Professor Katherine Hubbard Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography

Posted on April 15, 2024

Professor Katherine Hubbard is among the recipients of the 2024 Guggenheim Fellowships. The award is widely considered one of the most prestigious honors for visual artists and provides generous funding for ambitious projects. The fellowship will support Hubbard’s current project “One Fifty One,” a series of photographs she’s creating with her mother in her mother’s home, as well as a series of darkroom contact prints.

Hubbard’s art practice encompasses photography, writing, and performance which she uses to plumb analog photography’s continuing significance in an image-saturated and digital world. Working with photography as a physical medium—using large-format cameras and camera-less darkroom techniques—Hubbard links the process of analogy photography with the human body. Considering this unique relationship, Hubbard’s photographs become a generative space to reexamine socio-political histories and narratives.

In 2022, Hubbard’s mother was diagnosed with dementia and LATE, a brain disease that mimics the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and Hubbard became her primary caretaker. It was shortly before this diagnosis that Hubbard began creating photographs with her mother. Rather than using photography to capture a representation of a moment in time, Hubbard considers the medium as a form of sociality, creating a way to spend time with her mom apart from the difficult daily tasks of caring for her. As her mother’s disease progresses, Hubbard’s work probes the space between a surface physical appearance captured by the camera and the interior person, questioning how an image can create a deeper sense of recognition.

“One Fifty One” also uses a camera-less darkroom technique of contact printing. This method, in which Hubbard uses Vaseline applied to the skin and then pressed on photographic paper, records the movement, texture and other qualities of her and her mother’s skin surface. This physical process, far from the detached, mechanical shutter typically equated with photography, is another means of understanding the medium’s relationship to the human body. Rather than recording a conventional image of Hubbard and her mother, the process captures a different intimacy through the physicality of the photographic paper on their bodies.

Photographs from “One Fifty One” were the subject of a solo exhibition at Company in May 2023. Other of Hubbard’s photography and performances have appeared at the Brooklyn Museum; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; MoMA PS1; The Kitchen; and The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX; among many others. In 2021, the Whitney Museum of American Art purchased fourteen of Hubbard’s works.

“In our image-saturated era, Katherine Hubbard’s slow and deliberate work takes a different approach to photography, demonstrating incredible care and connection,” said Head of School Charlie White. “Her work in ‘One Fifty One’ develops beyond the surface image to examine physical and emotional intimacy and the complexity of human relationships. I’m thrilled she will be able to continue to develop this important body of work thanks to this well-deserved Guggenheim Fellowship.”