New Works: a light that shines

Cover of Nueva Luz photographic journal, featuring artwork by Terry Boddie.

The New Works Photography Fellowship Awards program and I go way back. In fact, so do En Foco and I, as we have 23-years of history together – my last ten as its executive director and publisher of Nueva Luz. That is one of the many reasons it was a joy to contribute to this special issue of the publication, where I trace the origins of what became a nationally treasured program and what it meant to some of its artists and the field at large.

The New Works program began in 1996 as a means to encourage photographers to create or complete an in-depth body of work, honoring and affirming the importance of one’s own culture.

Below is an excerpt, but I hope you’ll visit the En Foco website to read the full story or subscribe to Nueva Luz:

“Looking back, we witnessed an idea grow into a nationwide movement. We had created a community of artists with a profound sense of belonging and each program further emphasized that bond. Some of the artists like Annu Palakunnathu Matthew[1] shared years later that this recognition came at a crucial time in her career, as it was the first time an organization had placed a value on the work she was doing. It gave her the encouragement and fuel needed to continue doing the work that fed her soul. Our lives were changed in witnessing many of the New Works artists thrive in the years that followed, hearing more and more remarks like Annu’s. For me, the most memorable comment came from a young artist whose work had not yet received any encouragement: LaToya Ruby Frazier[2]. To this day I have never been so grateful to trust my instincts and find a way to add additional artists to the New Works #10 roster – and then urge LaToya to take the next steps in showing her work. She is receiving such deserved acclaim, I can’t help but feel like her first art madriña.” 

[1] Annu Palakunnathu Matthew participated in the first New Works Photography Fellowship Program, 1997-1998.

[2] LaToya Ruby Frazier participated in New Works #10, 2006-2007. Her work was also featured in Nueva Luz Vol. 14#3 in 2010.

(Photo: cover of Nueva Luz Vol. 27 No. 2 featuring Terry Boddie, Elementary III, Residual Memory series 2018)