Photographers to Watch: SVA Alumni Picked for PDN’s 30 2014

April 14, 2014

The April issue of Photo District News (PDN) features the highly anticipated PDN’s 30, the magazine’s annual spotlight on new and emerging photographers. Among PDN’s select choices for 2014 are Jenny Riffle (MFA 2011 Photography, Video and Related Media) and BFA Photography alumni Bobby Doherty (2011), Dina Litovsky (2010) and Ilona Szwarc (2013).

pdn200“If making the photo is boring, it’s a boring photo,” says New York Magazine staff photographer Bobby Doherty in PDN. Having shot everything from rubber-coated bathroom wares and Italian-made metallic sacks, to portraits of well-known New York figures such as chef Daisuke Nakazawa, Doherty prides himself on craftsmanship and diversity. “I build my photos one at a time. I never consciously make a body of work that is one thing,” he says in PDN. “I get too comfortable with the same, so I’m looking for something to disturb me.”

Dina Litovsky’s photos grant viewers behind-the-scenes access to everything from bachelorette parties and fashion shows to New York’s downtown club scene and the “Women of Brighton Beach.” Her candid shots of

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people captivated by their smartphones and engaged in social media also offer commentary on our current age of technology. Litovsky’s work has been increasingly capturing the attention of photography professionals. Dennis Kiel, chief curator of The Light Factory, told PDN, “I find myself thinking about Dina’s images for days, even weeks.”

In “Scavenger: Adventures in Treasure Hunting,” Jenny Riffle uses portraits of family, friends, herself and her boyfriend to create fantasy-based narratives. An Aaron Siskind Foundation Individual Photographer’s Fellowship recipient, Riffle has had solo exhibitions throughout the United States and earned a commission request from Bloomberg Businessweek. She attributes her success in part to her time at SVA. “Going to grad school really helped advance my career,” she tells PDN. “[It] allowed me to accomplish a lot in a very concentrated time period.”

Aside from recently having her work published in The New Yorker, Time and The New York Times Magazine, award-winning

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photographer Ilona Szwarc (2013) has been gaining critical acclaim for her series “American Girls,” for which she photographed young women across the country with their own American Girl lookalike dolls, and “Rodeo Girls,” a portrait project about young girls who compete in rodeos on a professional level. “These individuals have a fundamentally different idea about their femininity and a contrasting attitude towards gender roles,” she tells PDN about the latter series. “They are engaged in activities that traditionally were reserved for men.”

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