Photolucida is pleased to announce the 2022 Michael Reichmann Project Grant recipients – congratulations to Sam Geballe, Fazilat Soukhakian, and Arrayah Loynd! These three photographic artists have been selected from the CM22 Finalists (thank you to the Photolucida board and jurors who sent nominations!) to each receive a $1000 cash award to go towards the development of an ongoing or new project. Each artist is creating exemplary work on important, timely topics and we are happy for the opportunity to support them in a small way with this grant.
Please check out each artist’s website to delve deeper into their work! To get you started, here are some introductions:
SAM GEBALLE | website
This is not another fat kid story. There are times when I do assume that role, but it does not define me. I can find many reasons to explain why I ate, but it would be all too easy to displace blame. What people do not realize are the functions of my size: I used my weight as a barrier to mask vulnerability and create walls as a way to protect myself. It is how I survived as I hid behind my weight.
I make self-portraits to shift perspective from how I see myself to my interpretation of how others see me. Self-Untitled visualizes the feeling that false perceptions provoke, and speaks more broadly to the mistreatment of a person. It is a body of work that requires fearlessness. I have had to set aside doubts to convey my intended message.
I think assumptions derive from personal history understanding. My assumptions emerge when I make conclusions about the present using past experiences. This pattern is cyclical, but I can change the outcome by humanizing myself to others. What I have learned and strive to depict in my art is that being vulnerable and forming connections can be healing.
I share my story as an opportunity for a viewer to say, “I’ve been there too.”
Sam Geballe is an artist living and working in California. Sam’s involvement in art began in early childhood, and they have frequently used creative expression as a means of communication and connection to their self and others. In 2013, Sam began work on Self-Untitled, which explores themes of body-image, memory, gender, trauma, and healing. In addition to photographs, Sam incorporates bookmaking, drawing, film making, and music composition into daily practice.
FAZILAT SOUKHAKIAN | website
It is peculiar to still witness people being discriminated against because of their sexuality in first world countries such as the United States. An example of this is in the state of Utah, where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is omnipresent. Here, the new generation of LGBTQ+ Mormons is changing the course of its historic struggle between their sexual identity and the conflicts with their religious beliefs, by publicly acting on their sexuality while some of them still practice their faith. Despite the Church’s strict teachings, they are determined in their pursuit of love, each taking their own path by either enduring through the scrutiny of their surroundings or taking a step away from the Church.
Queer in Utah aims to help normalize the LGBTQ+ community in the conservative setting of Utah by portraying these couples in affectionate poses and in a local outdoor setting, similar to the dominant imagery found framed in the households of heterosexual couples.
Fazilat Soukhakian is an Iranian artist, photographer and scholar who is currently an Associate Professor of Photography at Utah State University. She started her career as a photojournalist in Iran and became one of its few female photojournalists in a highly patriarchal society. She is a visual storyteller who reflects on the social and political issues of her surroundings as a means for social change and justice.
ARRAYAH LOYND | website
My brain doesn’t process thoughts and feelings very well. It struggles to separate things, gets them all tangled up and leaves me exhausted. Being able to express myself visually/creatively becomes a burning need. It brings a sense of relief from extreme emotions and physical sensations that I don’t always understand. It helps me to unravel the coil in my belly and the burning in my mind.
From my ongoing series Come and Find Me, these images reflect the place in my mind where trauma and memory converge. It is the place within me that simultaneously experiences pain and peace. It combines multiple images from a near and distant past and the continuous blending and erosion of pixels until I arrive at the visual embodiment that is the confusion of my mind.
A monograph of Come and Find Me is in the works, after winning the Pre-press Open Category at the Australian Photobook Awards. The Awards were part of Photo 2022 International Festival of Photography in Melbourne in May.
Arrayah is a lens-based conceptual photographic artist based in Australia. whose work explores themes of memory, trauma, neuro-divergence and the female experience. She uses her photographic practice to re-imagine image making within a modern context. With a desire to challenge the viewer, she creates moments from her own life experience with a raw honesty that can illicit feelings of discomfort and/or recognition in others.
This award is made possible by a generous endowment gifted to Photolucida 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.