The Baum Award for An Emerging American Photographer (Baum Award), founded in 2001, is a project established out of the conviction that photography is a powerfully influential medium with the capacity to emotionally connect with audiences in ways that words cannot. This ability to reach people on a visceral level can transform awareness to understanding and lead interest into action – fundamental aspects of a healthy and vital society.

The Baum Award provides emerging photographers with resources and the means to pursue their art at a critical point in their career. The award consists of a $10,000 cash grant, an exhibition and reception at San Francisco Camerawork, which celebrates the artist and brings the San Francisco Bay Area art community together to view their work. Media coverage is also a component with the artist’s work being submitted in multiple news media outlets.

Since 2008, Baum partner SF Camerawork has administered the Baum Award nomination and jury process and has hosted the exhibition. Twenty-five contemporary art curators are asked to nominate two emerging artists for the award. A jury of professional artists and curators are selected by SF Camerawork to jury the award and select the recipient. The Baum Award is the only award in the U.S. to single out ‘Emerging’ American photographers for support, and is the largest national award among the grants and fellowships available in photography.

Read more about the Baum Foundation and the Baum Award here.

Previous Baum Award Recipients:

Suné Woods, 2016 Baum Award Recipient

Suné Woods creates photographs, collage works, and multi-channel video installations. Woods employs a combination of appropriated and created imagery to address sociological phenomenon, imperialist mechanisms, and formations of knowledge. Her work engages absences and vulnerabilities within cultural and social histories through the photographic image. She is interested in how language is emoted, guarded, and translated through the absence/presence of a physical body. Woods is a recipient of the 2015 John Gutmann Photography Fellowship Award and the 2012 Visions from the New California initiative. She has participated in residencies at Headlands Center of the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Center for Photography at Woodstock, and will be in residence at Light Work (Syracuse, NY) in 2016.

Suné Woods was selected by a panel of jurors that included: Robert Johnson, Curator Emeritus, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Hesse McGraw, Vice President for Exhibitions and Public Programs, San Francisco Art Institute; Sergio De La Torre, artist and lecturer, University of San Francisco; Santhi Kavuri-Bauer, curator and lecturer, San Francisco State University; and Heather Snider, Executive Director, SF Camerawork.

Jaimie Warren, 2014 Baum Award Recipient

Jaimie Warren is a photographer and performance artist living in Kansas City, MO and Brooklyn, NY. Her recent works are elaborate forms of self-portraiture, employing makeup, props, costumes, prosthetics, and often a community of collaborators. Many of her photographs are re-creations of photo-shopped images she culls from the web, refashioned without digital enhancements in a determinedly DIY (Do It Yourself) aesthetic. Her work explores the parameters of performance and identity in the context of art history, pop culture, and the Internet. A wide range of subjects populate her imagery, from Phil Spector to Picasso’s ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’, coalescing to form an irreverent, humorous landscape Warren herself inhabits in a myriad of transformative identities. Warren’s work is playfully loaded with the visual feedback of media-driven celebrity culture especially as it implicates matters of gender, race, society, and the politics of satire.

Jaimie Warren was selected by a panel of jurors that included: Tirza T. Latimer Ph.D., Chair, Visual and Critical Studies, California College of the Arts; Stephanie Syjuco, Artist and Assistant Professor in Sculpture, University of California at Berkeley; Apsara DiQuinzio, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and Phyllis C. Wattis MATRIX Curator; Heather Snider, Executive Director, San Francisco Camerawork; Chuck Mobley, Bay Area-based curator and writer.



Eric William Carroll, 2012 Baum Award Recipient

Eric William Carroll often explores photography’s technological history in his work. The centerpiece of his exhibition was a recreation of a full-scale group darkroom, titled This Darkroom's Gone to Heaven. Lined with shadows of missing equipment and lit with the somber glow of safelights, Carroll repurposed the idea of a communal darkroom from a place of production into a venue for observation and dialogue. During the exhibition’s eight-week run, Carroll, along with several guest photographers, met at SF Camerawork to engage in a dialogue about their favorite dead photographers and technologies. Exhibition: May 4 - June 30, 2012

Eric William Carroll was selected by a panel of jurors that included: Julian Cox, Founding Curator of Photography and Chief Curator at the de Young Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Sean McFarland, artist, educator, and recipient of the 2009 Baum Award; Chuck Mobley, SF Camerawork; Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Professor Emeritus, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, UC Santa Barbara; and Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie, Associate Professor, Department of Native American Studies and Director C.N. Gorman Museum at UC Davis.



Christopher Sims, 2010 Baum Award Recipient

Christopher Sims’ images in Theater of War: Pretend Villages of Iraq and Afghanistan reveal a surreal world which is at once fake yet also disturbingly real, a world both Western and Islamic, banal and horrific, hi-tech and tawdry. These simulated Afghan and Iraqi villages, located deep within the forests of the American South and deserts of California, are used as military training environments to orient US soldiers prior to deployment. Sims takes the viewer backstage on the "war on terror," revealing how it is reframed in the American imagination as a dramatic entertainment with actors and audience. Exhibition: May 6 - August 7, 2010

Christopher Sims was selected by a panel of jurors that included: Bruce Hainley, contributing editor, Artforum, Los Angeles; Chuck Mobley, SF Camerawork; Erin O’Toole, assistant curator, department of photography, SFMOMA; Tina Takemoto, artist and professor, California College of the Arts; and Jack von Euw, curator, The Bancroft Library Pictorial Collection at UC Berkeley.


Sean McFarland, 2009 Baum Award Recipient

Sean McFarland subverts the historical conventions of this long tradition while making pictures of the California landscape. His recent series Pictures of the Earth, begun in 2007, combines his own documentary style photographs with found images to create mysterious and surreal landscapes. Working both by hand and with the computer, McFarland makes collages, which he then rephotographs with a Polaroid MP4 Land Camera. The resulting pictures blend the spontaneity and perceived truthfulness of a Polaroid with the artifice of the new digital language. By producing Polaroid pictures of his fabricated images, McFarland deftly hides his complex process so that the collages are not only seamless but are also indistinguishable from the unmanipulated photographs. Exhibition: April 2 – May 23, 2009

Sean McFarland was selected by a panel of jurors that included: Vince Aletti, independent curator and photography critic, The New Yorker magazine; Pamela Lee, associate professor, department of art and art history, Stanford University; Chuck Mobley, SF Camerawork; Larry Sultan, artist and professor of photography, California College of the Arts; and Lisa Sutcliffe, assistant curator of photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.



Mike Brodie, 2008 Baum Award Recipient

In his Boys & Girls of Modern Days Railways, 2006 and The Rockaway Summer, 2007, 22-year old photographer Mike Brodie documents the train-hopping youth of America. Brodie’s view into this mobile fringe setting is as insider and the depth of his vision clear and incisive. The careful and acute depiction of the youth in his images is frequently noted; critic Vince Aletti has written: "Even if you’re not intrigued by Brodie’s ragtag bohemian cohort—a band of outsiders with an unerring sense of post-punk style—the intimate size and warm, slightly faded color of his prints are seductive. His portraits have a tender incisiveness that is rare at any age." Exhibition: April 3 – May 24, 2008

Mike Brodie was selected by a panel of jurors that included: Bill Arning, Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center; Susette S. Min, Assistant Professor, Asian American Studies and Art History, University of California, Davis; Chuck Mobley, SF Camerawork; Larry Rinder, Dean of Graduate Studies, California College of the Arts; and Moira Roth, Eugene E. Trefethen, Jr., Chair Art History, Mills College.



Lisa Kereszi, 2005 Baum Award Recipient

Ms. Kereszi’s gritty images of empty and abandoned spaces in and around New York create dramas from the remnants of people’s lives and reveal her interest in fantasy, escape, glamour, and our failed attempts to achieve them. Ms. Kereszi majored in photography at Bard College and in 2000 received a Masters of Fine Arts from Yale University. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Bronx Museum of Art. Ms. Kereszi also works successfully as a freelance photographer. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Nest, Details, Wallpaper, and other publications. In 2005, The Baum Award was hosted by the Berkeley Art Museum, curator Heidi Zuckerman-Jacobson and the Jury included Catherine Wagner, Artist.



Katy Grannan, 2004 Baum Award Recipient

Katy Grannan received the 2004 Baum Award. Her striking portraits examine the desire of her subjects to offer themselves up to the camera lens. Ms. Grannan received her Masters of Fine Arts from Yale University in 1999. Her photographs were included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Ms. Grannan’s solo exhibitions include: the Arles Photography Festival in France; 51 Fine Art in Antwerp, Belgium; Artemis Greenberg Van Doren Gallery and Salon 94 in New York. Ms. Grannan’s work is collected by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum. Model American: Katy Grannan, the artist’s first monograph, was released in 2005. In 2004, The Baum Award was hosted by the Berkeley Art Museum, curator Heidi Zuckerman-Jacobson.



Luis Gispert, 2003 Baum Award Recipient

The 2003 Baum Award, presented by Heidi Jacobson Zuckerman at the Berkeley Art Museum, was awarded to Luis Gispert. A member of a Cuban family who fled Cuba on a raft in the 1960’s and settled in Miami, Mr. Gispert grew up as a street kid with a tricked-out car. He discovered photography and eventually won a scholarship to the Masters of Fine Arts program at Yale University. His big break came when he was selected to take part in the Whitney Biennial in 2002. Since winning The Baum Award, Mr. Gispert has exhibited in a show at the Whitney Museum and had a solo exhibition at the Art Pace San Antonio gallery and was featured with a five-year survey of his work at the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College. Gispert’s work is in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, and the Miami Art Museum, among others.  In 2003, The Baum Award was hosted by the Berkeley Art Museum, curator Heidi Zuckerman-Jacobson.







Deborah Luster, 2001 Baum Award Recipient

The first Baum Award was presented in 2001 to Deborah Luster in conjunction with the Friends of Photography/Ansel Adams Gallery in San Francisco, with curatorial oversight by Nora Cabot. Luster’s photographs peered into the hidden worlds of family, crime and incarceration capturing intimate portraits of prisoners in Louisiana. After winning The Baum Award, Luster received the 2002 John Gutmann Photography Fellowship from the San Francisco Foundation, and the Anonymous Was a Woman Award; her Baum Award photography was also acquired by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The Baum Award allowed Luster the time to make prints for her book, One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana, released in 2003 by Twin Palms Publishing.