Discipline: Visual Art – photography

Brian Arnold

Discipline: Visual Art – photography
Region: Ithaca, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2017, 2020

Brian Arnold is a photographer, educator, and musician based in Ithaca, NY. He has undergraduate degrees in English and ethnomusicology from The Colorado College, and an M.F.A. in photography from Massachusetts College of Art.

With his photography, Brian continues to work with traditional black and white techniques and darkroom processes, often combining them with contemporary digital techniques. His photographs have been exhibited in China, France, Indonesia, Italy, and the United States, and are included in a number of important collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, The George Eastman House in Rochester, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, The Colorado History Museum in Denver, the Denver Museum of Art, and Light Work in Syracuse, NY. He has received a number of important grants and residencies, most recently from the American Institute for Indonesian Studies.

He has completed two books on photography. The first of these, Alternative Processes in Photography: Technique, History, and Creative Potential, was published by Oxford University Press. The second, Identity Crisis: Reflections on Public and Private Life in Contemporary Javanese Photography, was co-published by Afterhours Books in Jakarta and Cornell University, published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University. At MacDowell in 2017, he finalized a draft of a book of photographs of landscapes made in Denver, CO between 2011-2016. During his latest residency at MacDowell, he worked on his book manuscript about the history of photography in Indonesia, A History of Photography in Indonesia: Essays on Photography from the Colonial Era to the Digital Age (Afterhours Books, Jakarta), that is expected to be out in December 2020. He is also finalizing a book with Catfish Books, From Out of Darkness, completed at MacDowell in January 2020. While in residency he also received confirmation that some of his photographs will be acquired by the Denver Art Museum. A selection of his handmade artist books was recently purchased by the Library of Congress.



Brian Arnold worked in the Nef studio.

Nef Studio, the first entirely new studio built after 1937, was donated by esteemed photographer, explorer, author, and MacDowell Fellow Evelyn Steffanson Nef in 1992. Endowed funds for the studio’s maintenance in perpetuity and an annual Fellowship for photographers were given in addition to funds for construction. Mrs. Nef said she had known about MacDowell all her…

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