Aaron Siskind Foundation announces 2016 Individual Photographer’s Fellowship Winners

These 6 photographers are ones to watch

Aaron Siskind, Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation, 1953–61.

Last month I traveled to New York to serve on this year’s Aaron Siskind Foundation Individual Photographer’s Fellowship jury. This kind of thing is a real honor to be a part of — Siskind is a giant in the history of photography and the foundation has been supporting photographic imagemakers since its inception 25 years ago. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to team up with Vince Aletti and Deb Willis to award this year’s fellowships.

Our 2016 grant recipients were announced this week and each of them is doing amazing things with their photography. These artists were awarded $8,000 to continue their ongoing project work and further their approach to imagemaking. I’m excited to share their work with you today.

If you aren’t already, do yourself a favor and learn more about these talented people: Sam Contis, Holly Lynton, Raymond Meeks, RaMell Ross, Bryan Schutmaat, and Danny Wilcox Frazier. And, if you like what you see here, please recommend this story by touching the heart at the bottom of this post.

Looking forward to seeing what’s next for each of them — Congrats!


Image courtesy Sam Contis → Follow her on Instagram @SamContis

Sam Contis is an artist based in California. She received her MFA from Yale University and her BFA from New York University. Her work has been exhibited and published internationally and will be part of a three-person show at Fotomuseum Antwerp later this year. Her first book will be published by MACK in 2017.


Image courtesy Holly Lynton → Follow her on Instagram @golightly923

Holly Lynton lives in Massachusetts and has received a BA from Yale University, and a MFA in Photography from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. Lynton has been a Visiting Lecturer at Amherst College in Massachusetts and the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts in Paros, Greece, and a Mentor to MFA students at the New Hampshire Institute of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and featured in publications such as The New Yorker, The Village Voice, The Miami Herald, Photo District News, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Oxford American, Water ~ Stone Review, and ARTnews. Lynton has been honored with a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship (2013), The Syngenta Photography Award (2013), and an Artist Resource Trust Grant (2011). She is represented by the Miller Yezerski Gallery in Boston; the Dina Mitrani Gallery in Miami; Goodwin Fine Art, in Denver; and LA Noble Gallery in London.


Image courtesy Raymond Meeks → Follow him on Instagram at @raymondmeeks

Raymond Meeks has been recognized for his books and pictures centered on family and place. In November 2014, a mid-career retrospective of his books was organized by Light Work in Syracuse, New York. The exhibition featured more than twenty books, including self-published works and numerous volumes from a variety of publishers. Meeks is currently at work on a project titled “Furlong”, the name of a swimming/cliff diving location near his home in Durham, New York.


Image courtesy Ramell Ross → Follow him on Instagram @RamellRoss

RaMell Ross is a Rhode Island and Alabama based artist. He is part of Filmmaker Magazine’s 2015 “25 New Faces of Independent Film” and was a Sundance Institute New Frontier Artist in Residence in the MIT Media Lab. In 2016 he was a winner of the Aperture 2016 Portfolio Prize. He is currently a Research Affiliate at the MIT Media Lab and an Assistant Professor of Practice in Brown University’s Visual Arts Department.


Image courtesy Bryan Schutmaat → Follow him on Instagram @BryanSchutmaat

Bryan Schutmaat is a Texas-based photographer whose work has been widely exhibited and published in the United States and abroad. He has won numerous awards, including the Aperture Portfolio Prize, Center’s Gallerist Choice Awards, and the Daylight Photo Awards, among many others. His first monograph, Grays the Mountain Sends, was published by the Silas Finch Foundation in 2013 to international critical acclaim. Bryan’s photos can be found in the permanent collection in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Hood Museum at Dartmouth, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.


Image courtesy Danny Wilcox Frazier → Follow him on Instagram @dannywilcoxfrazier

Danny Wilcox Frazier is a photographer and filmmaker whose work focuses on marginalized communities across the United States. Frazier has photographed people struggling to survive the economic shift that has devastated rural communities throughout America, including in his home state of Iowa. His work acknowledges isolation and neglect while also celebrating perseverance and strength. Since completing his graduate studies at the University of Iowa in 2004, Frazier has continued to teach workshops as well as university classes. Education and the advancement of visual storytelling have always been prominent in his work mission. Frazier has served as workshop faculty at the Missouri Photo Workshop and holds adjunct faculty status at the University of Iowa’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


About the Aaron Siskind Foundation

Photographer and educator Aaron Siskind (1903–1991) holds a preeminent place in the history of American photography. Beginning his photographic career in the 1930s as a social documentarian with the New York Photo League, he ultimately radicalized the medium by emphasizing the photograph as an abstract form of expression and an aesthetic end in itself. Siskind taught in New York City’s public schools for 25 years before becoming recognized as a photographer and then a gifted pioneer of photographic education. His vision and methods have and will continue to inspire and instruct future generations of artists and teachers.

Siskind directed that his estate become a resource that would support contemporary photography and reward and encourage excellence in its practitioners. Since his death in 1991, the Aaron Siskind Foundation has been one of the few American organizations providing cash grants to individual photographic artists on a yearly basis. The Individual Photographer’s Fellowship (IPF) review panel examines the work of upwards of 1,000 applicants each year, awarding a varying number of grants in amounts of up to $10,000.

Eligible work must be based on the idea of the lens-based still image, but grant recipients work in forms as diverse as digital imagery, installations, documentary projects and photo-generated print media. Whether they are established achievers or emerging talents, the foundation recognizes each recipient’s potential to contribute to the medium in its largest sense.

The Aaron Siskind Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving the lens arts community. It works to preserve and protect Aaron’s artistic legacy and foster knowledge of and appreciation for his art through new books, exhibits, educational events and scholarly research. It seeks to support contemporary photographic art and art-making through a variety of projects, events and collaborations.