Stranger than Fiction

Stranger Than Fiction

curated by Chau V. Tran

Like a movie set or an imaginary world created in childhood game play, the eerily verisimilar space in Mayumi Terada’s Dollhouse 02-8, and Allen Bryan’s Tea Party oscillates between the artificial and tactile realities, public and private spaces, and the tension of time and space.

These still yet disquieting and ambiguous spaces, too unsettling for human presence, are situated where locality and time have become disjointed and distorted.

Mayumi Terada creates familiar, austere and intimate domestic spaces in her series Dollhouse. Made from wood, Styrofoam, and clay, Terada then photographs this seemingly simple, miniature world with atmospheric natural light. These interiors, though devoid of human presence, evoke an uncanny sense of lingering existence through small objects such as a curtain, a window overlooking scenic beauties, or in this photograph, a bathtub. As with most of the photographs in her series Dollhouse, the room and its sparse trappings are entirely white, confined and almost empty, no decoration, no history. Light permeates the interior gloom through a small window at the corner of the wall and the only object is partly bathed in soft light. The window gives a glimpse of other possibilities beyond this sparse, uninhabited space, but all that comes out of it is white, blinding light. Terada’s photograph defies any rational judgment of scale and proportion. The fabricated minimal design, the mundane everyday object, and the stark contrast of light and shadows, work together to create places that spring out of one’s memories. Her images operate between the realm of reality and recollection, of real and fiction. They puzzle such questions as when and where; of what might have been and may have disappeared; of something seemingly real but appearing at odds with reality.


Tea Party is a part of Allen Bryan’s series Comforts of Home, in which he seeks to portray the constant influx of human living spaces. If Mayumi Terada builds up her empty, melancholic miniature world as if she was reminiscing for something that was lost, Bryan uses digital imaging tools to reorganize fragments of everyday life. Unlike the stark spaces Terada crafts in her photographs, Bryan creates panoramic photographs of extremely clustered domestic spaces, using various images with different light sources, perspectives, and depth of fields. The more time one spends looking at the photograph, the more the space gradually unfolds, and what seems to be, at first glance, a normal scene from everyday life, turns out to be a seamless flow of contradictions. Found objects whose nature contradicts their associated placement confound expectations. This juxtaposition, within a realm where interior and exterior space folds in on each other, creates a scene of quiet chaos. The familiar, shielded nature of a domestic space is confronted by the unsettling elements that it contains in Bryan’s photograph.


With the series Dollhouse, Mayumi Terada sought to make photographs of spaces from her childhood memories while Allen Bryan’s Comforts of Home is the result of the artist’s search for a connection between the different spaces that he had photographed over the years. Just as time distorts our view of the past, we can never produce an exact photographic representation of the reality of those spaces when their image in our mind already grows pale. What these photographs offer is not a person or an object in a specific place at a specific time, but something that is hidden unconsciously in our thoughts and imagination, something that defies time and space, fiction and reality.

– Chau V. Tran, Fall 2014
Arts Administration Intern


PR: 2014 Photographers Fellowship Fund


Jennifer Lynn Morse Awarded the 2014 Photographers’ Fellowship Fund.

The Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW) is delighted to announce that Jennifer Lynn Morse of Kingston, NY has been awarded the 2014 Photographers’ Fellowship Fund.

Sasha Wolf, Founder and Director of the Sasha Wolf Gallery was invited to select this year’s recipient for CPW’s prestigious honor.

This year’s applicant pool included submissions from over a dozen counties and over 60 towns, cities, and villages in upstate New York.

Juror Wolf remarked, I selected Morse for the CPW fellowship because she is so clearly and so beautifully able to convey this understanding of the “human condition” in her work.

Morse was presented with the $2,500 fellowship on Sunday, October 5th at CPW’s Annual Benefit Gala held at the Diamond Mills Hotel in Saugerties, NY.

Also recognized by Wolf, was the 2014 finalist, Allen Bryan (Saugerties NY), who will receive tuition 
scholarship valued at $350 towards a workshop at CPW in 2015. For more information on Bryan and to view his work, visit

Read more

2014 Photography Now Purchase Prize




The Center for Photography at Woodstock is pleased to award the 2014 PHOTOGRAPHY NOW Purchase Prize to Thomas Jackson for his photograph, Plates no. 3, 2013,  from his series Emergent Behaviors.

This acquisition marks the first public collection to purchase Mr. Jackson’s work.

Read more

Photography Now 2014


Juried by Julie Grahame

April 5 – June 15, 2014

Press release →

Reviewing well over 500 entries was quite a challenge, but the level of creativity, and the diversity of topics and of methods made it an enjoyable one.

Amongst the international pool of entries were explorations of personal politics; social commentary; conflicts with/love of nature; health, and healthcare issues; and a whole host of “seeking beauty within the mundane.” There was not much levity or joy. There was a lot of ice. Perhaps unsurprisingly, with the onslaught of ephemeral digital imagery, there were a lot of entries using alternative processes.

For this year’s installment of Photography Now, I sought out thoughtful series that demonstrated a different perspective to that which I regularly see. Each one of those selected is a little twisted.

Continue Reading...

Thomas Jackson’s Emergent Behavior features hovering sculptures made from unnatural items such as non-biodegradable plastic cups and artificially processed cheeseballs, these amazing installations created for the camera evoke swarms and colonies. Teeming creatures are both fascinating and discomforting and these images echo those feelings. Jackson’s project serves as a harbinger to the growing efforts of bio-engineers who increasingly turn to nature for inspiration.

Marcus DeSieno’s Parasites combines micron technology with old photographic processes to scrutinize otherwise invisible creatures, examining the unseen world of bugs around and inside us and confronting the artist’s not-uncommon fear of these parasitic microscopic organisms in the process.

Romy Eijckmans made my heart sing with Living Light. Her camera-less images are made using the bioluminescence of fireflies in an “outdoor darkroom” resulting in twinkling, cosmic patterns. The resulting collaboration between Eijckmans and her fireflies invite us to engage the natural world in sparkling fashion.

William Miller also utilizes an object for something other than what it was originally intended. Recycling an abandoned project long since considered a failure, Miller folded, crumpled, sliced, and scanned old negatives that didn’t work as initially planned. Allowing the physical aspects of the film to manifest, Miller opened the doors for both us and himself to see photography anew.

I am wary of self-portraits-exploring-childhood-experiences, but the colorful, wistful, frank images by Jung S. Kim are not as trite as such projects can often be.Kim references various characters from Korean folk tales, projecting her experiences onto them. Though the viewer may have no familiarity with these tales per se, the images are compelling and the titles provide enticing clues.

In a self-reflective project that is less fanciful, Linda Alterwitz’ While I Am Still uses P.E.T. scans, M.R.I.’s, radiographs, and sonograms, re-captured, and layered with other imagery. Using her personal experiences of medical testing she creates these intense but fragile images that echo how one must feel undergoing such procedures, mind drifting as the body is explored.

Farideh Sakhaeifar’s series Workers Are Taking Photographs seems straightforward at first but initial viewing belies a greater dynamic. The making of these images entails the artist having to leverage her position as an Iranian woman of higher social class than the subjects of her photographs – laborers – in order to get them to comply in making a self-portrait. As environmental portraits, they are powerful on their own, yet with the cultural elements considered, they give us an insight into a side of Iranian culture we don’t see too often.

Using photography as a democratic tool in a different setting and falling under the category of “things we see everyday” I chose Natan Dvir’s Coming Soon for his humorous photographs that highlight the bizarre intrusion of advertising into the urban landscape, to which we have become so inured. These temporary hoardings are too big to really even take in. Their massive messages are ultimately subliminal. Dvir’s photographs reveal an understanding of how to make images on the street, a skill I value greatly and which not all can attain.

Simplistic or convoluted, there are successful combinations of beauty, the surreal, and multiple messages in the chosen projects and each command a closer look.

– Julie Grahame, 2014

Julie Grahame is the publisher of, a full-screen photography magazine, and the associated aCurator blog, named one of the ten best photo sites by the British Journal of Photography and one of’s top 20. She is also the editor for Photography&, and represents the Estate of Yousuf Karsh. Born in London, England, Grahame emigrated in 1992 to manage the New York office of a photo syndication agency representing 400+ photographers and collections. She is a contributing writer for Photo District News’ magazine Emerging Photographer



"Photography Now 2014" juried by Julie Grahame, April 5 - June 15, 2014Linda Alterwitz

"Photography Now 2014" juried by Julie Grahame, April 5 - June 15, 2014Marcus DeSieno

"Photography Now 2014" juried by Julie Grahame, April 5 - June 15, 2014Natan Dvir

"Photography Now 2014" juried by Julie Grahame, April 5 - June 15, 2014Romy Eijckmans

"Photography Now 2014" juried by Julie Grahame, April 5 - June 15, 2014Thomas Jackson

"Photography Now 2014" juried by Julie Grahame, April 5 - June 15, 2014Jung S. Kim

"Photography Now 2014" juried by Julie Grahame, April 5 - June 15, 2014William Miller

"Photography Now 2014" juried by Julie Grahame, April 5 - June 15, 2014Farideh Sakhaeifar



Nick Albertson

Nick Albertson


on view: April 5 – June 15, 2014

reception:  Saturday 5-7pm, April 5, 2014

The Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW) is pleased to announce its spring 2014 exhibition One-Hundred Count featuring works by Nick Albertson and on view from April 5 – June 15, 2014.

Read more

Sara Macel

Sara Macel

May the Road Rise to Meet You

on view February 8 – March 30, 2014
 Press Release →
For the past forty years, my father has traveled around America as a telephone pole salesman. May the Road Rise to Meet You is a pseudo-documentary and biography of his professional life, recreated as a collaboration between father and daughter to create a visual document of the life he has led separate from our shared family experience.

In popular mythology, few professions are as emblematic of this mobile, ambitious and commercially-minded nation as the traveling salesman. As the Internet and outsourcing make this once ubiquitous occupation obsolete, May the Road Rise to Meet You explores the life of a businessman alone on the road. On a larger scale, this project explores the changing nature of “the road” in American culture and in the history of photography. We were traveling north on I-45 through Texas, when I asked my dad what it was like dealing with customers.  He told me: “There’s that old saying that you don’t know someone until you walk a few miles in their moccasins.”  It was in that spirit that I put myself in my father’s size 10 boots. What I found in chasing this enormously elusive male figure is that I can never fully know my father or what it is like to be a man alone on the road. In the same way that a family photo album functions to present an idealized version of a family’s history, these photographs tell the story of how we both want his life on the road to be remembered.

– Sara Macel, 2014


Sara Macel is an artist and photographer based in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA in Photography, Video & Related Media at the School of Visual Arts in 2011 and her BFA in Photography + Imaging from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2003. Her work has been widely exhibited and is in various private collections, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Harry Ransom Center, and the Center of Photography at Woodstock. Recently, she was named a winner in Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward, one of the Top 50 Photographer’s in Photolucida’s Critical Mass Award, winner in the New York Photo Festival Invitational, and finalist in FotoVisura Spotlight Awards. In 2012, Sara received the Individual Photographer’s Fellowship Grant from the Aaron Siskind Foundation. Her first monograph, May the Road Rise to Meet You, was published by Daylight Books in 2013. In addition to her freelance work, Sara currently teaches photography at SUNY Rockland.


PR: Tabula Rasa



artists: Anouk Kruithof, Sara Skorgan Teigen, & Sonja Thomsen
curated by Ariel Shanberg

on view: February 8 – March 30,  2014
opening reception: Saturday February 8, 2014 from 5-7pm

Read more