Penumbra Lecture Series

The Penumbra Foundation is proud to host our artist lecture program, the Penumbra Lecture Series. The series brings to life the work of featured photographers and other notable guest artists and scholars, offering a unique opportunity to engage with them in an intimate setting as they discuss their work and process. Moderated by Harper’s Magazine art director Stacey D. Clarkson, the series is meant to be a platform for emerging and established artists, and consists of a variety of formats from moderated talks with one artist to interdisciplinary and panel discussions. This Fall's lecture series is sponsored by our friends at Digital Transitions. Thank You!

Upcoming Sponsored Lecture


A conversation about surveillance and photography with Tomas van Houtryve and Paolo Cirio

Moderated by Stacey D. Clarkson

November 4, 2014 | 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM to reserve your seat!

Photograph © Tomas van Houtryve/VII
Photograph © Paolo Cirio

In late 2013, Tomas van Houtryve responded to the lack of a visual narrative about domestic and foreign drone policy by buying a drone of his own, attaching his camera to it, and photographing iconic scenes across the United States. He made a list of “targets” that represent “the very sorts of gatherings mentioned in strike reports from Pakistan and Yemen—weddings, funerals, groups of people praying or exercising,” as well as places the FAA has authorized drone flights over the United States, such as prisons, oil-fields, and the U.S.-Mexico border.

In 2012, Paolo Cirio began printing and wheatpasting life-sized images of people found on Google’s Street View at the precise spots where the images were orignially made. His art intervention, called Street Ghosts, became an international sensation, as he pasted images from Brooklyn to Montreal, Buffalo to Sydney, and points in between.

Both groundbreaking projects are part of the Open Society Foundations Documentary Photography Project exhibition Moving Walls 22/Watching You, Watching Me, which explores how photography has been used both as an instrument of surveillance and as a tool to document, expose, and challenge the impact of surveillance on civil liberties, human rights, and basic freedoms. Please join these visionary artists and Harper’s Magazine Art Director Stacey D. Clarkson for a conversation about privacy, conflict, and the eyes of machines.


Tomas van Houtryve

Tomas van Houtryve is a photographer, artist and author who engages critical contemporary issues around the world. Initially a student in philosophy, Tomas developed a passion for photography while enrolled in an overseas university program in Nepal. Immediately after graduation in 1999, he devoted himself fully to photojournalism, starting out with the Associated Press in Latin America. He was the first AP photographer to cover the military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and in 2002 he traveled to Kandahar to photograph families of the Guantánamo inmates. Tomas left AP in 2003 to concentrate on large-scale personal projects, starting with the Maoist rebellion in Nepal. The resulting photos of the rebels’ rise to power earned wide recognition including the Visa pour l’Image-Perpignan Young Photographer Award and the Bayeux Prize for War Correspondents.

In 2006 Tomas was named one of PDN’s 30 Emerging Photographers. He was awarded an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship in 2008, and in 2010 he was named the POYi Photographer of the Year. Tomas’ first monograph, Behind the Curtains of 21st Century Communism, was published in Spring 2012. The seven-year-long project documents life in the last countries where the Communist Party remains in power: North Korea, Cuba, China, Nepal, Vietnam, and Laos. The series won the 2012 POYi World Understanding Award. Tomas has had solo exhibitions of his work in Paris, New York City, Spain and Italy, and he is a member of VII Photo.


Paolo Cirio

Paolo Cirio is a conceptual media artist who challenges social, cognitive and economic structures to explore the potentials and limitations of contemporary systems of information and knowledge. Cirio’s innovative and controversial projects investigate various issues in fields such as privacy, finance, copyright and democracy. He renders his conceptual works through drawings, performances, videos and installations.

Cirio has exhibited in international museums and institutions including Aksioma|Project Space in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Kasa Gallery in Istanbul, and he has won numerous art awards and fellowships including the Award Share Prize in Turin, Italy, and the Eyebeam Fellowship in New York City. He regularly gives public lectures and workshops at leading arts festivals and universities worldwide.

Upcoming Lecture

Antoine Claudet


A Subtly Revised History of Photography Suggesting that the Still Image, the Moving Image, and the Depth Image are Inextricably Connected

by Robert Bowen moderated by Bryan Whitney

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 | 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Email to reserve your seat!

This lecture looks at the early history of photography in a subtly different way. By taking a close look at the work of early photographer, Antoine Claudet we discover that the savants who invented photography did not think of it only as a stand-alone medium; rather it was a necessary step for pursuing experiments in cinema, and stereoscopic 3-D visualization.

Claudet invented the photographic portrait (a claim which Robert will prove indisputably). He learned photography directly from Daguerre and Talbot, and then went on to apply his knowledge of chemistry to speed up both of their processes. He also operated as the first professional photographer in England.


Robert Bowen is a New York-based artist, filmmaker, photographer, and college professor (School of Visual Arts; MFA Photo/Video, and also MFA Computer Art).

His work has been featured in a variety of exhibitions, screenings, books, websites and publications. An abbreviated version of his Post Card Project was published in Cabinet Magazine, A Quarterly of Art and Culture. Selections from his project, Abstracting Space from Texts was featured in Art of the Digital Age, (Bruce Wands, Thames and Hudson, 2006).

Older projects are included in the MoMA artist book collection, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry. A recent video installation entitled Architecture Against Mortality–Modeling Along was shown at the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics (2012).

In 2012 Bowen co-founded EZUFF (with architect, Andrew MacNair), an experimental film festival related to architecture. He did this in order to have a regular venue in which to publicly screen his own work and the work of his peers.

To reserve your seat:

Special Announcements

10th Annual Alternative Processes Competition

SohoPhotoGallery in New York City is pleased to announce its 10th Annual Alternative Processes Competition.

The competition is open to all U.S. residents, age 18 and older, excluding current members of Soho Photo Gallery. Alternative processes include (but are not limited to): Albumen, Cyanotype, Van Dyke Brown, Platinum/Palladium, Gum Bichromate, Bromoil, Salt Print, Tintype, Ziatype, Daguerreotype, Image Transfers, Liquid Emulsion, and Photogravure.

Traditional Silver Gelatin Prints, C-Prints and Digital Prints are not eligible; however handmade prints created from digital negatives are welcome.

the juror

Geoffrey Berliner, Executive Director and co-developer of the Penumbra Foundation, will choose approximately 35 photographs for exhibition.

important dates

Deadline for Submission: August 22, 2014

Notification: September 22, 2014

Accepted work due at gallery: October 22, 2014

Exhibit: November 5 – November 29, 2014

Opening reception: November 4, 2014

Pickup work: December 2, 2014

Submit Photographs online at

For complete details visit our friends at Soho Photo

Previous Artist Lectures

2014 — Benjamin Lowy, Lisa Elmaleh, David J. Carol, Paris Visone, Eliot Dudik, and Charlotte Dumas

2013 — Robert A. Schaefer Jr., Harvey Stein, Julie Pochron, Lauren Henkin, and Harvey Wang

2012 — Sze Tsung Leong, Jerry Vezzuso, Ellen Wallenstein, Philip Levine & Andrew Moore, Ángel Franco, Michelle Bates, Amy Arbus, Ellen Susan, Jerry Spagnoli, and Philip Perkis

2011 — Joni Sternbach, Marcia Lippman, and Lori Nix

2010 — Dan Estabrook, Bryan Whitney, and Edward Fausty

Previous Events

Photoville — 2012 and 2013 - New York City’s free premier photo destination produced by United Photo Industries is a modular venue built of/from re-purposed shipping containers. Combining photo exhibitions, outdoor photo installations, talks, workshops, and night-time multimedia projections,

Image Object Exhibition and Symposium — A collaboration between Cdags and the Penumbra Foundation in NYC, in the form of an exhibition and symposium. Entitled “Image Object," the juried exhibition showcased the forefront of contemporary daguerreotypy with the aim of propelling the genre forward in the art world.

Holga 30th Anniversary Exhibition 2012 — Penumbra Foundation hosted two exceptional photography exhibitions “Timeless” and “Transcend” celebrating Holga Cameras’ 30th anniversary curated and presented by Holga.