The 2021 Paula Riff Award

2021 Winner is Katie Shapiro

We’re so excited to announce the 2021 Paula Riff Award Winner! We received an unprecedented number of submissions for this inaugural award from photographers across the country and around the world. Juror Brenton Hamilton had quite the challenge selecting just one artist to receive the award as the projects submitted were so strong and so worthy. The Center for Photographic Art and Lenscratch are pleased to announce that Katie Shapiro is this year’s winner!

About Katie
Born in 1983, Katie Shapiro received an MFA from the University of California, Irvine in 2015 and a BFA in Photography from CalArts in 2007. Her practice is centered on the ineffable, and visualizing things that cannot be seen. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles, The Armory Center, Pasadena, Christopher Grimes, Santa Monica, Joan, Los Angeles and Aperture Gallery, New York. Her work has received coverage in Artforum, the Los Angeles Times, and New York Magazine and is housed in private collections as well as in the permanent collection at the Huntington Library. She’s been an artist in residence at the Banff Centre and at Bullseye Glass in Pasadena. Shapiro lives and works in Los Angeles.

Artist Statement
My interests as an artist lie within invisible forces in the universe, and my hope is to arrive at evocative, multi-layered works that speak to the complexity of our human experience in its myriad personal, historic, and cosmic dimensions. I’m working at pushing my photographic practice to encompass sculptural elements that create more experiential works that blur the lines of what a photographic image can do, and to play with form and image. My recent interests have been in earthly metaphors, specifically energy vortices, impact craters, and high mountain elevations which speak to our human experience by looking at marks on the earth, as well as phenomenon’s that are outside of our range of perceptions. My continued exploration in my practice is to create immersive works that use photography to push our understanding of the medium and bring it into a new place. To see more of Katie’s work, please visit her website. >

To see more of Katie’s work and to read an incredible interview with her, please read today’s Lenscratch >

Brenton Hamilton is honored to be the first juror of the Paula Riff Award. Paula actually began her camerless/gum bichromate over cyanotype prints at the labs in Rockport, Maine, in a Mentoring Course with Brenton. They had two very intense workshops together and Brenton is proud to be a part of this award in Paula’s memory. Brenton Hamilton is an historian and renowned educator and also a working artist who’s especially dedicated to using 19th century photographic methods in experimental ways. He has devoted his career to the history and practice of cyanotype, gum bichromate and platinum as base materials for his personal work. In addition to his practice, Brenton is an educator at Maine Media Workshops and has taught there for nearly 30 years. Brenton’s work has been exhibited internationally and is held in many public and private collections. His monograph, A Blue Idyll, was published in the fall of 2020 by Schilt Publishing.

About Paula Riff
Paula Riff was a Los Angeles based artist known for creating one of a kind camera-less photographic works on paper that embrace bold colors, form and design. She combined the historical processes of cyanotype and gum bichromate allowing her a physical and intimate relationship with the materials that she used to push the boundaries of the medium while considering themes of abstraction and the natural world.

Her work was selected for the Critical Mass Top 50 Award in 2018 and 2019, and she was a 2018 finalist for the Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women in the Alternative Process Category. Paula also received the Museum Purchase Award at the Medium Photo Festival in 2019. Her work has appeared in numerous museums, galleries, publications, and exhibitions throughout the U.S and internationally, and is also held in private collections.

To donate to the Paula Riff Award, please click here.