The Fellowship 17 award winners were selected from 196 applications from 16 countries around the world.

Juror: Rebecca Senf
Chief Curator, Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ, Norton Family Curator of Photography, Phoenix Museum of Art


Dates: February 3 – April 15, 2017
Location: Pittsburgh Filmmakers Galleries
477 Melwood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (map)

Pittsburgh Filmmakers Gallery Hours:
Mondays – Thursdays, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Fridays, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturdays/Sundays: Closed

The gallery is also open when films are shown in the Melwood Screening Room

Learn more on our Exhibition page.

International Award

Kris Sanford

Mount Pleasant, MI

Through the Lens of Desire
Kris Sanford (b. 1974)showcases her series Through the Lens of Desire, which creates implied narratives using snapshots from the 1920s – 1950s. The series brings a contemporary rereading to old photographs to address sensuality and relationships in a subtle way. Sanford, who grew up queer, searched for a family history that spoke to her but did not find any couples that mirrored her own intimate relationships. Instead, she uses vernacular photographs originally created as private keepsakes, which allow modern viewers to see moments that were never intended to be public. By purposefully selecting images that picture men together and women together, Sanford creates an imaginary queer past. Drawn to the subtle points of contact and the spaces between the figures pictured, Sanford creates works of fiction from each gesture or distracted glance whose stories reflect her own desires and experiences.

Kris Sanford received a BFA in photography from the College for Creative Studies (Detroit, MI), and an MFA in photography from Arizona State University, where she served as art editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. Sanford has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, including recently at the Elizabeth Houston Gallery (New York City); OutCenter (Benton Harbor, MI); Tilt Gallery (Scottsdale, AZ); The Center for Fine Art Photography (Fort Collins, CO); Somerset House (London); and Filter Space (Chicago, IL), amongst others. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, Texas Woman’s University Library, and Central Michigan University. In 2015, Sanford was selected as a finalist for the LensCulture Exposure Awards. Her photographs have been featured in Fraction Magazine, Light Leaked, and Slate. She is represented by Catherine Couturier Gallery (Houston, TX) and Tilt Gallery, and is currently an assistant professor at Central Michigan University. For more information, please visit krissanford.com.

Keystone Award

Francis Crisafio

Pittsburgh, PA

HOLDUP in the HOOD: wealth in recession
Francis Crisafio (b. 1954) showcases his series HOLDUP in the HOOD: wealth in recession, which documents a collaborative, after-school arts curriculum rooted in self-portraiture. The curriculum and documentation have been ongoing for 13 years and offers young students a chance to learn to look at, and expressively assert, a vision of themselves. Taking place in the Manchester neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Crisafio photographs each student and, along with his teaching partner Meda Rago, instructs students on how to draw and collage themselves from their photo using recycled photographs and print media from current magazines. In a world where self-perception is continually evolving, many students bring to the project an altered perception of what they think they look like, including what they may have heard or been told, and what they may imagine themselves becoming or not. Throughout the process students are challenged to question their perception as they wrestle with what the world says they look like and what they see and feel in themselves.

Francis Crisafio is a self-taught photographer who studied painting and printmaking at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh) before turning to photography as his main discipline of expression. Crisafio has exhibited his work nationally and internationally, including recently at Newspace Center for Photography (Portland, OR); The Center for Fine Art Photography (Fort Collins, CO); The Griffin Museum of Photography (Winchester, MA); Philadelphia Photo Arts Center; the Westmoreland Museum of American Art (Greensburg, PA); and Wood Street Galleries (Pittsburgh), amongst others. In 2015, Crisafio was selected as a finalist for the LensCulture Exposure Awards, and was featured at Photo London in 2016. His work has been included in a number of publications, including Slate, The Photo Editor, Lenscratch, Hyperallergic, and The Photo Review. For more information, please visit franciscrisafio.com.

MAIN Commendations-01

Juror’s Commendations were awarded to the following ten photographers for their exceptional portfolios.


Ben Altman
Tecopa Hot Springs, CA

Bremner Benedict

Marcus DeSieno

Cynthia Greig

Wen Hang Lin

Deborah Hosking

Travis Mitzel

George Nobechi

Carla Shapiro

Motohiro Takeda