For Immediate Release
SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Foundation announced today that Nigel Poor of San Francisco and photography collaborators Nate Larson of Baltimore and Marni Shindelman of Athens, GA are the recipients of the 2016 John Gutmann Photography Fellowship. The annual award is given to an emerging artist who exhibits professional accomplishment, serious artistic commitment, and financial need in the field of creative photography.
The prestigious award, established by the late photographer John Gutmann (1905-1998) and administered by The San Francisco Foundation, brings with it $5,000 each to support the development of Poor, and Larson and Shindelman’s collaborative creative work. Eminent photographers and curators Reagan Louie, Richard Misrach and Sandra Phillips were this year’s jurors.
“This year’s work was once again outstanding and posed difficult choices. We selected two projects that are inventive, topical, and although already compelling, full of potential,” said Reagan Louie, Gutmann Fellowship juror and photography professor at San Francisco Art Institute.
Louie says of Poor’s work, “Nigel Poor’s San Quentin Prison Report Archive Project is an urgent and powerful work that documents life inside prison. Producing prints from the prison’s archive, Poor then has a group of incarcerated men “interpret and physically interact with the photographs, mapping them through words and drawings to assemble meaning and narrative.” The evocative results house memory, personal experience, and gives voice to an invisible population.”
“Poor’s work is wonderfully inventive and deeply humanistic. Her bravery is astonishing and exemplary,” according to juror Sandra Phillips.
In 2011 Nigel’s interest in investigating the marks people leave behind led her to San Quentin State Prison where she taught history of photography classes for the Prison University Project. This experience changed the focus of her practice and the visual presentation of her ideas. She has since moved away from being a solely visual artist working alone in the studio and now spends the majority of her creative time that would be in a studio inside the prison working with a group of mostly lifers on photographic projects and producing radio stories about life inside. Poor states, “The work I do at San Quentin is motivated by the desire to give an invisible population a voice and access to the outside world. I believe the work we are producing will prove to be a powerful and motivating factor to get people to consider how we deal with crime, punishment and rehabilitation in the United States.”
Poor expressed her gratitude saying, “It was a thrill, honor and a delightful surprise to find out I was one of the recipients of the John Gutmann Photography Fellowship Award for 2016. I will use the fellowship to support the long term collaborative project I am doing with incarcerated men at San Quentin State Prison.”
Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman’s collaborative work focuses on the cultural understanding of distance as perceived in modern life and network culture. Larson and Shindelman’s project, Geolocation, uses publicly available embedded GPS information in Twitter updates to track the locations of user posts and make photographs to mark the location in the real world. They photographed sites linked to #ThanksPutinForThis in St. Petersburg and Moscow and are now working on photographing #ThanksObama in Chicago and Los Angeles, the sister cities to St. Petersburg and Moscow.
Louie said of Marni Shindelman and Nate Larson, “Innovative and resourceful, they are exploring the various ways new media, digital, social are being deployed, consumed, specifically ‘analyzing the use of the hashtag as a gathering point for ideas online.’”
“We are honored and grateful for the Gutmann fellowship, which we will use to support photographic fieldwork in Los Angeles and Chicago, completing a project started in Russia last summer,” said Nate Larson.”We also wish to acknowledge that the work in Russia was made possible by a funded residency with CEC Artslink and especially wish to thank Iaroslav Volovod as our curator and translator.”
The San Francisco Foundation – With more than $1.3 billion in assets, the San Francisco Foundation is one of the largest community foundations in the country. The foundation is committed to expanding opportunity and ensuring a more equitable future for all in the Bay Area, and working with its donors, it distributed nearly $100 million a year to nonprofit organizations last year. The San Francisco Foundation serves San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo Counties.