Anna Beeke: 2012 WIP–LTI/Lightside Materials Grant Recipient


My series of images about the forest began in a rather fanciful and serendipitous way:
Knowing I had been conceived in Washington State, but never having travelled to the Pacific Northwest, I was recently struck by the compulsion to go to the place where I began life and the conviction that if I did, I would surely find something there. What I discovered, or re-discovered, was the forest, and within it a more imaginative mindset. I grew up, like so many countless others, on the Brothers Grimm and various related fairy tales and myths. The forest plays a major role in the majority of these stories: as a place of enchantment, the landscape of an epic journey or the fulfillment of a quest, but also as the unknown, a dark and dangerous place outside the bounds of normal society where anything can happen, the battleground of good and evil. I am interested less in specific tales and more in the perceived mystery, magic, and danger of the forest, how these ideas have been constructed in our collective consciousness, and how they are reflected in contemporary reality. My working method follows the structure of many of these stories: I go into the forest seeking adventure and the unknown. Small moments of magic and surprise, delight and fear, and chance encounters with strangers along the way inform my direction; my experiences in the forest become not myth or written tale, but the images in this body of work.

Though I come from a photojournalistic training, I’ve always had serious misgivings about the politics of going into someone else’s territory and photographing, though I’ve done it quite a bit. The forest, to me, is an impartial province; it is both everybody’s forest and nobody’s forest. This makes it the perfect place for a photographic encounter, a neutral territory in which personal experience and the experience of others, the forest of today and the timeless forest, can intermingle without question. Though these images are—for all intents and purposes—documentary, I seek in their amalgamation the transmission of something more metaphoric; an appeal to the imagination, a suggestion to the subconscious, a departure from the strictly realistic. Though my project is now based mainly in the Hoh and Quinalt rainforests of Washington State, I hope to expand it to include chapters in other forests.

Anna Beeke was born in Washington, DC in 1984 and resides in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently pursuing her MFA at the School of Visual Arts (class of 2013), she is a graduate of the International Center of Photography’s certificate program in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (2009), and she received her BA in English from Oberlin College (2007). Anna’s work is included in the book and exhibition: “reGeneration2: tomorrow’s photographer’s today;” she was also selected as a 2009 participant in the Eddie Adams Workshop and received the too much chocolate + Kodak film grant in 2010. Anna’s work has been exhibited internationally at galleries including ClampArt and the Aperture Foundation in NYC, the Musee de L’Elysee in Switzerland, the Michaelis School of Fine Art in South Africa, FAVA Gallery in Ohio, and at festivals such as Recontres d’Arles, the Flash Forward Festival, and the Pingyao International Photography Festival, and the Rencontres Internationales de la Photo de Fes. Website.

Tema Stauffer: 2012 WIP–LTI/Lightside Individual Project Grant Recipient


Paterson is a documentary series of street portraits depicting residents of Paterson, New Jersey during the years following the economic crisis in 2008. Paterson is a historic city near the Great Falls of the Passaic River, once prosperous from its mills and silk manufacturing industry. Founded in 1791 by Alexander Hamilton and others and envisioned as the nation’s first planned industrial city, Paterson offered jobs and opportunity to an immigrant labor force in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and it was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The city is the setting of two John Updike novels and one by Junot Diaz, and has inspired the poetry of William Carlos Williams and Allen Ginsberg, as well as the architectural photography of George Tice. The third largest city in New Jersey, Paterson began to decline economically during the 1960s and 70s, and has continued to face high rates of unemployment since the recession. Downtown Paterson is lined with dollar stores, barbershops, beauty salons, bakeries, bars, churches, temples, and clinics for addicts in recovery. While its downtown streets are bustling, these streets are also a place of visible struggle and desperation.

The portraits focus on the self-expression of working-class and economically marginalized Americans of the diverse racial and ethnic groups comprising Paterson’s population. Shot in natural light on the streets with a medium-format camera, each image explores the psychology of an individual who reveals him or herself willingly to the camera’s gaze. The minimal backgrounds suggest the urban environments these subjects occupy; however, these straightforward, realist, and classically composed photographs concentrate on faces and the depth of human experience that is spoken through them.

The medium of photography has historically – and notably through seminal work made during the Great Depression – represented Americans struggling with economic hardship and alienation, and it is this socially engaged and humanistic tradition that has deeply influenced the creation of this work. The portraits of the residents of Paterson contribute to a contemporary dialogue about the current economic reality and the experiences of Americans who exist on our ever-widening margins.

Tema Stauffer is a photographer based in Brooklyn whose work has been exhibited at Jen Bekman Gallery and Daniel Cooney Fine Art Gallery in New York, as well as galleries and institutions nationally and internationally, including a survey of Contemporary U.S. Photography at the Houston Fotofest 2010 Biennial. She graduated from Oberlin College in 1995 and received a Master’s Degree in Photography from The University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998. She teaches at the School at ICP, Ramapo College, and the College of Staten Island, and she has taught art courses at William Paterson University and a photography workshop at Toxico Cultura in Mexico City. She is also a curator and writer for Culturehall, an online resource for contemporary art, and contributes writing on contemporary photography to various arts publications. In 2010, she received an AOL 25 for 25 Award for innovation in the arts. Currently, she is a finalist for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2013 through the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. See more here.


Cristina de Middel: 2011 WIP–LTI/Lightside Materials Grant Recipient


In 1964, still living the dream of their recently gained independence, Zambia started a space program in hopes of catching up with the USA and the Soviet Union. Their goal was to send the first African astronaut to the moon. Only a few optimists supported the project started by a schoolteacher named Edward Makuka. The financial aid never came and the heroic initiative turned into an exotic episode in African history, surrounded by wars, violence, droughts and hunger. As a self-proclaimed photojournalist, Middel is attracted to the eccentric lines of story telling, often avoiding clichés and overworked ideas. Her practice respects photographic ‘truth’ without allowing it to limit her approach, which is to push viewers to analyze patterns in stories we consume and real. 

Cristina de Middel (Spain, 1975) is a freelance photographer based in London. She works for newspapers and for NGO´s such as Doctors Without Borders and the Spanish Red Cross. Recent awards include the Spanish National Photojournalism Award Juan Cancelo, and a special mention at the New Fnac Photographic Talent Competition.  

She combines her documentary assignments with more personal projects. In her “B-side” work, Cristina deliberately asks the audience to question the language and the veracity of photography as a document by playing with reconstructions that blur the border between reality and fiction. See more here.

Brea Souders: 2011 WIP–LTI/Lightside Materials Grant Recipient


Humble Arts Foundation and Women in Photography are delighted to announce Brea Souders as the 2011 WIP–LTI/Lightside Materials Grant recipient. The $1,000 grant will support a new series of photographs that examine her European ancestry.

As an American with typically mixed bloodlines, I started this project to explore the many places in Europe where I have ancestry and their influence on me as an artist and a person. I created the very first photograph in this series in Italy in May, 2010, titled Sunburn in Naples. This image encapsulated my feelings – a desire to own my Italian ancestral roots, to be wholly a part of something, but an inability to do so. The Neapolitan sun burned the Irish skin that I inherited from my father’s father. Upon my return home I continued my work, creating images that reflect my research of Christianity, art history, European history, family traditions and my desire to connect all of the pieces together into one unified whole.

I recently completed a long residency in France, where I continued this project with a focus on the experience of living as a foreigner in a place where I have ancestry. The images created in France have taken a looser and more personal turn, with special attention to my own interaction with the French landscape and with objects that I found along the way. The images speak to sudden feelings of freedom, curiosity and transformation, and to a world that became larger, less static and more confounding. The resulting photographs reflect a shift that took place within me as a result of spending time in my ancestral country, France.

Brea Souders was born in Frederick, Maryland, and studied photography at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Her work has been exhibited and screened at institutions such as Abrons Arts Center, Jack the Pelican Presents, and Affirmation Arts in New York City; the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the American University Museum, Washington, D.C; and at festivals including the New York Photo Festival; PhotoIreland in Dublin; the Singapore International Photography Festival, and Head On in Sydney, Australia. Her work has been supported by the Camac Art Centre and Fondation Ténot, Marnay-sur-Seine, France; The Millay Colony of the Arts, Austerlitz, NY and the Camera Club of New York.

Selected publications and clients include: New York Magazine, Gar-de, Vogue Paris, Real Simple, Dear Dave, Canteen, Warner Brothers Records, and Feltrinelli Publishing House. Brea lives and works in New York City. See more here.