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NUEVA LUZ photographic journal


Volume 17 No. 2 – U.S. $10.00




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NUEVA LUZ photographic journal volume 17:2

Ta b l e o f C o n t e n t s

EN FOCO STAFF Executive Director & Editor/Publisher Miriam Romais Program Associates Dee Campos Dani Cattan Administrative Assistant Amanda Adams Louis Nueva Luz Design and Production Olga Omelchenko Graphic Design Lisa Perkins Co-Founder and Director Emeritus Charles Biasiny-Rivera Original Design & Concept Frank Gimpaya PRINTING Eastwood Litho, Inc. 315/437-2626

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Bill Aguado Sidney Baumgarten, Secretary, Vice Chair Anne Damianos Frank Gimpaya Susan Karabin, Chairperson Bruce Miller Miraida Morales, Treasurer Miriam Romais, President BOARD OF ADVISORS Nadema Agard Terry Boddie Leenda Bonilla Mark Brown Chris Connelly Elizabeth Ferrer Ricky Flores Charlie Grosso Jeff Hoone Nitza Luna Marysol Nieves Sandra Perez Bonnie Portelance Sophie Rivera Mel Rosenthal Ariel Shanberg Beuford Smith

C o p y r i g h t © 2013 by En Foco, Inc. (ISSN 0887-5855) All Rights Reserved • 718/931-9311 1738 Hone Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461 | @enfoco | facebook/enfoco Nueva Luz is published three times per year by En Foco, a non-profit organization supporting fine art and documentary photographers of diverse cultures, primarily U.S. residents of Latino, African and Asian heritage, and Native Peoples of the Americas and the Pacific.

© Anjali Bhargava

Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 1 Commentary by Elizabeth Ferrer . . page 2–5 Jaishiri Abichandani . . . . . . . . . . . page 6–7 Don Gregorio Antón . . . . . . . . . . . page 8–11 Colette Fu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 12–15 Charlie Grosso . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 16–11 Brenda Perry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 22–25 Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira . . . . . page 26–31 Wendel A. White . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 32–35 Intercambio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 36–40

Thinking back to how New Works started I remember how Charlie, En Foco’s cofounder, wanted to find a way to make a lasting and substantial difference in the creative lives of our photographers. We had been exhibiting artists since the 70’s and always gave each artist an honorarium- but we saw a need and a desire to offer more. Since so much of what one creates ends up sitting neglected in closets or under beds – that is, if it has even been printed – New Works became a way to encourage and help the artist through the process of experimentation and creation, with an additional bonus in mind: having an exhibit in New York City. The first show, Saving the Light, was a culmination of a year-long project starting in 1996, with four artists selected1. It opened at Hostos’ Art Gallery2 in 1997 with such resounding positive feedback, it prompted us to say… lets try that again. Since then, we’ve seen projects grow, evolve, expand, completely change from the original proposal, been privy to the aha moments, insecurities and revelations. For some, New Works offered their very first exhibition, or the first time their work was taken seriously. Artists not only had a voice, but felt heard. And that is an amazingly powerful feeling. This issue is a bit of a departure from ones you may have seen. But every once in a while, it’s worth taking a step back to see the whole. We are honored that BRIC Rotunda Gallery has found such strength in our artists’ work, that they are creating an exhibit of their own around the program. We encourage you to see the work in person if you live in the NY area, and if you can attend any of the events, you’ll have a chance to meet the artists and hear of their vision first hand.

Nueva Luz is made possible through subscriptions, our Print Collectors Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. En Foco is also funded in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Lily Auchincloss Foundation, the Bronx Council on the Arts, ASMP, Lowepro, Manfrotto, Archival Methods, Loupe Digital Studio, Modernage Custom Digital Imaging Labs,, members, subscribers and friends.

Nueva Luz will make accommodations under ADA guidelines for those needing large print.

Miriam Romais, Editor & Publisher


To see all the awarded artists to date, take a peek at our timeline on the back cover.


Now known as Longwood Arts Project: The BCA Art Gallery @ Hostos.

Cover: Wendel A. White, Zora Neale Hurston Sketch Book, Smathers Library Special Collections, University of Florida, Gainsville FL, Manifest series, 2012. Archival pigment print, 22 x 27 ½”

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“As an artist, it is our job to risk it all.” - Don Gregorio Antón

En Foco: New Works/Crossing Boundaries Jaishri Abichandani Don Gregorio Antón Colette Fu Charlie Grosso Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira Brenda Perry Wendel A. White Curated by Elizabeth Ferrer On view: January 10 – February 23, 2013

En Foco was founded by a group of young Latino photographers in 1974, frustrated by the inequities in the photo world and by the general lack of opportunities for creative persons of color in New York at that time. In the wake of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, unprecedented numbers of Latino artists benefitting from the reform policies it spawned were receiving fine arts degrees and commencing careers. Well educated and typically highly politicized, they were united by a desire to use their talents to work within and create an image of their own communities, which traditionally had little access to the arts. For photographers, particularly in an era when street photography and documentary work held privileged positions, this meant using the camera to portray a world close at hand, their own world. But in the 1970s in the United States, there were scarce opportunities for Latino photographers as well as others of diverse cultural backgrounds to gain support for their work. It was in reaction to this landscape that En Foco’s founders, most notably Roger Cabán, Phil Dante, George Malave, and Charles Biasiny-Rivera, joined forces to create their own venues and opportunities and find an audience for their work. “There were these pockets of people who looked for ways to be sure the arts were delivered to their own community as well as the larger community,” noted Deborah Willis, a photographer and historian of African-American photography. “We were all searching for ways to tell our stories…”1

Only four years before En Foco’s formation, photographer Bruce Davidson published his widely discussed and now-classic visual essay, East 100th Street, a stark exposition of inner-city poverty, Reception: January 9, 7pm focusing on one upper-Manhattan neighborhood. Similarly, other photographers were spending time in the Lower East Side, the Bronx, Spanish Harlem, and other areas then marked by urban decay. Such at BRIC Rotunda Gallery, work—for all its value in creating awareness about the persistence of racial inequality—represented the the contemporary art space perspective of the outsider, not of someone raised in, and intimately familiar with, these neighborhoods. of BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn Photographers associated with En Foco in its early years wanted to correct this vision; they hoped to provide a nuanced view of the texture and rhythms of life, especially in neighborhoods with large 33 Clinton Street, Brooklyn, NY Latino and African American populations. “We started out as a handful of New York Puerto Rican Tuesday – Saturday | Noon – 6 pm | photographers, displaying our work at summer block parties in the South Bronx, neighborhood bodegas, FREE ADMISSION and coffee houses in Greenwich Village,” noted co-founder Charles Biasiny-Rivera, En Foco’s first director. “Those early days were filled with excitement, hardly anyone was acquainted with Latino photographers, but we worked hard to establish our own visual identity.”2 The mission soon broadened contemporary-art to include photographers at work in the United States of African, Asian, Caribbean, Native American, and Pacific Islander heritage. Its aim today is to nurture and support the work of these photographers through exhibitions, a permanent collection, the tri-annual publication Nueva Luz, professional development programs, and the New Works Photography Fellowship Award, the focus of this exhibition. I hope this


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exhibition and special issue of Nueva Luz demonstrates the clear value of an organization like En Foco, nearly four decades after its founding, in seeking out, supporting, and presenting photographers and photo-based artists that might otherwise be ignored by mainstream photography institutions or by the world at large. Through the New Works Photography Awards Fellowship program, three to seven photographers are selected annually through a national call for entries and selected by an outside juror, typically a noted expert in the photo community. Now in its sixteenth year, the Fellowship helps photographic artists produce an in-depth body of work exploring themes of their choice, and provides the infrastructure needed for national visibility and a professional exhibition of their work in the New York area. Through the Fellowship, En Foco identifies and promotes talented emerging and mid-career photographers, providing them with exposure and growth opportunities. Overall, 74 photographers have received this award since 1996, among them, such diverse figures as André Cypriano, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Hong-An Truong, Ana de Orbegoso, Sheila Pree Bright, Myra Greene and Anna Palakunnathu Matthew. In reviewing the history of photographers who have received the award, particularly in the last decade, I was struck by its role in stimulating the creation of work that stretches the photographers’ practices and in fostering innovative work reflecting unconventional approaches to the photo medium. This exhibition, highlighting seven recipients of the New Works Fellowship since 2000, includes elaborately staged compositions, photographs made with historic processes like tintype, such unexpected forms as pop-up books, and even work that simultaneously moves beyond photography while maintaining its imagery at its core. While these photographers explore varied subject matter and artistic approaches, their assembled works demonstrate the ways that photographers continue to infuse new relevance into their medium – whether through the ways they push the boundaries of photo-based image making, the ideas they powerfully visualize, or the unique cultural perspectives they bring to bear on their work.

© Julienne Schaer

Jaishri Abichandani | An artist who works with installation, painting, and sculpture, as well as photography, Jaishri Abichandani brings a deeply cross-cultural perspective to work focusing on


themes of power, gender, and contemporary political issues. Her most recent work is inspired by photographs of female protestors in Tahrir Square during the 2011 Egyptian revolution posted on Facebook by a friend, Sabelo Narasimhan.* Abichandani used the photos as bases for a series of blindly composed line drawings that aim to highlight the protestors’ key features and the immediacy of their emotions. She has transformed some of these works into large-scale wall compositions made from whips. “The whips are fabricated in India and carry associations of self flagellation leading to spiritual ecstasy that is common to Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity,” states the artist. “They have additional associations with the American history of slavery, as well as sexual fetish – crucial as my work critiques and examines individual and social power.”3 Abichandani’s large-scale wall drawing created for this exhibition, We Were Making History 2, exists as an imprecise but starkly emotive interpretation of a catalytic moment in recent Middle East history. With her unique, even reductive mode of delineating her subject matter, she palpably evokes a range of issues and ideas that suggest the complexity of life for women seeking a voice in repressive societies. Colette Fu | Colette Fu is a master of the pop-up book, an unconventional art form that combines photography with paper engineering and that allows her, as she states, “to eliminate the boundaries between book, installation, photography, craft, and sculpture.” An art form originally used by fortune tellers and mystics, as well as to visualize ideas in such scientific fields as astronomy, navigation, and anatomy, Fu’s three-dimensional books illustrate similarly complex but more elusive realms – emotions, the ways that history inhabits the present, and the relation of personal and cultural histories. This exhibition includes Fort Mifflin, Casement #5, Circuit of Fear, from Fu’s Haunted Philadelphia series. This large-scale pop-up book is constructed from photographs of a Civil War penitentiary used to incarcerate Confederate prisoners of war, Union deserters and lawbreakers, as well as such an array of materials as an Arduino Uno board, copper, LEDs, and a passive infrared motion sensor. Fu merges images of one of the fort’s casemates (a fortified gun housing) with those of the

* The exhibition also includes a selection of Narasimhan’s images.

Elizabeth Ferrer, exhibition curator, has been Director of Contemporary Art at BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn since 2007, and is a specialist in Latino and Mexican modern and contemporary photography. She has curated exhibitions of modern and contemporary art for numerous venues including BRIC Rotunda Gallery, the Americas Society, the UBS Art Gallery, the Aperture Foundation Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution, as well as for a range of museums in the United States and Mexico. She is curator of En Foco/In Focus: Selected Works from the Permanent Collection, an exhibition currently traveling in the United States. She has also been working on a comprehensive history of Latino photography in affiliation with FotoFest. Other major exhibition projects include traveling retrospectives of the photographers Mariana Yampolsky and Lola Alvarez Bravo, as well as of the pioneering Mexican modernist painter María Izquierdo. Ferrer has also written and lectured extensively on topics related to her fields of interest.

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human brain, a means of conjuring the fear and stress that once permeated the structure. Fu explains, “My choice to merge an image of the casemate with the real image of a brain, illustrates how the amygdala (nerve cells thought to process memory and emotions), mediates fear through a visual stimulus quickly and unconsciously sending our stress hormones into the fight or flight response.”4 By employing photographs within her idiosyncratic art form, Fu manifests both physical and cerebral realms, fluidly relating past and present, and the physical and inner worlds. Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira | Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira’s staged photographs examine ideas of identity and memory from a deeply intimate perspective. “The act of remembering,” she states, “is an unstable and profoundly unreliable process. The more we ‘remember’ an event, the more we are likely to change it with time.” With this in mind, Miranda-Rivadeneira stages images from her past, a process that considers the possibility of documenting not actual experiences, but the memory of them. For some bodies of work she has collaborated with indigenous people in Guatemala, Ecuador (where she spent much of her youth), and the Amazon, a means of elaborating images that express the connection between personal and communal histories. This exhibition includes a selection of photographs from Other Stores/Historias Bravas, an ongoing series of photographs that the artist combines with texts. For these images she stages incidents from her childhood that were never recorded, employing members of her immediate fam-ily to reprise moments in their own, earlier lives. By doing so, she underscores photography’s unique role in personal history and remembrance. “I chose to recreate moments that helped shaped my interpretation of the world and my identity,” states MirandaRivadeneira. “Although, staged, this project is not meant to convey a romanticized vision of my experiences; rather they are meant to provide a means for reflection and a search for truthfulness.”5 Wendel A. White | A critically acclaimed photographer of the African American presence in the American past, Wendel A. White’s eloquent images convey the potential for places and things to hold and reveal the emotional tenor of personal and social history. In one key series, Small Towns, Black Lives, White photographed the remnants of small black communities in southern New Jersey from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The images portray both the tranquility of the towns, safe havens from racism, and a wistful reminiscence of disappearing histories. In another series, Schools for the Colored, White examined historically segregated schools erected in northern states during the Jim Crow era, employing digital means to starkly isolate the school buildings in their surroundings. The more recent Manifest series comprises color photographs of such seemingly quotidian objects as books, personal documents, photographs, and household objects. Preserved in museums and libraries, they convey histories of slavery, freedom, and the experiences of both everyday and noted African Americans over the last century. The photographs of the Manifest series included in this exhibition focus on celebrated author Zora Neale Hurston and her hometown, Eatonville, Florida, one of the first all African American towns established after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. White photographs


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the objects close up and prints them in large scale. They appear to hover in an undefined space, acting as mute but persistent witness to individual lives lived and to fleeting moments in history. Don Gregorio Antón | Through elaborately staged narrative imagery often combined with poetic, handwritten texts, Don Gregorio Antón crafts hauntingly enigmatic photographic works that aim to give form to deeply held emotions and to create a space for spiritual contemplation. “My job,” he has said, “is to make out of light and form, thought and feeling, the truest anatomy of my own experience…”6 A Chicano raised in California, his work also pays homage to a rich cultural heritage and to Mexican popular artistic traditions. One key series, The Rules of Tragedy, is inspired by retablos, devotional paintings commissioned in thanks for miraculous healings, once common in Mexico and in the southwest United States. Antón’s photographs, printed on copper plates in emulation of the retablo form (19th-century retablos were often painted on tin), are staged scenes of inscrutable ritual events. For the series included in this exhibition, The Arc of Tragedy, Antón placed photographs into reliquaries, shrine-like objects created to house religious artifacts (or literally, relics) such as the fragment of a saint’s bone or clothing. Antón’s reliquaries display small photographs, often self-portraits depicting some kind of ritual act or moment of ecstasy. There is an otherworldly quality to these images; they are primal and visceral, yet suffused with shadows and never fully comprehensible. The artist’s aim is not to provide fixed meanings or readings, but for the viewer to complete these works, to project their own memories, dreams, or emotions upon the imagery and to continue this unending project of the search for self. Charlie Grosso | Charlie Grosso works to reach beyond the expected and understood in order to capture an idiosyncratic view of the world and to provoke viewers to reassess the way we perceive the everyday. A nomadic traveler, Grosso notes that she is in search of “that brilliant, sublime moment that haunting photographs are made of and to collect stories that make me weep in my sleep.” She has pursued series that focus on international commonalities, such as Wok the Dog and Fetal Position and Drool. For Wok the Dog, an “epic long-term project” as she calls it, Grosso travels across the world and documents the diversity of food markets she encounters, whether an improvised butcher’s shop in Agra, India, or an outdoor market in San Juan Chamula, Mexico. Fetal Position and Drool, presented as a wall installation with text in this exhibition, is a study on the elastic idea of home and how it is projected onto the spaces we inhabit. Again, Grosso makes these photos as she travels internationally, recording each bed she sleeps in – bunks in hostels, hotel beds, friends’ couches, etc. As she moved around without a home of her own, occupying the homes and spaces of others, Grosso came to redefine the term “home,” seeing it as a flexible concept. Her intimate photographs of unmade beds also suggest home as a poetic trace of life – literally and symbolically, as the place where she rests her head. Brenda Perry | Brenda Perry works with disparate approaches to the photographic medium to produce politically-directed images focusing on the realities of life along the U.S./Mexican border. The intimately scaled photographs in her Postmortem Juarez series draw


attention to the tragic violence in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, the site of thousands of drug related murders over the past two decades. Perry uses real crime- scene photos that are given to her by a personal source, printing them as tintypes – a historic process that produces images relatively quickly and inexpensively. The tintype process helped broaden accessibility to the photographic medium in the mid nineteenth century; it allowed everyday, otherwise anonymous people to commemorate important life events and simply, to preserve their image for posterity. Perry uses the tintype to poignantly commemorate the victims of borderland drug and gang violence. Employing the crude imagery produced by tintypes, she suggests how the violence in the drug wars has often been concealed. Perry’s images are also reminiscent of nineteenth-century postmortem portraits, a common form of memorial in Mexico a century and more ago. Another series included in the exhibition, Underlying Issues, features imagery at a much larger scale. Photographs of El Paso, a Ciudad Juarez neighborhood just across the border, and the bridge that connects the two cities, are printed onto transparent acetate. The three sheets are suspended in space, creating a layered and ever-shifting view of a region that is always only partially comprehensible, depending upon which side of the borderline one stands. Thanks to Sarah Simpson for her assistance in writing this essay.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn presents contemporary art, performing arts, and community media programs that reflect Brooklyn’s creativity and diversity. BRIC also provides resources to launch, nurture and showcase artists and media makers. We advance access to and understanding of arts and media by presenting free and low cost programming, and by offering education and public programs to people of all ages. BRIC’s contemporary art initiatives aim to increase the visibility and accessibility of contemporary art while bridging the gap between the art world and global culture in Brooklyn through exhibitions, public events, and an innovative arts education program at BRIC Rotunda Gallery. BRIC acknowledges public funds for its contemporary art programs from the Institute of Museum and Library Services; New York State Council on the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York City Council members Mathieu Eugene, Vincent J. Gentile, Sara M. Gonzalez, Letitia James, Brad Lander, Stephen Levin, Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., Albert Vann and Jumaane Williams. Additional support is provided by Astoria Federal Savings; Lily Auchincloss Foundation; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; Barclays/Nets Community Alliance; Bay and Paul Foundations; Bloomberg; Bloomingdale’s Fund of the Macy’s Foundation; Con Edison; Robert Lehman Foundation; Lawrence W. Levine Foundation; and numerous individual supporters.

*All images are part of the En Foco: New Works/Crossing Boundaries exhibition, with the exception of those marked by an asterisk.

Special thanks to key sponsors for this exhibition: Leslie and Cliff Cohen, Lizanne Fontaine and Bob Buckholz, and Kerry Le Blanc Strong and Jeff Strong.

Director of Contemporary Art: Elizabeth Ferrer Associate Director, Contemporary Art: Christian Fuller Director of Contemporary Art Education: Hawley Hussey Education Program Assistant: Linda Mboya 1

Deborah Willis, as quoted by David Gonzalez in “From the Archive, Bronx Street Art,” New York Times, August 24, 2009, accessed November 21, 2012.

Marketing and Events Coordinator: Abigail Clark Graphic Designer: Matthew de Leon


Charles Biasiny-Rivera, “About En Foco: From the Co-Founder,” En Foco, accessed November 21, 2012.


Jaishri Abichandani, “Whip Drawings,” accessed November 27, 2012.


Colette Fu, “Haunted Philadelphia Pop-Up Books: Fort Mifflin Casement #5, Circuit of Fear Pop-Up Book,” accessed November 27, 2012.


Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira, “Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira: Other Stories,” Le Journal de la Photographie, accessed November 27, 2012.

Interns: Lori Camilleri, Sarah Simpson (Curatorial Intern) President, BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn: Leslie G. Schultz BRIC Rotunda Gallery, the contemporary art space of BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn BRIC Rotunda Gallery 33 Clinton Street Brooklyn, NY 11201 Tuesday – Saturday | Noon – 6 pm | FREE ADMISSION


Don Gregorio Antón as quoted by J. Swofford in “Don Gregorio Antón: The Rules of Tragedy,” Diffusion Vol. 2 (2010): 40.


Charlie Grosso, “Charlie Grosso: About,” accessed November 27, 2012.

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Jaishiri Abichandani

*We Were Making History, 2012. Previous site-specific installation based on photographs by Sabelo Narasimhan,

© Self-portrait

leather whips, wire, nails, and paint, 8 x 10’


Jaishiri Abichandani (b. 1969, Mumbai, India) received her M.F.A. from Goldsmiths College, University of London. She has exhibited both locally and internationally, at the Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NY; P.S.1/MoMA, Long Island City, NY; BRIC Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; En Foco at Bronx River Art Center and Longwood Art Gallery, both in Bronx, NY; En Foco at Light Work, Syracuse, NY, the Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC and Aljira, Newark, NJ; 798 Beijing Biennial; and at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. Abichandani acted as the Founding Director of Public Events and Projects at the Queens Museum of Art, during which time she co-curated Fatal Love: South Asian American Art Now and the Queens International 2006 Everything All at Once. She is also the co-founder of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective ( Her work is included in such international collections as the Burger Collection, the Florian Peters Messers Collection and the Saatchi Collection. Abichandani was awarded En Foco’s 2000–2001 New Works Photography Fellowship Award, and was published in Nueva Luz 13:1 in 2008.


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Sabelo Narasimhan, Her Colors, A Place called Tahrir series, 2011. Archival pigment print, variable dimensions.

Jaishiri Abichandani Top: We Were Making History 3, 2012. Drawing for site-specific installation at BRIC Rotunda Gallery based on photographs by Sabelo Narasimhan, of leather whips, wire, nails, and paint, 8 x 10’

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Don Gregorio Antón

Por lo que se dice (Because of What is Said), The Arc of Memory series, 2008. Reliquary with translucent image on metal, 13 x 5 x 5”


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© Self-portrait

Mas y menos (More or Less), The Arc of Memory series, 2008. Reliquary with translucent image on metal, 5 ½ x 5 x 3”


Don Gregorio Antón (b. 1956, Los Angeles, CA) received his B.A. in 1978 and a M.A. in 1980 from San Francisco State University. Antón was awarded the Freestyle Crystal Apple Teaching Award in 2010 as well as the Excellence in Photographic Education Teacher of the Year Award from the Santa Fe Center for Visual Arts in 2002. He has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, at the Getty Museum, LA; Aperture, NY; the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; Meridian Gallery, San Francisco; En Foco at Skylight Gallery in Brooklyn, NY and Longwood Art Gallery, Bronx, NY; Light Work in Syracuse, NY; En Foco at the Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC and Aljira, Newark, NJ; and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, NY. Antón’s work is included in various prestigious collections as the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. His work has been published in Nueva Luz 5:2 14:2, as well as its Commemorative Issue in 2001. Antón was selected by juror Elizabeth Ferrer to receive En Foco’s 2003–2004 New Works Photography Fellowship Award.

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Don Gregorio Antón Las palabras (The Words), The Arc of Memory series, 2008. Reliquary with translucent image on metal, 15 ½ x 9 x 6”


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Don Gregorio Antón Confesión (Confession), The Arc of Memory series, 2009. Reliquary with translucent image on metal, 24 ½ x 11 x 7”

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Colette Fu

Fort Mifflin Casemate #5, Circuit of Fear, Haunted Philadelphia series, 2012. Archival pigment on cardstock, Arduino Uno board,

© Self-portrait

copper and fabric tape, LEDs, passive infrared motion sensor and Cialux fabric pop-up book front, 26 ½ x 38 ½ x 22”


Colette Fu (b. 1969, Princeton, NJ) received her M.A. at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2003. Fu’s exhibitions include those at the Center for Book Arts, NYC; En Foco at Skylight Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; The Athenaeum of Philadelphia; Perkins Center for the Arts, Collingswood, NJ; and internationally at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. She has been awarded the Canadian Council for the Arts Visiting Foreign Artist Grant in 2012, the Independence Foundation Artist Fellowship in 2010, the Puffin Foundation Artist Grant in 2010, and a Fulbright Scholarship in 2008 to travel to China and work on a photographic pop-up book of Yunnan province’s 25 ethnic minorities. In 2013, she will be granted artist residencies at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, Saratoga, WY and at the Institute of Electronic Arts, Alfred University, NY. Fu was selected by juror Elizabeth Ferrer to receive En Foco’s 2003–2004 New Works Photography Fellowship Award.


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Colette Fu Top: Original photograph for Fort Mifflin Casemate #5, Circuit of Fear, Haunted Philadelphia series, 2012. Bottom: Rear view of pop-up book architecture for Fort Mifflin Casemate #5, Circuit of Fear, Haunted Philadelphia series, 2012. Archival pigment on cardstock, Arduino Uno board, copper and fabric tape, LEDs, passive infrared motion sensor and Cialux fabric pop-up book, 26 ½ x 38 ½ x 22”

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Colette Fu *Dai Food 2011. Varied views of archival pigment pop-up book, 17 x 25 x 11"


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Colette Fu Top: *Axi Fire Festival, 2011. Archival pigment pop-up book, 17 x 25x 11" Bottom: *Wa Hair Swinging Dance, 2011. Archival pigment pop-up book, 17 x 25 x 5.5"

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Charlie Grosso

Baku, Azerbaijan, 2012, Fetal Position and Drool series. Archival pigment print, 4 x 4�

All images are details of the site-specific installation comprising of a selection of archival pigment prints and handwritten text, 95 x 159�


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© Self-portrait

Ulaanabaatar, Mongolia, 2012, Fetal Position and Drool series. Archival pigment print, 11 x 11”


Charlie Grosso (b. 1979, Taipei, Taiwan) received her B.A. from the University of Southern California. Grosso went on to study with such well-known commercial photographers as Jay Maisel, Bobbi Lane and Jim McHugh. She has had national and international exhibitions at Bill Hodges Gallery, NY; New York Photo Festival at the PowerHouse Arena, Brooklyn; LA ArtCore, LA; the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes San Alejandro, Havana, Cuba; and En Foco at El Taller Boricua Gallery in New York City. Grosso completed an artist residency at the Vermont Studio Center in 2012 and won the Public Choice Award for Documentary Photography at the Prix de la Photographie, Paris, in 2008. Grosso is the co-founder and Executive Director for Baang and Burne Contemporary ( She was selected by juror Melissa Harris to receive En Foco’s 2007–2008 New Works Photography Fellowship Award.

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Charlie Grosso 1. Rabat, Morocco, 2010, Fetal Position and Drool series. Archival pigment print, 4 x 4” 2. Bogotá, Colombia, 2010, Fetal Position and Drool series. Archival pigment print, 4 x 4” 3. Montréal, Canada, 2010, Fetal Position and Drool series. Archival pigment print, 4 x 4” 4. Brooklyn, NY, 2010, Fetal Position and Drool series. Archival pigment print, 4 x 4”


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Charlie Grosso New York, NY, 2010, Fetal Position and Drool series. Archival pigment print, 4 x 4�

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Charlie Grosso Peremsebe, Turkey, 2012, Fetal Position and Drool series. Archival pigment print, 4 x 4�


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Charlie Grosso 1. Juayua, El Salvador, 2009, Fetal Position and Drool series. Archival pigment print, 4 x 4” 2. Prague, Czech Republic, 2012, Fetal Position and Drool series. Archival pigment print, 4 x 4” 3. Bogotá, Colombia, 2009, Fetal Position and Drool series. Archival pigment print, 4 x 4” 4. Almaty, Kazakhstan, 2012, Fetal Position and Drool series. Archival pigment print, 4 x 4”

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Brenda Perry

Murder 6, 2010, Postmortem Juarez series. Tintype, 4 x 5”

© Self-portrait

Brenda Perry (b. 1978, Juarez, Mexico) received her M.A. in 2010 at the University of Texas at El Paso and her B.A. in 2001 at Columbia College, Chicago. She has participated in national and international group and solo exhibitions at Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juárez, Mexico; the El Paso Museum of Art and the Glass Gallery both in El Paso, TX; the School of the Art Institute, Chicago; Gallery 219, London; and En Foco at Calumet Photographic Gallery in New York City. Perry was awarded two research grants from the Graduate School at University of Texas at El Paso, for 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, as well as the Albert Weisman Scholarship from Columbia College for 2000-2001. Perry was selected by juror Andy Adams to receive En Foco’s 2011–2012 New Works Photography Fellowship Award, and her work was included in the New Works article published in Nueva Luz 15:2.



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Brenda Perry 1. Murder 4, 2010, Postmortem Juarez series. Tintype, 4 x 5” 2. Murder 3, 2010, Postmortem Juarez series. Tintype, 4 x 5” 3. Murder 5, 2010, Postmortem Juarez series. Tintype, 4 x 5” 4. Murder 2, 2010, Postmortem Juarez series. Tintype, 4 x 5” p.24-25. Underlying Issues (detail), 2010. Three photographs on transparent acetate, 5 x 7 x 3 feet

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Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira

Closer, Other Stories I series, 2009-2011. C-print and handwritten text, 13 x 11�


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© Self-portrait

Iguanas, Other Stories I series, 2009-2011. C-print and handwritten text, 13 x 11”


Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira (b. 1983, New York, NY) received her B.A. from the School of Visual Arts, NY in 2005. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at the Museo Antropológico y de Arte Contemporáneo, Guayaquil, Ecuador; the Queens Museum of Art; the Front Gallery, Aarhus, Denmark; and with En Foco at Calumet Photographic Gallery in New York City. Miranda-Rivadeneira has received numerous scholarships and residencies, including a residency at Fondazione Ratti’s Visual Arts Program in Como, Italy, 2005; the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for 2010-2011; and the Individual Artist Initiative Award from the Queens Council of the Arts in 2010. Latina Leaders, Prospect Magazine, and Skin Magazine have all published articles on her work. Miranda-Rivadeneira was selected by juror Anne Tucker to receive En Foco’s 2009–2010 New Works Photography Fellowship Award. Her new work was included in the New Works article published in Nueva Luz 14:3, and she received En Foco’s scholarship to attend FotoFest in 2010.

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Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira Superkids, Other Stories I series, 2009-2011. C-print and handwritten text, 13 x 11�


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Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira The Iron, Other Stories I series, 2009-2011. C-print and handwritten text, 13 x 11�

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Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira The Crown, Other Stories I series, 2009-2011. C-print and handwritten text, 13 x 11�


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Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira Rain Call, Other Stories I series, 2009-2011. C-print and handwritten text, 13 x 11�

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Wendel White

© Self-portrait

Door Knob, Maye St Julien, Eatonville Historic Preservation, Eatonville, FL, Manifest series, 2012. Archival pigment print, 22 x 27 ½”


Wendel White (b. 1956, Newark, NJ) received his M.F.A. from the University of Texas in Austin in 1982. He was awarded a 2011 artist-in-residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE; a 2009 Artist Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the 2003 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Photography. White has had solo and group exhibitions at the Bernstein Gallery, Princeton University; The Arts at CIIS, San Francisco, CA; En Foco at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, DC, and Aljira, Newark, NJ; Light Work, Syracuse, NY; and En Foco at Calumet Photographic Gallery in New York City. He has upcoming exhibitions at The Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, Eatonville, FL and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, NY. White was selected by juror Anne Tucker to receive En Foco’s 2009–2010 New Works Photography Fellowship Award. His new work was included in the New Works article published in Nueva Luz 14:3.


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Wendel White Watch, Larkin Franklin Sr., Eatonville Historic Preservation, Eatonville, FL, Manifest series, 2012. Archival pigment print, 22 x 27 ½�

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Wendel White Hat, Maye St. Julien, Eatonville Historic Preservation, Eatonville, FL, Manifest series, 2012. Archival pigment print, 22 x 27 ½�


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Wendel White Eatonville: A Study of Negro Management 1950, Olin Library Archives, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL, Manifest series, 2012. Archival pigment print, 22 x 27 ½�

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NEW WORKS #16 by Natasha Egan

As I looked through all the submissions for the 16th En Foco New Works Photography Fellowship Awards, I began to see individuality as a commonality, though the artists represented a vast range of ethnicities and points of view, and their subject matter varied remarkably. Moved by the influence of personal journeys on bodies of work, I found myself transported to diverse places, to scenarios both altogether real and notably surreal. As I looked at each project submitted, however, I only stopped for long periods of time when a series of photographs visually arrested me. Looking at a particularly strong photograph is like reading a smartly crafted poem—one has to read it several times to find its deeper meaning. Our minds can read what is on the surface of a picture quickly, but when a photograph stirs an intuitive and uniquely personal response that is the moment we become captivated. The singular quality and conceptual depth one can draw from the photograph makes possible a singular experience for the viewer. Each of the five artists selected for New Works #16—Daniel Ballesteros, Mercedes Dorame, Yijun Liao, Jared Soares, and Rodrigo Valenzuela—submitted work that achieves a balance of formal qualities and conceptual layers. Each one of them uses distinctive photographic modes and methods to reinforce their concept and his or her unique cultural past to investigate compelling questions around social or personal issues. For many years Daniel Ballesteros has been in search of answering a familial question: Why did his grandfather choose to leave the Philippines in the 1940s, assimilate to Western culture in the heart of the American Midwest, and never look back? Using a combination of digital, analog, and wet plate collodion techniques, Ballesteros physically and visually creates photographs that layer the past with the present and reflect a complex history. His investigation begins in the Midwest looking at the neighborhood his grandfather assimilated to and then takes us to the Philippines, where Ballesteros becomes the first member of his family to visit the country since his grandfather’s departure. Each photograph records his experience of looking to the past to better understand his culture and family heritage. The triptych titled Truck (2011), taken in the South City neighborhood of Saint Louis, Missouri, where he grew up and his parents still live, is juxtaposed with a


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picture titled Tree and Bunker (2012) that illustrates a decaying bunker taken on the island of Corregidor, pivotal during World War II, that sits at the mouth of Manila Bay in the Philippines. Ballesteros states, “I now see that history can be a burden that is passed from generation to generation and by not sharing his, my grandfather provided his children with the cleanest possible slate he could, left to invent themselves without obstacles or references or help.”1 --one’s place in a particular landscape, Mercedes Dorame explores her heritage as a member of the Gabrielino/Tongva tribe in Los Angeles. The US government paid $0.40/acre for their land and today the tribe has no federal recognition, and therefore no reservation land. Finding space to congregate in and use for ceremony is a constant challenge, and the result can lack authenticity, potentially destroying community and eventually, culture. Mixing fact with fiction, Dorame’s photographs record rituals that she sets up in a landscape that once belonged to her ancestors in an effort to piece her legacy back together. Curiously, Dorame has access to this authentic land because her nonnative grandparents purchased the property over fifty years ago in an area that continues to be undeveloped, leaving much of it as it may have been generations ago. Dorame grew up playing in this landscape and exploring it with unlimited access. In the photograph Visions of Home (2012), the background is the house of her Caucasian grandparents and represents a gathering place. It is where family marriages, funerals, and holidays have taken place over the decades, and the small yellow house made of clay in the foreground is an object she made as a child. Dorame writes, “This image has me thinking about the American Dream and how when my Native American grandparents tried to buy a home in West Los Angeles the neighbors sent around a petition to try and keep them out of the neighborhood because they didn't want to devalue the area.”2 In Dorame’s Follow Me to the Water (2011), a thick line made from an earthy material forms a path that playfully dares the viewer to visually go through an open gate that leads to a cliff with the Pacific Ocean below. The rust-colored substance, used in multiple photographs, is in fact cinnamon that she uses as a conceptual and

Intercambio © Mercedes Dorame, Visions of Home, In the Beginning was Fox and Cinnamon: Imagined Origin Stories series, 2012. C-print, 30 x 30”

visual substitute for ochre, a ceremonial material found on many of the archaeological sites Dorame has researched. With ochre difficult to find, she questions how the use of cinnamon, in exchange for ochre, could at once keep a historical ceremony relevant and personalize the ritual. The use of cinnamon again refers back to her childhood as her grandmother made tea with cinnamon sticks. “The smell and color take me back to that kitchen, to being in her presence. I long to be back in her kitchen, to be in the presence of my ancestors. I want to be able to ask the questions that a child couldn't know to ask, about our culture, their experience, the history and stories of our people. A lot of the ritual and ceremony goes back to attempts to reconnect with the past, to piece things back together, to make new truths.”3

© Mercedes Dorame, Follow me to the Water, In the Beginning was Fox and Cinnamon: Imagined Origin Stories series, 2012. C-print, 30 x 30”

In 2005 Chinese artist Yijun Liao left her home city of Shanghai to study photography in the United States. She left behind the restrictive family responsibilities that had been forced upon her to begin a new life in a place where she felt a fresh sense of freedom

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Intercambio © Daniel Ballesteros, Bunker and Tree, Midwest Filipino, 2012. Ambrotypes on black velvet, 24 x 24”

and control. In 2007 she met her boyfriend, Moro, a Japanese man five years her junior. Until this time, Liao had been raised to assume she must be in a relationship with an older man, someone more mature to protect and mentor her. With Moro, Liao experienced a reversal in roles and attained the greater authority and power in the relationship. To further complicate the connection, the long and complex shared history of China and Japan made it culturally common for people of each country to think of those from the other as the enemy. With these cultural contradictions, Liao began to playfully experiment with her relationship with Moro, creating Experiential Relationship, a body of work that raises questions about these stereotypes. In her photographs How to build a relationship with layered meaning (2008) and Relationships work best when each partner knows their proper (2008), Liao looks directly into the camera while Moro has his face turned away from the camera or looking directly at Liao. To signal the photographs are self-portraits, strategically, Liao places the exposed shutter release cable in Moro’s hands, essentially giving the viewer the illusion that Moro is in control of the picture when in fact he needs Liao’s permission to press the shutter. In Relationships work best when each partner knows their proper, she was pinching his nipple to indicate the time for him to


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release the shutter. Liao says, “I think in a way, it’s a metaphor for relationship. Sometimes the one that seems to be in control is actually the one who is being controlled.”4 In a new body of work titled For Your Eyes Only, Liao continues collaborating with Moro, but the work has shifted toward an even more intimate study of their relationship. Poking (2012), for example, is a close-up shot of Liao’s index finger with her red painted fingernail directly aimed toward Moro’s buttocks, while in Debut (2012), Liao is playfully exposing her own naked buttock through a curtain for the camera—we are to assume for Moro’s pleasure, yet unlike the earlier work this one does not reveal who controls the shutter. For Liao this photograph represents a new beginning and is about debuting her body both privately and naughtily to the public, and about debuting an idea.5 Jared Soares has a love for hip-hop culture, and while he was working in Virginia as a photojournalist for The Roanoke Times he began a personal documentary project recording the connection between hip-hop artists and their working-class families living in rural Virginia. He spends time photographing the aspiring artists in their basement recording studios, with their families, in their homes, and on the streets as they try to attain their dreams of success. As the project has progressed, Soares’s pictures have

Intercambio © Yijun Liao, Debut, For Your Eyes Only series, 2012. C-print, 16 x 20”

captured more mundane moments and situations that speak to the challenges and splendors of living in the small towns, and to the idea of family and community. Untitled (2009) portrays Marcus Purcell, a local rapper and artist, comforting his children after a group of boys threw rocks at his daughter while he was performing.[6] Untitled (2008), depicting a boy holding a lit bottle rocket and pressing his hand against a window, could be a poetic image about youth. The real story about this image, as told by the photographer, speaks more about violence than nostalgia, as the boy is actually shoving the bottle rocket through the open window in the makeshift recording studio and causing the band members to run away.7

© Yijun Liao, Relationships work best when each partner knows their proper, Experimental Relationship series, 2008. C-print, 24 x 20”

In 2005 Rodrigo Valenzuela left his home country, Chile, in search of a place where he could grow artistically and personally. In Chile he had been an emerging award-winning artist and teaching assistant in the video department at the University of Chile, but soon after arriving in the United States he found himself working as an undocumented concrete laborer in Boston with a limited ability to communicate with those around him. This experience changed his art making practice as he exploited these challenges and began to make work that was increasingly minimal and abstract in an effort to expose an internal sense of his absence and loneliness. Now a legitimate resident of the United States who has completed degrees in philosophy and photography

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Intercambio © Jared Soares, Marcus, Deijah, Elijah, Small-Town Hip Hop series, 2009. Archival pigment print, 16 x 24”

in Washington State, Valenzuela’s projects vary in media and concept. His black-and-white photographic series The Builder (2011–12) depicts ramshackle structures at the point of collapse and isolated in a desert landscape, yielding a cinematic narrative and raising questions. Who do these structures belong to? Are they a place of refuge for any wanderer that comes upon them? How long have they existed and what was/is their purpose? The setting is a generic desert, allowing the location to be placeless, much like the artist himself. To make these pictures, Valenzuela has digitally built each photograph from an assortment of images he has taken throughout his personal journeys through North and South America, and in the process he has generated the illusion of a seamless landscape that recalls the human psyche. © Rodrigo Valenzuela, The Builder 1, The Builder series, 2012. Archival pigment print, 30 x 40”

Natasha Egan is the Director of the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, IL. She has organized numerous international and national exhibitions including the FotoFest 2010 Biennial: Contemporary US Photography; and Photography Now for the Center for Photography at Woodstock in 2012. She has contributed essays to such publications as Brian Ulrich: Copia (Aperture, 2006) and Michael Wolf: The Transparent City (Aperture, 2008). Egan also teaches in the Photography and Humanities departments at Columbia College Chicago and juries national and international exhibitions.

All five of the New Work #16 artists demonstrate artistic courage. They ground their work in personal investigations that seek to answer problematic questions about their heritage or to push the boundaries of societal norms. The range of photographic genres such as still-life, documentary, and constructed reality, along with diverse techniques such as color, black-and-white, digital montage, and 19th-century processes, speak to the multitude approaches an artist can use to confront a contemporary issue in some way that makes it strike us anew. 1

2 3 4 5 6 7


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Daniel Ballesteros, proposal to the En Foco: New Works Photography Fellowships Awards #16 Artist Citations, 2012. Email correspondence between the author and Mercedes Dorame, 12/3/12. Ibid. Email correspondence between the author and Yijun Liao, 12/4/12. Ibid. Email correspondence between the author and Jared Soares, 12/4/12. Ibid.

New Works Photography Fellowship Awards TIMELINE









Alejandro Durán, Priya Kambil, Adam Amengual, Christine Nguyen, Brenda Perry Juror: Michael Mazzeo, Mazzeo Projects

Wendel A. White, Karen Miranda Rivadeneira, Dean Dempsey, Samantha Box, Rebecca Martinez Juror: Anne Tucker, Curator, Museum of Fine Arts Houston

Kesha Bruce, Adriana Katzew, Donald Daedalus, Myra Greene, Charlie Grosso, Esther Hidalgo, Wanda Acosta Juror: Melissa Harris, Editor in Chief, Aperture Magazine

Javier Carmona, Trinidad MacAuliffe, Michael Gonzales, Preston Wadley, Cyndi Prince Juror: Frank Gimpaya

Colette Fu, Keba Konte, Don Gregorio Antón, Liliana Rodriguez, Juror: Elizabeth Ferrer

Lisa Jong-Soon Goodlin, Larry McNeil, Gaye Chan, R. Hong-An Truong

Tertuliano Delgado, Kapulani Landgraff, Sheila Pree Bright, Darrell Matsumoto

Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Daniel Salazar, Pipo, Rodolfo Ornelas















Yijun Liao, Mercedes Dorame, Jared Soares, Rodrigo Valenzuela, Daniel Ballesteros Juror: Natasha Egan, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL

Alex Leme, Rona Chang, Susana Raab, Daniel Ramos, Sarah Sudhoff Juror: Andy Adams,

Morgan M. Ford, Karen Garrett De Luna, Isabelle Lutterodt, Wendy Phillips, Cybèle ClarkeMendes, Archy LaSalle, Viviane Moos Juror: Deborah Willis, Curator, author and Chair of Photography & Imaging Dept, TISCH/NYU


#10 Anniversary Exhibit* Meg Escudé, Divya Murthy, Stephen Marc, Sonya Lawyer, Emilio Bañuelos, LaToya Ruby Frazier, William Wilson. Juror: Alison Devine Nordström, Curator, George Eastman House










Manuel Rivera-Ortiz, Bonnie Portelance, and Nzingah Muhammad Juror: Frank Gimpaya

Ana de Orbegoso, Felicia Megginson, Hyoungsun Ha, Ching-Wei Jiang

Andrew Ortiz, Edwine Seymour, Jaishri Abichandani, Trina Kyounghui

Terry Boddie, André Cypriano, Sulaiman Ellison, Suzanne K. Saylor


Saving the Light (precursor to New Works) Rita Rivera, Angel Chevrestt, Tony Gonzalez, Ivonne Maria Marcial

*Also included work by: Tony González, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Terry Boddie, Tertuliano Delgado, Sheila Pree Bright, Jaishri Abichandani, Larry McNeil, Ana de Orbegoso, Don Gregorio Antón, Bonnie Portelance, Trinidad Mac-Auliffe. Additional exhibit: special digital presentation by winning artists from the past decade.


Nu e va L uz photographic journal Published by En Foco, Inc. 1738 Hone Avenue Bronx, NY 10461 718/931-9311

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"En Foco: New Works/Crossing Boundaries" : Nueva Luz  
"En Foco: New Works/Crossing Boundaries" : Nueva Luz