Tag Archives: Critical Mass 2022

CM22 Michael Reichmann Grant Recipients!

Photolucida is pleased to announce the 2022 Michael Reichmann Project Grant recipients – congratulations to Sam GeballeFazilat 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.



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.



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.

Critical Mass 2022 Finalists Announced!

 Image: Arielle Gray


Debra Achen 
Sandra Cattaneo Adorno
Linda Alterwitz
Regina Anzenberger
Debe Arlook
Federica Armstrong
Christine Back
Jim Bailey
Francis Baker
Filippo Barbero
Tracy Barbutes
Terry Barczak
Kristina Barker
Zemula Barr
Linda Barsotti
Donna Bassin
José Roberto Bassul
Sheri Lynn Behr
Anne Berry
Lois Bielefeld
Diana Bloomfield
Diego Brambilla
Barnaby Britton
John Ryan Brubaker
Emily Buckley
Annette Lemay Burke
Samej Campbell
Remijin Camping
Jennifer Cantwell
Edgar Cardenas
Alison Carey
Granville Carroll
Nicoletta Cerasomma
Tracy L. Chandler
Jo Ann Chaus
Tianqiutao Chen
Susan J. Chen
Xiangyun Chen
Yukari Chikura
Adam Chin
Tony Chirinos
Yu-chen Chiu
Elizabeth M. Claffey
Cody Cobb
Daniel W. Coburn
Troy Colby
Emma Creighton Hopson
Andrés De Varona
Jason Demarte
Marcus Desieno
Brianna Dowd
Joel Dubroc
Dena Eber
Matt Eich
David Ellingsen
Gary Emrich
Hossein Fardinfard
Diane Fenster
Harry Fisch
Lola Flash
Fran Forman
Brandon Foushee
Jason Gardner
Sam Geballe
Steven Giovinco
Lauren Grabelle
Sarah Grew
Marsha Guggenheim
Liliana Guzmán
Julya Hajnoczky
Brandi Hamilton
Megan Hatch
Charlotta Hauksdottir
Jessica Hays
Barbara Hazen
Maxine Helfman
Jeffrey Heyne
Juliana Holck
Erin Holland
Aimée Hoving
Chandler Hubbard
Curtis Hughes
Charise Isis
Diana Nicholette Jeon
Brad Jones
Tomiko Jones
David Jordano
Robert Kalman
Priya Kambli
Matty Karp
Sergey Karpov
Karoliina Kase
Thomas Kellner
Paul Kessel
Martha Ketterer
Tira Khan
Heidi Kirkpatrick
Nina Kostamo Deschamps
Neil Kramer
Andrew Kung
Eric Kunsman
Galina Kurlat
Alain Laboile
Robert Langham
Chris Lael Larson
Ruth Lauer-Manenti
Christina Leslie
Drew Leventhal
Howard Lewis
Beth Lilly
Yikai Liu
Jennifer Loeber
Jena Love
Arrayah Loynd
Chrissy Lush
Melissa Lyttle
Roddy MacInnes
Jennifer MacNeill
Michael Magers
Mara Magyarosi-Laytner
Landry Major
Stephen Mallon
Lesia Maruschak
Mariko Masumoto
Andy Mattern
John May
E.E. McCollum
Kent Meister
Mariana Mendoza
Ney Mila
Debbie Miracolo
Rebecca Moseman
Ania Moussawel
Koji Murata
Sol Neelman
Dan Nelken
Loren Nelson
Bob Newman
Anna Newman
Xuan Hui Ng
Dale Niles
Faith Ninivaggi
David Ondrik
Christos Palios
Catherine Panebianco
Junjie Pang
Jaime Permuth
Sean Perry
Mark Peterman
Allison Plass
Walter Plotnick
Jennifer Pritchard
Oliver Raschka
Jason Reblando
Paul Rider
Daniela Rivera Antara
Gjert Rognli
Susan Rosenberg Jones
Alexandra Rowley
Niv Rozenberg
Jacque Rupp
Lissette Schaeffler
Amanda Schilling
Charlotte Schmid-Maybach
Melanie Schoeniger
Hinda Schuman
Nicolo Sertorio
Katie Shapiro
Geralyn Shukwit
Anastasia Sierra
Sara Silks
Anne Renee Silver
Ann Kristin Soerbotten
Seok-Woo Song
Fazilat Soukhakian
Liz Steketee
Elizabeth Stone
Kouta Takahashi
Keith Taylor
JP Terlizzi
Lacey Terrell
Raymond Thompson Jr.
He Tianru
Vaune Trachtman
Carrie Usmar
Ian van Coller
Julia Vandenoever
Preston Wadley
William Warren
Sandra Chen Weinstein
Ingrid Weyland
Ian White
Joshua White
Becky Wilkes
Christian Witkin
Natcha Wongchanglaw
Carl Young
Alexey Yurenev
Man Zhu
Michele Zousmer


Schaun Champion
Nykelle Devivo
Arielle Gray
Torrance Hall
JaLeel Porcha
Marzio Emilio Villa

2021 Michael Reichmann Project Grants – A Year Later!


Photolucida reached out to the five Critical Mass 2021 Michael Reichmann Grant Award winners to see what productive things they have been up to this past year since receiving the award! There are no stipulations connected to this grant – artists are totally in charge of how the award is spent. It could be on new equipment or supplies, research time or travel, marketing materials, anything they are in need of. It just makes us happy to see new creative developments!

Here are some updates from Claudia Ruiz Gustafson, Daniel Mebarek, Vanessa Leroy, Olga Sokal, and Andrea Orejarena + Caleb Stein. We hope you check out their respective websites and follow them on Instagram – some pretty great projects are continuing to progress!


CLAUDIA RUIZ GUSTAFSON    claudiafineart.com | @claudiaruizgustafson


Being selected into Photolucida’s Critical Mass Top 50 and awarded the Michael Reichmann Project Grant were some of the most important recognitions I have received in my career as an artist. They arrived at an important time in my artist journey when I was working on a multi-chapter project titled Mi Pais Imaginado (My Imagined Country), an investigation of how imperialist/supremacist thinking rewrites histories. The Grant Award helped me complete the first part of the project by being able to travel to Peru and purchase additional archival documents for my work. The exposure helped me connect with other like-minded Latinx artists and curators and as a result, this year another dream came true as I am soon heading to The Center for Photography at Woodstock to attend my first Artist-in-Residence Program to complete my project Mi Pais Imaginado.

I am deeply grateful to the jurors who believed in my work, for their thoughtful comments and to the Photolucida community for creating such a perfect platform to showcase and expose contemporary lens-based projects.

*These are four new images from the Mi Pais Imaginado series.



DANIEL MEBAREK    @daniel.mebarek


I’m Daniel Mebarek, a Bolivian artist based in Paris, France. My artistic practice examines the relationship between personal and collective memory as well as the function of archives in the writing of history.

The Michael Reichmann Project grant came at a pivotal time in my practice. Nearly two years after the start of the pandemic, I was able to return to my home country, Bolivia, to continue my long-term project entitled Andean Utopia. The project aims to draw an intimate and lyrical portrait of the cities of La Paz and El Alto while also addressing the country’s current political context. Thanks to the grant I was able to cover the production costs of the project, including film development and scanning. I’m now really excited to share my progress and hopefully gather further support to complete the project in 2023. My goal is to publish my first photo-book based on this body of work.


VANESSA LEROY    vanessaleroy.com   |  @vanessaleroyphoto


I applied for Critical Mass 2021 on a whim, unsure if my work would resonate amongst all of the great talent. When I received the notification that I made it into the Top 50, as well as being a recipient of the Michael Reichmann Grant, it served as a reminder to continue creating artwork from the heartspace, because there are so many people out there that can understand – or want to understand – what you’re expressing. I started out my project as our bodies lift up slowly as a highly insecure and anxious young woman in need of some serious self-reflection and self-soothing, and it is through looking at myself, my friends, and my family, that I gained the courage to reach inside of myself; take the time to uncover, process, and mend; and start over again from a place of grace and love. Here are the new images I’ve made since receiving this grant.

After being awarded the grant, I began my exploration into photojournalism and worked at a local newspaper until January 2022. Much of my work has come from a place of dreams and consists mostly of conceptual environmental portraiture, and because I have personally felt the power of photography as a tool for healing through telling my own stories, I wanted to pursue how I could be of service by telling the stories of others through visuals. I became a full-time freelance photographer at the end of January, diving headfirst to an independent employment journey that was completely elusive to me, but I knew I had to take the leap to be happier. The Michael Reichmann Grant helped with a month of rent to be stable during my job transition. I reached out to photo editors with my portfolio and potential pitches, began to receive assignments more frequently, and secured more freelancer contracts with various publications as my work was more widely discovered. As of right now, I am a Photo Editing Intern at NPR, and I have come to realize that I want to be a photo editor. I’ve learned that I want to be able to offer a platform to marginalized artists to tell the stories of their communities, and that I want to uplift the stories of marginalized people that need to be seen and heard.



ANDREA OREJARENA + CALEB STEIN    caleb-stein.com   |  @cbjstein


Thank you so much to you all at Photolucida for your support – we are grateful to you all! The Reichmann grant was very helpful for continuing work on our series American Glitch. American Glitch is a look at the slip between fact and fiction and how this manifests in the U.S. landscape. In an era defined by screens, conspiracy theories, and the advent of the Metaverse, the notion that we are existing within a simulation has become increasingly popular. In the midst of the pandemic, the CIA released a report that acknowledged that they have been looking into this possibility for some time. This notion that we are living in a simulation appears online where images are posted as personal evidence of spotting a ‘glitch in real life’. This vernacular builds on ideas explored in movies like The Truman Show and The Matrix. It is a vernacular that embodies a generation’s experiences of video games – the peripheries of these digital worlds begin to show their edges as players brush up against them. In other words, the notion of a glitch reflects a generation’s experience where the digital and physical worlds are merging.

Orejarena & Stein spent over a year researching locations throughout the U.S. that fit into the framework of a glitch. They traveled the United States’ highways and byways on Google Earth, confirming these locations’ existence. They are viewing the internet as a mirror to our collective subconscious and taking the pulse of parafiction and its relationship to the United States.





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.

Athens Photo Festival!


Photolucida Director Laura Moya was invited to curate an exhibition for the Athens Photo Festival and she gladly did! PERSEPHONE’S EDGE is currently up as a main exhibition at the Benaki Museum in Athens (June 8-July 24, 2022). Three of the six participating artists are from Critical Mass programming (Andrés de Varona, Jennifer Georgescu, and Panos + Mary) and three artists (Myrto Papadopoulos, Alessia Rollo, Olga Stefatou) are from the Athens Photo Festival Call for Entries.

A poetic interpretation of the myth of Persephone is the basis for the curatorial slant of the exhibition. The work of each photographic artist gives the viewer a unique, slightly edgy, more modern interpretation of the classic myth. “Emergence” is a common thread – speaking both to the myth of Persephone and what we are experiencing as a society post-pandemic.


Persephone feels the weight once again, of transition. She has muscle memory of emergence – scrambling upward, moving dark to light. Did you know it takes about half an hour for the iris to adjust the size of the pupil, regulating the amount of light that enters the eye?

She is tired of traveling between the protection of her mother and the love of her husband. The compromise of the crimson pomegranate seeds feels heavy, with no way to negotiate. Words like abduction, underworld, heartbreak, scorched earth and famine follow her. She dreams of black horses pulling a chariot, but also of cumulous clouds slowly turning the color of the sun.

Why not light a line of fire through the forest, grow her hair long, bleed a bed of dried roses, weigh her gown down with rocks? She is responsible for the cycle of death and rebirth.  

Persephone heard news of a pandemic, but hope is still sketched upon her face. She knows the spring equinox marks the time when night and day are equal lengths. Twelve hours is enough time to shake the ghosts of the dead and gather seeds for the wheat.





CM22 Print Collecting Initiative!

Photolucida is so pleased to announce that we are working with Marisol Mendez this year on our Critical Mass Print Collecting Initiative! As part of this valued part of Critical Mass programming, all 200 Finalists will receive this special edition signed + numbered print titled Durazno, 2019, which is part of Marisol’s MADRE series.

Durazno, 2019

Marisol uses the camera to study the tension between truth and fiction and the tight relationship between what a photograph creates and the (sur)real it comes from. Through her photographs she seeks to deconstruct hegemonic narratives and confront them with the friction of the heterogeneous. Marisol employs a broad range of visual language to tell a story – the mixture yields an experience similar to that of a mystical journey where the viewer is challenged to absorb and reflect on the links that emerge across the images. As a result, her work oscillates between candid and staged, naturalistic and mythical.

MADRE is a series that celebrates the diversity of Bolivian culture, focusing on the representation of women. The project takes a critical stance that questions both Marisol’s personal and national history, and well as the place that women have been granted in it. Her imagery includes indigenous and mestizo women, reinterpreted religious figures, retouched family photographs, rediscovered Andean traditions, and carefully staged portraits. The rich variety of images invites us to question the white, patriarchal cannon that prevails in the representation of women in Bolivia, alongside the presence of the class struggle and religious influence.

MADRE is currently a main exhibition at the Athens Photo Festival/Benaki Musuem June 8 – July 24.

Marisol (Bolivia, b.1991) has exhibited in Europe, Argentina, and Bolivia, and her work has been published in The British Journal of Photography, Paper Journal, Balam and GUP Magazine. In 2021 she received the PHmuseum Photography Grant New Generation Award for MADRE and in 2020 she was one of Photolucida’s recipients of the Michael Reichmann Project grant. A terrific interview with Marisol can be found on British Journal of Photography/1854.

Photolucida thanks Open Doors Gallery (London) for the collaboration on releasing this print as a special edition. We also want to send a sincere thank you to our generous supporters Hahnemühle + Pro Photo Supply for continuing to make The Print Collecting Initiative possible as part of Critical Mass programming. We know it will be beautifully printed on Hahnemühle’s Fine Art PhotoRag® 308 Paper. Thank you, sponsors!