Baum Award Background
The Baum Award for An Emerging American Photographer (Baum Award) is a project established out of the conviction that photography is a powerfully influential medium with the capacity to emotionally connect with audiences in ways that words cannot. This ability to reach people on a visceral level can transform awareness to understanding and lead interest into action – fundamental aspects of a healthy and vital society.
The Baum Award provides emerging photographers with resources and the means to pursue their art at a critical point in their career. The award consists of a $10,000 cash grant, a 3-month exhibition and reception at San Francisco Camerawork which celebrates the artist and brings the San Francisco Bay Area art community together to view their work. Media coverage is also a component with the artist be featured in multiple news media outlets.
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Since 2008, Baum partner SF Camerawork has administered the Baum Award nomination and jury process and has hosted the two month long exhibition. Twenty-five contemporary art curators are asked to nominate two emerging artists for the award. A jury of professional artists and curators are selected by SF Camerawork from 50 nominees. The Baum Award is the only award in the U.S. to single out ‘Emerging’ American photographers for support, and is the largest national award among the grants and fellowships available in photography.
Baum Award Winners
2012 – Eric William Carroll
Born and raised in the Midwest, Eric William Carroll currently resides in San Francisco. His body of work is metaphorically rich and triggers discussions about the contemporary use of the medium such as – what do we expect from photography and why is its use so widespread? It has been exhibited in numerous cities including: Fotohof in Salzburg, Austria; the Camera Club of New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. Carroll has participated in residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Rayko Photo Center, and the Blacklock Nature Sanctuary. Learn more about Eric and his photography on his website and blog.
2010 – Christopher Sims
Christopher Sims photographs in “Theater of War: The Pretend Villages of Iraq and Afghanistan” depict the people and places that play a role in the fictitious “villages” that serve as the U.S. military training ground for soldiers. The villages serve as a strange and poignant way station for people heading off to war and for those who have fled it. Soldiers interact with pretend villagers, often recent immigrants from Iraq and Afghanistan, who have now found work in America playing a version of the lives they left behind.Hosting the 2010 Baum Award exhibition, Sharon Tanenbaum, Executive Director of SF Camerawork noted, “Introducing a reality and places that are largely unknown to most Americans, Sims creates beautifully formal photographs, but with the extraordinary twist of this surreal element of modern-day war.” Sims, was unanimously selected by a panel of jurors that consisted of: Bruce Hainley, contributing editor, Artforum, Los Angeles; Erin O’Toole, assistant curator, department of photography, SFMOMA; Tina Takemoto, artist and professor, California College of the Arts; Jack von Euw, curator of The Bancroft Library Pictorial Collection, UC Berkeley; and Chuck Mobley, curator, San Francisco Camerawork.
2009 – Sean McFarland
Sean McFarland combines his own documentary style photographs with found images to create mysterious and surreal landscapes in his series entitled “Pictures of the Earth.” Working by both hand and computer, McFarland makes collages, which he then re-photographs with a Polaroid MP4 land camera. The resulting pictures blend the spontaneity and perceived truthfulness of a Polaroid with the artifice of the new digital language. McFarland notes, “By focusing on making images of the natural world I’m interested in making pictures of us, how we change the earth and how the earth changes us in return. I’m using Polaroid photographs as a witness to the landscape, showing us its history, our trace in it, and admiring its beauty.” McFarland’s fantastical landscapes upend our perception of reality and challenge the authority of the photograph. His latest project, “Dark Pictures,” are photographs of dense foliage that look as if they were taken in a national park, but in fact were taken within ten miles of McFarland’s San Francisco home.
2008 – Mike Brodie
Mike Brodie documents youth living on the edges of society, in images that are raw but not hopeless. As 20-year old photographer, living in Philadelphia, Brodie called himself “the Polaroid Kid,” because up to that point he had only shot in Polaroid film on cameras found in thrift shops. Brodie is now shooting on 35mm film, and his most recent series of photographs is entitled “That Rockaway Summer: Boys and Girls of Modern Days Railways.” The series documents the lives of young people who hop trains and who are, Brodie says, “one of the most important, overlooked, and temporary underground cultures of modern times.” When asked about his plans, Mr. Brodie says, “I just want to migrate for the next few years, following warm weather and photographing the train hopping youth of America.”
2005 – Lisa Kereszi
Ms. Kereszi’s gritty images of empty and abandoned spaces in and around New York create dramas from the remnants of people’s lives and reveal her interest in fantasy, escape, glamour, and our failed attempts to achieve them. Ms. Kereszi majored in photography at Bard College and in 2000 received a Masters of Fine Arts from Yale University. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Bronx Museum of Art. Ms. Kereszi also works successfully as a freelance photographer. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Nest, Details, Wallpaper, and other publications. In 2005, The Baum Award was hosted by the Berkeley Art Museum, curator Heidi Zuckerman-Jacobson and the Jury included Catherine Wagner, Artist.
2004 – Katy Grannan
Katy Grannan received the 2004 Baum Award. Her striking portraits examine the desire of her subjects to offer themselves up to the camera lens. Ms. Grannan received her Masters of Fine Arts from Yale University in 1999. Her photographs were included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Ms. Grannan’s solo exhibitions include: the Arles Photography Festival in France; 51 Fine Art in Antwerp, Belgium; Artemis Greenberg Van Doren Gallery and Salon 94 in New York. Ms. Grannan’s work is collected by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum. Model American: Katy Grannan, the artist’s first monograph, was released in 2005. In 2004, The Baum Award was hosted by the Berkeley Art Museum, curator Heidi Zuckerman-Jacobson.
2003 – Luis Gispert
The 2003 Baum Award, presented by Heidi Jacobson Zuckerman at the Berkeley Art Museum, was awarded to Luis Gispert. A member of a Cuban family who fled Cuba on a raft in the 1960’s and settled in Miami, Mr. Gispert grew up as a street kid with a tricked-out car. He discovered photography and eventually won a scholarship to the Masters of Fine Arts program at Yale University. His big break came when he was selected to take part in the Whitney Biennial in 2002. Since winning The Baum Award, Mr. Gispert has exhibited in a show at the Whitney Museum and had a solo exhibition at the Art Pace San Antonio gallery and was featured with a five-year survey of his work at the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College. Gispert’s work is in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, and the Miami Art Museum, among others. In 2003, The Baum Award was hosted by the Berkeley Art Museum, curator Heidi Zuckerman-Jacobson.
2001 – Deborah Luster
The first Baum Award was presented in 2001 to Deborah Luster in conjunction with the Friends of Photography/Ansel Adams Gallery in San Francisco, with curatorial oversight by Nora Cabot. Luster’s photographs peered into the hidden worlds of family, crime and incarceration capturing intimate portraits of prisoners in Louisiana. After winning The Baum Award, Luster received the 2002 John Gutmann Photography Fellowship from the San Francisco Foundation, and the Anonymous Was a Woman Award; her Baum Award photography was also acquired by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The Baum Award allowed Luster the time to make prints for her book, One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana, released in 2003 by Twin Palms Publishing.