Meet the Next Generation of Image Makers in Yale’s MFA Photo Program

Hobbes Ginsberg, Self Portrait with Karen, Making Pancakes, New Haven, 2022. All images courtesy of the artists.

Hobbes Ginsberg, 28

“As I began experimenting, it became a fruitful exercise in self-expression. I was in a safe space to explore my queerness and there were no pressures—things could exist in my photos before they needed to exist in real life. I like to bring in signifiers of the home—items from the kitchen, tables I built for the living room—to investigate what making a space looks like."

Natalie Ivis
Natalie Ivis, Untitled (birth), 2022. 

Natalie Ivis, 32 

“[When] I was invited to photograph during a home birth, I wanted to approach such a vulnerable moment with care, primarily focusing on touch and gesture. I think a lot about how to slow a moment down, to create an image that can hold empathy, to engage with moments of intimacy and human connection. I enjoy being able to convey quiet moments of contemplation, pulled from often chaotic environments.”

Sophie Schwartz
Sophie Schwartz, Cougar Makes My Picture, 2022.

Sophie Schwartz, 27 

“I am fascinated by the way photographs can capture how people see one another. I typically work with the same people over and over again. Recently, I have been drawn to photographing other photographers and, here, I investigate the event of the photograph and how people perform for the camera.”

Untitled (Imaginary Space 1), 2022
Xi Li, Untitled (Imaginary Space 1), 2022.

Xi Li, 27 

“I construct, simulate, and manipulate in both experienced and imagined environments. What's in between the fictional and nonfictional is fascinating [to me, because] it usually reveals a complicated sense of belonging. This photograph is from my series "Unstable Landscapes," 2021-2022, reflecting another dimension of time and space into reality. While a monument is falling down, a temporary space is imagined and imitated.”

Shaun Pierson
 Shaun Pierson, Brighter Void, 2022.

Shaun Pierson, 25 

“Much of my practice revolves around visualizing the intersection of sexuality, desire, and shame. I’m drawn to still photographs that suggest a wider narrative without the need for a clear resolution. Since I work primarily with strangers, I like to observe the ways in which individuals’ private desires (including my own) are publicly projected and performed. [Brighter Void] encapsulates the beauty and the mystery of the encounter; even the most mundane create a false sense of intimacy.”

Davion Alston
Davion Alston, (Untitled) Wisdom Teeth, 2021.

Davion Alston, 30 

“The language around my newer work is still being formed as I make still-lives during my time at Yale. My photography and art making is a process of doing and undoing, an exploration of my lineage, memory, and identity. I am interested in the material condition of the photograph, the surface that light touches, and what we deem to be a photograph.”

Adrian Martinez Chavez
Adrian Martinez Chavez, Untitled (New Haven), 2021.

Adrian Martinez Chavez, 30 

“This body of work began when I became interested in what night life looked like within the Hispanic community in Connecticut, specifically in New Haven and Hartford. I started going to bailes (dances) in search of a sense of belonging and community. Watching people dance to Mexican banda, Norteña, and Cumbia music brought me so much joy and reminded me of being with my family. I began to focus on the couples I'd see on the dance floor and make portraits of them.”

Miraj Patel
Miraj J. Patel, Ventura (Installation Photo), 2021.

Miraj J. Patel, 27 

“Ecological issues, especially [those] related to water, are pressing. I’m drawn to creating work related to diaspora, ecology, and systems.”

Arielle Gray
Arielle Gray, Black Venus and All of Her Children, 2022.

Arielle Gray, 26

“I am currently exploring Black female subjectivity and I’m constantly adding facets to my definitions of non-physical and physical beauty. Most of my work has taken place in the American South—I’m from Tuscaloosa, Alabama—as I find it to be a landscape full of untapped potential.”

Sydney Mieko King
Sydney Mieko King, Untitled (nails), 2022.

Sydney Mieko King, 27

“I made the images in this series in response to my grandmother's passing. On the day she was cremated, I kept thinking about her body and the transition she was about to undergo. Across the country and unable to be present with her, I began collecting all the dust I could find in my apartment. I built a camera to capture this dust, each fleck casting its own shadow from the light of the lens. I think of these images as self-portraits, grief rituals, and experiments. Our bodies are constantly shedding particles—hair, skin cells, nail filings—and those bits of matter become part of the atmosphere that surrounds us. In making these images of my own dust, I felt I might somehow find my grandmother again, or locate her plane of existence.”