The Latest News From The Photography Department

Simmons Interviewed in “ESME”

Susan Simmons (Photography ’17) is interviewed by ESME, a single-mom online community. Simmons talks about her graduate school experience, her practice and parenting her 10-year-old daughter as a single mom.

Solemani Awarded MacColl Johnson Grant

Sheida Solemani (Photography ’15) received a $25,000 MacColl Johnson grant. Every year, the Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Fellowship Fund awards three emerging artists a $25,000 fellowship with one string attached — they must live in Rhode Island.

Solemani’s most recent exhibition, titled “Civil Liberties,” superimposes the faces of Iranian women — whose executions have not been documented or publicized — onto life-size, nugget-shaped pillows. The pillows are set against a three-dimensional collage of sometimes mundane, sometimes brutal photographs and artifacts. She created 12 works in the series, which was recently exhibited at galleries in Providence, Chicago and London.

Cranbrook Academy of Art Graduate Degree Exhibition Opens at Cranbrook Art Museum on April 23

Exhibition Preview on April 22
OPEN(STUDIOS) Returns on April 30

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MICH., March 21, 2017 –The 2017 Graduate Degree Exhibition of Cranbrook Academy of Art opens to the public on April 23 and will showcase work from more than 60 graduating Cranbrook Academy of Art students. Featuring pieces that are the culmination of two years of studio work from a diverse group of students, visitors will see firsthand what it takes to become tomorrow’s creative leaders. The exhibition will run from April 23 through May 14, 2017, at Cranbrook Art Museum.

Underwood Opens Exhibition at SOUS LES ETOILES GALLERY

“This Land is Your Land”, Barry Underwood’s (Photography ’95) second exhibition with SOUS LES ETOILES GALLERY opened and featured on

Inspired by the famous folk tune, “This Land is Your Land” written by Woody Guthrie, Underwood’s series affirms his standing as an environmentalist photographer and ecological advocate.
Written in 1940, the song’s original lyrics introduced a critical perspective to the idealistic view of America as Underwood’s images challenge the common bucolic perception of the landscape.

Ciel Brings Video Art Installation to Downtown Sacramento

The interactive, immersive projection, called Beacon, will run from mid-April to mid-July at the empty 930 K Street building, says producer and placemaker Tre Borden, who is running the project with local filmmaker, artist and Beacon curator, Jessa Ciel (Photography ’16).

Von Habsburg-Lothringen Publishes First Book “Deadstock”

Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen (Photography ’14) launched her first publication, Deadstock. Deadstock is published by Maga Books. To celebrate the launch, Habsburg-Lorthringen and Martha Wilson offered inter-generational perspectives on feminism, performance, and the archive as they relate to their respective practices at a talk titled, “Framing Femininity” at the Independent Curators International in NYC.

Connally Will Speak at Society for Photography Education’s 2017 Conference

William Connally (Photography ’12) will present at the Society of Photography Education 2017 National Converence in March 2017 on Thursday, March 9 from 4-5:40pm. His presentation is part of the new imagemaker “Dialogic” presentation. This new session format is a carefully curated series of five concise 18-minute presentations by five imagemakers on issues of photography, family, and remembrance.

Merola to Lecture at University of Michigan’s Institute for the Humanities

On March 6, Shanna Merola (Photography ’11) will speak at a lecture called, “Off the Record.” She will discuss the various roles that art and activism play in her work with grassroots movements across the country – from the historic fight to reclaim Richmond, Virginia’s African Burial Ground to the deeply embattled struggle over water privatization in Detroit and Flint, Michigan.

“Lenscratch” Interviews Liz Cohen about “Him”

Lenscratch interviews Liz Cohen, Photography Artist-in-Residence about her latest work Him. Him, is an allusive and performative collaboration with the poet Eric Crosley, who identifies as a eunuch.

Soleimani Is Participating in Panel Discussion at Reed Gallery

Sheida Soleimani (Photography ’15) is participating in a panel discussion on February 10 at 12-1pm at Wave Pool Gallery in Camp Washington and the Dorothy W. and C. Lawson Reed Jr. Gallery at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.

Soleimani Is Interviewed by “Refinery29” About Her First UK Solo Exhibition

Sheida Soleimani (Photography ’15) is interviewed and Refinery29 about her latest exhibition and first solo show in the UK. According to Refinery 29, To Oblivion casts fresh light on the female victims of torture in her parents’ native Iran.

Cusumano and Towner Exhibit “Om Tat Sat…” at Endicott College

Om Tat Sat: A Photographic Journey through India is an exhibition of photographs by Maria Cusumano (Print Media ’82) and Mark Towner (Photography ’81) that is showing at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. The two artists met at Cranbrook Academy of Art. The exhibition runs until May 20, 2017.

Ewing Exhibits Architectual Photography at Columbia University

Stagecraft: Models and Photos opens February 9 and exlores the synergy between architectural models and photography as a wellspring of architectural invention. For this exhibition, the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery at Columbia University commissioned architectural photographer James Ewing (Photography ’04) to photograph six models of notable twentieth century buildings, culled from the archives of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Gaydos’ “Unfixed” Featured in “Lenscratch”

Kottie Gaydos (Photography ’16) recent project Unfixed is an interdisciplinary examination of vulnerability, healing, and change. Gaydos creates ceramic vessels which she coats in an unfixed cyanotype solution, then juxtaposes these forms next to manipulated sheets of unfixed cyanotype paper. Each medium undergoes a change.

Campbell and Szabo Exhibit at Terhune Art Gallery

Alumni Brittany Campbell (Fiber ’13) and Zachariah Szabo (Photography) are part of the joint exhibition Brittany Campbell & Zachariah Szabo: The Conceit of Memory at Terhune Art Gallery. Through photography and three-dimensional constructions, Campbell and Szabo each explore the meaning and purpose of loss, memory, and identity.

Merrill Is Featured in Iowa Women’s Art Exhibition

Works by artists Jody Boyer of Council Bluffs, Jane Gilmor of Cedar Rapids and Rachel Merrill (Photography ’04) of Des Moines are featured in the Iowa Women’s Art Exhibition. The exhibition, which celebrates female artists and their contributions to the cultural vitality of Iowa, is on display in Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds’ formal office through June 2017. The public is welcome to visit.

Fike’s Work Is Featured in “Arizona Foothills Magazine”

According to Arizona Foothills Magazine Jim Fike (Photography ’99),”… effortlessly blends art and science resulting in engaging and truly beautiful photography while presenting everyday local botanicals in a new and refreshing new light.” Recently Fike’s work became a part of the permanent collection of the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. His artwork has been featured in numerous publications both online and in print including F-Stop Magazine, the L.A. Times, Java Magazine, Downtown Phoenix Journal, […]

Holt in Group Exhibition at Elaine L. Jacob Gallery at Wayne State University

Trisha Holt (Photography ’12) is part of the group exhibition, In Pieces: Presence and Objecthood in the Aftermath of Technology that will be open to the public at the Elaine L. Jacob Gallery from January 20 through March 24, 2017.

Harvey’s Exhibition Featured in the “Chicago Tribune”

Jessica Harvey (Photography ’09) is featured in the Chicago Tribune. Her exhibition, Arrows of the Dawn, is open at Jolliet College’s Laura A. Sprague Art Gallery in Joliet. The exhibit, which investigates experiments in utopian living through the colony, is abstractly based on Jane Byrd McCall Whitehead, the community’s under-recognized matriarch and her relationship to nature, spirituality and the failed vision she had for herself and her family.

Cranbrook Alums in Art Basel Miami Beach December 1-4, 2016

On your way to Art Basel Miami Beach? Be sure to see Cranbrook Academy of Art alumni and their work.

Here’s list of alumni who we know will be exhibiting.

Habsburg-Lothringen Debuts at ltd los angeles

Chanel von Habsburg-Lothringen (Photography ’14) debuts a new body of work, Conditions, in her first LA solo exhibition, at ltd los angeles.

“Barbed” Features Cranbrook Alums in Latest Issue

Detroit Art Magazine Barbed featured numerous Cranbrook alums in its latest issue. Jessica Frelinghuysen (Architecture ’06) was interviewed about her latest solo exhibition, Its Exercise Time held at Popps Packing Gallery in October 2016.

Cox Opens “Infinite Replica” at Hope College

Hope graduate and Cranbrook Alumnus Chris Cox (Photography ’16) opens Infinite Replica at the De Pree Art Center and Gallery. Cox was also the inaugural Borgeson Artist-in-Residence at the college. The Borgeson Artist-in-Residence was created  to bring professional artists to Hope College. The artist-in-residence meets with department students and alumni, and concludes the residency with a solo exhibition and artist’s lecture at the De Pree Art Center and Gallery. Infinite Replica closes on November 18.


Nelson Speaks with “Creative Capital”

Photography Alum Brittany Nelson (Photography ’11) speaks with Creative Capital. In the article, she discusses her current exhibition Alternative Process at David Klein Gallery and how she has been able to experiment with outdated photographic processes to create abstract work. Her exhibition is open through December 17.

ArtPrize 2016 Featured Cranbrook Grads

Several Cranbrook Academy of Art graduates participated in this year’s ArtPrize in Grand Rapids and received recognition.
Higher Ground, an installation by artists Stephan Hillerband (Sculpture ’04) + Mary Magsamen (Sculpture ’94) was awarded 5th Place in the Time-Based category. The piece was created in the spirit of George Méliès landmark illusionistic film, “A Trip to the Moon.” The artists, along with their children, embarked on an adventure to construct and fly a rocket ship to the moon by taking apart their […]

Güt Interviewed for “Refigural” by Gatto

Kara Güt (Photography ’16) is interviewed for Refigural by current student Clare Gatto (Photography ’17), who is a contributing editor to the quarterly, online magazine.

Habsburg-Lothringen Part of a UCSD Exhibition

Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen (Photography ’14) is part of a group exhibition for the Department of Visual Arts at University of California San Diego (UCSD). This Psychodrama  exhibition tosses aside possession to embrace exorcism of questions taking center stage while wrestling with a kind of mind-matter dualism. The exhibition is open until October 21.

Christopher Schneider Named One of the Top 10 Highlights at ArtPrize

Christopher Schneider (Photography ’03) is named one of the top 10 ArtPrize highlights by the Detroit Free Press. ArtPrize is open through October 8. His installation is on Western Michigan University’s Grand Rapids campus at 200 Ionia Ave. SW and can be seen and voted for online at

Brittany Nelson Exhibits at SADIE HALIE PROJECTS

SADIE HALIE PROJECTS in Minneapolis presents a new body of work by artist Brittany Nelson (Photography ’11). Monuments to the Conquerors of Space features a new series of polypropylene prints and a site specific installation. The exhibition is open until October 14.

Carpenter Curates “Hush.ex” with River House Arts Space

Detroit Art Review  featured an exhibition curated by Gallery Director at University of Toledo and Alumnus Brian Carpenter (Photography ’12)  Hush.ex with Director of River House Arts Space Paula Baldoni. The exhibition features the work of four artists whose common thread begins with the historically and regionally loaded medium of glass. The exhibition is open until October 31.

Merola and Soleimani Open Joint Exhibition “Piece it Together”

Alumnae Shanna Merola (Photography ’11) and Sheida Soleimani (Photography ’15) are featured in a NAT. BRUT article about their joint exhibition about art and protest.  Piece it Together opens October 11 at the University of Toledo’s Department of Art in the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery. The exhibition runs through December 6, 2016.

Ben Schonberger Discusses “Beautiful Pig” with “Hyperallergic”

Ben Schonberger (Photography ’13) discusses the book and exhibition Beautiful Pig with Hyperallergic.  Schonberger spent two-plus years collaborating with Marty Gaynor, a retired Detroit police officer who obsessively documented his work and subsequently retained thousands of images taken in the course of policing during the 1970s and ’80s; in the process, the artist created a body of work that blends archiving with revisionism and role-play.

Alum Sheida Soleimani Gives Voice To Iranian Women

Sheida Soleimani (Photograhy ’15) is interviewed by The FADER about her art work focusing on Iranian women as well as her new bodies of work. She has two upcoming solo exhibitions: Civil Liberties at BOYFRIENDS gallery, opening September 23 in Chicago, and Medium of Exchange at 1305 Main for FotoFocus, opening September 30 in Cincinnati.

Photography Alums Featured in “Re:Formation”

Photography Alums are featured in a Hyperallergic article about this year’s Gallery Project, Re:Formation — the fourth annual installation of this largely regional art exhibition. The exhibition addresses the push back that is occurring in communities nationwide around issues such as water access and safety, marginalization of the poor, the murder and incarceration of African American youth, and decay of urban infrastructure. Included in the exhibition are:  Sheida Soleimani (Photography ’16), Shanna Merola (Photography ’11) […]

MINT Collective Hosting Three-Person Show of Cranbrook Photography Grads

Work from recent Cranbrook Academy of Art graduates Chris Cox (Photography ’16), Kara Gut (Photography ’16), and Harrison Moenich (Photograpahy ’16) was selected following an open call for “large scale exhibition proposals” at MINT Collective in Columbus, Ohio.  “Back to the Future Part II” features dynamic and arresting photography and sculptural installations. The exhibition is open through Aug. 12.

Ryan Debolski Featured in “This is Paper”

Alumnus Ryan Debolski’s  (Photography ’14) work is featured in This is Paper magazine and blog.  The work focuses on certain periods of the photographer’s life including his time studying at Cranbrook Academy of Art and living in the country of Oman.

Soleimani Uses Artwork to Make a Statement

Her Culture blog profiles Sheida Soleimani (Photography ’15) and how she uses her artwork to make a political or social statement. Solemani’s parents are political refugees from Iran and heavily influence her work.

Cranbrook Mourns the Passing of Ryan Widger

Cranbrook Academy of Art mourns the loss of Ryan G. Widger (Photography ’05). He was 42 years old. He leaves behind companion Gillian Pears (Photography ’06) and their daughter, Charlotte Francesca Pears Widger.

Cranbrook Academy of Art Students Receive More Than $200,000 in Awards

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MICH., May 13, 2016 — On the eve of its 2016 commencement ceremonies, Cranbrook Academy of Art celebrated another year of outstanding work by its graduate students at its annual Academy Awards Night on May 12.

Patrick Rock and John Corso Named Visiting Faculty at Cranbrook Academy of Art

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MICH., May 9, 2016 — Patrick Rock and John Corso have been named visiting faculty at Cranbrook Academy of Art for the 2016-2017 academic year. Liz Cohen, Artist-in-Residence and Head of the Photography Department, and Beverly Fishman, Artist-in-Residence and Head of the Painting Department, have each been awarded sabbaticals.

Cranbrook Academy of Art Announces the 2016 Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Emerging Artist Award Finalists

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MICH., April 21, 2016 – Cranbrook Academy of Art is pleased to announce the finalists for this year’s Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Emerging Artist Award.

The award is part of Cranbrook’s long-standing partnership with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and represents the company’s commitment to both the Academy and art and design education worldwide.

Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen and Kathryn ‘O’Halloran Are In a Group Exhibition at Harmony Murphy Gallery

“Flat Foldability” is a group exhibition opening on April 21 at Harmony Murphy Gallery in Los Angeles and features Academy alums Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen (Photography ‘14) and Kathryn ‘O’Halloran (Ceramics ‘13). The exhibition runs through June 11, 2016.

Sheida Soleimani’s Work Focuses on Human Rights

Sheida Soleimani uses her work to “…explore the women’s issues that get glossed over when the West looks East.” Read the full story about the work of Soleimani (Photography ’15) in The New York Times.

Shanna Merola and Sheida Soleimani Named “New Activists” by Interview Magazine

Interview Magazine talks with 2015’s “new activists” for a feature published today. Profiled are Academy alumni Shanna Merola (Photography ’11) and Sheida Soleimani (Photography ’15).

Joe Sobel Selected for Moscow Biennale for Young Art

The fifth Moscow Biennale for Young Art announced the participants of the main project “Deep Inside.”  Joe Sobel (Photography ’12) was selected to participate and take place July 1-August 10, 2016 at the Trehgornaya Manufactory. The main exhibition will feature 87 works by 93 artists.

Cranbrook Alumni and Students to Speak at SPE

Three Cranbrook Alums and a current student are speaking at the 2016 National Conference of the Society for Photographic Education in Las Vegas, March 10-13. SPE is a nonprofit membership organization that provides and fosters an understanding of photography as a means of diverse creative expression, cultural insight, and experimental practice. The society seeks to promote a broader understanding of the medium in all its forms through teaching and learning, scholarship, and criticism.
The Cranbook speakers include:
Kara Gut​ (Photography ’16)

Lauren Semivan To Give an Artist Talk at Bunnel Street Arts Center

Alum Lauren Semivan (Photography ’06) will discuss her work at Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer, Alaska on Friday, March 4 at 6pm. Semivan’s ongoing body of work combines drawing, an archive of objects and the human presence as a narrative tool.

Hyperallergic Talks with Liz Cohen About “Him”

Hyperallergic talks to Liz Cohen about her most recent exhibition Him, on display at Cranbrook Art Museum through March 6, 2016. According to article, “Gender has become fluid as never before in Western society, and art-makers find themselves remarkably unconfined by medium in an era that values ideas articulated by the most effective means possible rather than with a more traditionally rigid separation between disciplines. This freedom to maneuver is fully evident in Him, a project Liz Cohen developed over the past year as artist-in-residence and head of the photography department at Cranbrook Academy of Art.”

Brittany Nelson exhibition featured in WIRED, Musee Magazine and more

Alumni Brittany Nelson (Photography, ’11) received considerable media coverage for her first solo exhibition at the Morgan Lehman gallery in Chelsea, New York. The show, which ran from January 7-February 20, 2016, featured Nelson’s prints made using the 19th century negative reversal process of Mordençage as well as tintype photography techniques.

Ben Schonberger Earns Honorable Mention For The Anamorphosis Prize

Ben Schonberger’s  (Photography ’13) book Beautiful Pig was awarded a honorable mention for The Anamorphosis Prize . The Anamorphosis Prize was established to promote excellence, dialogue and excitement in the field of self-published photobooks and photo-based artist books.

  • Cranbrook Academy of Art is an independent, graduate degree-granting institution offering an intense studio-based experience where artists-in-residence mentor students in architecture, art, and design to creatively influence contemporary culture.

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