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 Lecture


A conversation with Benjamin Busch

September 23, 2014 | 7:30 PM-9:00PM

A Marine patrol passes a wedding-supply store in the Kut souk, 2003. Photograph © Benjamin Busch.

“It had been ten years since I had invaded Iraq, armed and dressed to look like dirt.”

In 2003, Benjamin Busch, a photographer, writer, and U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer, was appointed the provisional military mayor of the Iraqi town of Jassan, near the Iranian border. In 2013, he returned, this time as a visitor, to see what had become of that small town on a hill. The narrative of these experiences a decade apart appears in the October issue of Harper's Magazine as "'Today Is Better Than Tomorrow': A Marine Returns to a Divided Iraq," a 13,000-word Folio illustrated with photos by Busch. Join him and Harper’s Art Director Stacey D. Clarkson on September 23 at 7:30 p.m. for a presentation of his work and a conversation about the Iraq war, its legacy and the broader complexities of photographing and writing about war.

This lecture is free and open to the public. Limited seating available, please to reserve yours today!


photograph of Benjamin Busch by Richard Mallory Allnutt

Benjamin Busch is a writer, filmmaker, actor and photographer. After graduating from Vassar College with a major in Studio Arts he served 16 years as an infantry and light armored reconnaissance officer in the United States Marine Corps.

He deployed to Iraq in 2003 and again in 2005 where he was wounded in the battle for Ramadi and awarded the Bronze Star for valor. He is the writer/director of the award winning film BRIGHT and was an actor and military consultant on the HBO mini-series, Generation Kill. He is best known for his portrayal of Officer Anthony Colicchio in the HBO series The Wire.

His three traveling exhibitions of photography, The Art In War, Occupation and Abstract Matter, have been displayed in private and university galleries across the country and have been printed as porfolios in War, Literature & the Arts, Five Points and Vassar Quarterly. He is the author of a memoir, Dust to Dust (Ecco/HarperCollins), winner of the GLCA New Writers Award in Nonfiction and the Debut-litzer Prize in Nonfiction, and his essays have appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek/The Daily Beast and NPR’s All Things Considered. His poetry has won the 2013 James Dickey Prize for Poetry, the 2013 Laurence Goldstein Prize, has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. It has appeared in North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Five Points, The Florida Review, Mudfish and Michigan Quarterly Review among others. But most of all, he is a stonemason hurrying to finish his own tomb. He lives on a farm in Michigan.

Upcoming Events

September 18-28, 2014

Penumbra Foundation will be back at Photoville this year! We will have our Portable Tintype Studio set up to take portraits in the field. Just like they did 150 years ago, we will be using all authentic chemistry, equipment and techniques. Don't miss your chance to get your tintype at a special Photoville price of just $55!


Visit us Thursday, September 18th between 4:00PM-10:00PM and receive a FREE tintype with valid press credentials.


Sign up for a membership between now and the end of Photoville (September 28) and receive a 20% discount card good towards a tintype in our studio, workshop tuition or a penumbra store purchase.


Thursday, September 14 - 4 PM-10 PM

Saturday, September 20 - 12 PM-7 PM

Sunday, September 21 - 12PM-6PM

Saturday, September 27 - 12 PM-7 PM

Sunday, September 28 - 12 PM-6 PM


Member Only Event

Penumbra is excited to announce the launch of Member Only Events!

Our first event will be an informal member's meet-and-greet on:

Thursday, September 25th from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

There will be light food and drink, and members will have the option of bringing some of their own work to share, (no more than five prints to be laid out on a table), cameras or lenses that they think may be of interest to other members, books of work that has inspired them, etc.

It is not required that you bring anything other than yourself and your interest in photography, so please come simply to meet your fellow members. Our hope is that you inspire and learn from each other!

To attend please email

We look forward to seeing you there!

Penumbra Open House

Thursday, October 9th | 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

You are invited to join us for Penumbra's first Open House! Bring your friends and enjoy a night filled with everything Alt Pro. There will be three floors filled with great things to discover as well as light food and drink and special discount offers.

The Tintype Studio will be presenting unique objects and rare examples of antique tintypes, cameras, lenses and more!

We will have a special viewing, only open during our Open House, of:

The Alternative Collective: Instructor Show

Don't miss this opportunity to meet our instructors and talk with them about their work and the classes they are teaching at Penumbra.

There will be a reception in our North Light Studio as well as a special announcement at 8:00 PM.

We will also have two sessions of a wet plate collodion/tintype demonstration where one lucky person will get their portrait taken!

Demo #1: closed | Demo #2: 8:45 PM

There is limited space in the demo so please email: and indicate which time you prefer to attend.

Our Open House is free and open to the public. We ask that you rsvp (and include your guests) so we have an idea of the number of attendees.


*Please Note: You do not have to rsvp in order to attend the open house, but you must rsvp if you want to participate in the demo.

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.