuse to acknowledge.

Andrés Mario de Varona | Website

PILLAR: No More Mud in Our Eyes

Pillar is about friendship and support. Those quiet riots that happen inside us and hope will be acknowledged for our own peace.

I moved to New Mexico in November of 2019 and was eager to connect. I sat outside the Allsups gas station and convenience store near the 599 train station for hours, multiple days a week. I introduced myself to workers and everyone who came by for gas and things.

During that time, I met a man named Aaron Garcia from Kewa Pueblo who was coming up to Santa Fe to sell his tomahawks, jewelry, and craft. He was 48 at the time. Out of all the people I met and began to photograph, I was so attracted to Aaron that any impulse I had to photograph anyone else was gone. The first day I met him, we spoke about feathers, rocks, ashes, and the intensity of New Mexico. After that moment, I told him I wanted to take photographs with him, and one of my best friendships ensued.

Aaron was nicknamed Pillar for being a beacon to many travelers, drifters, & people without houses. Particularly around the 599 / NM-14 area. Aaron has a home and a family but chooses to live outside. When I ask him why, he relates to his experiences at Camp Tule in California, where he lived his native beliefs and traditions more deeply.

Aaron’s younger brother, Russell Garcia, also left his home to stay with Aaron. We often walked through arroyo beds, looking for certain rocks, crafting supplies, and treasures. They taught me the value of the things we would find, items that a typical person might pass up or consider junk. It’s about learning to see, but not with your eyes, they would tell me. In a way, I feel Pillar sensed my being back then, my desperation for spirit, and my own lack of home within myself.