Christina Seely (1976- ) is currently living and working in San Francisco, CA. With in just the last decade, she has "exhibited worldwide, most recently in San Francisco's City Hall, at The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, The Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York, and The Center for Photography at Woodstock. She is a MacDowell Fellow, participated in The Arctic Circle Program in 2010 and is a 2011 Headlands Center for the Arts Residency recipient. Seely's work is included in collections at, the Walker Art Center, The West Collection, Yale University, The MOCP, and the Boston Public Library. She is also a founding member of the design collective Civil Twilight, creators of Lunar Resonant Streetlights, an innovative system of lighting that respond to moonlight, dimming and brightening each month as the moon cycles through it’s phases. Civil Twilight’s Streetlights won Metropolis Magazine’s and 2007 Next Generation Design Competition, were a finalist in the World Bank Competition “Lighting Africa”, the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, and the 2009 Index Design Awards."[1] Seely’s photographic work investigates the constantly developing connection linking our way of life and the natural environment. Her most recent project, Lux, is a series of large-scale photographs documenting the artificial glow of cities in the three brightest regions on a NASA map of the world at night.

Seely has succeeded in applying a unique situation to an old interest and continues to do so. People have been interested in nature and light for a long time. "For millions of years only dramatic shifts in terrain informed the reading of the earth’s surface from space. Now the cumulative light from highly urbanized areas creates a new type of information and understanding of the world that reflects human’s dominance over the planet. Christina Seely's Lux, titled after the system unit for measuring illumination, presents photographic portraits of cities within the most brightly illuminated regions on the NASA map of the night earth. This project is inspired by the disconnect between the immense beauty produced by human-made light and the complexity of what this light represents."[2] As we can see, Lux focuses on cities in the United States, Western Europe and Japan. "These economically and politically powerful regions not only have the greatest impact on the night sky but this brightness reflects a dominant cumulative impact on the planet. Collectively they emit approximately 45% of the world's CO2 and (along with China) act as the top consumers of electricity, energy and resources. In order to suggest the interchangeability of urbanization and the unilateral impact of these cities on the global environment each photographed location in the series, is indicated by the central latitude and longitude of the depicted city and is simply titled Metropolis. For most of human history, light has signified hope and progress. In Seely's project, light also paradoxically denotes regression or transgression -- an index of the complex negative human impacts on the health and future of the planet."[3]

Lux is part travelogue, part reveling in the luscious beauty of that complicated thing we call landscape and part critique of excess. As she says, “Part of why I am photographing in these the regions is because of what these regions represent. They are the wealthiest. They use half the worlds Co2. This references privilege. Privilege means you have a bigger footprint. And this means those that those that have privilege have a bigger responsibility. I do buy offset for all my travel. Personal decisions about my life are very important in relation to this, daily habits and whatnot. Extremism can shut people down and shut them off from making change. How can I bring these things up without judging? I want to find a balance, I want to find a way to live better and don't believe that the utopian ideal is really possible. I do believe we can live as lightly as possible. The conversations I have had with people have changed so much as I have gone further with Lux, people are much more vocal about these issues then they used to be. There is so much more apparent innovation. I'm seeing change happen. A meeting between the natural and the urban that excludes the iconic moments like the Eiffel tower is what I’m looking for. Exposure times vary depending on how far away I am but tend to be around 1-4 hours long. I have to figure out how bright to make the scene "look" because by the end of two hours my eyes have adjusted and the scene has changed. I push my printing towards a sense of daylight. A lot of my decisions are intuitive. The actual key to the work that makes it mine or someone else's is paying attention to the fact that I don't know why an image works as a maker, there is a marker of being an artist that is beyond knowing. I can break it down into parts but there is a part of it that remains out of reach."[4]



BA Studio Art, Carleton College, Northfield, MN
MFA Photography, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
Solo and Group Exhibitions

“Lux”, Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle, WA; Country Club, Cincinnati, OH

“The Edge of Intent”, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL

"1000 Days", Scion Installation Space, Culver City, CA
“States of Mind: New American Photographers”, TH Inside, Cityscape, Brussels; + Dat-Schaub, Copenhagen

“Staging Reality”, The West Collection, Oaks, PA

“Sublime Landscape”, Project 4 Gallery, Washington, DC

“The Natural World”, East/West Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA

“RISD Northern California Biennial”, Oakland Art Gallery, Oakland, CA

“Christina Seely: Lux”, Boliou and Hulings Halls, Carleton College, MN
“Never Seen”, The Oliver Center, California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA

“PhotoBravo +07”, Minnesota Center for Photography, Minneapolis, MN

“Exposure”, Photographic Resource Center, Boston, MA
“Forest Dreaming: Part 5”, The Center for Contemporary Art and the Natural World, Haldon Forest Park, Exeter, United Kingdom

“Beyond Words: 101Artist Books”, University of the South Art Gallery, Sewanee, TN

“AIM 26”, The Bronx Museum, New York, NY
“San Francisco RISD Biennial”, Lux Design Gallery, San Francisco, CA

“Landscape Revisited”, Hunt/Cavanagh Gallery, Providence, RI

“Fantastic Efflorescence”, Boliou Gallery, Carleton College, Northfield, MN

“The Art of the Good Life”, Invitational Benefit, Gen Art, San Francisco, CA
“International Photographic Exhibition”, Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, CO

“Place /No Place”, Gibbs Gallery, Boston, MA

Awards, Grants, Honors

MacDowell Residency, Petersborough, NH

Santa Fe Prize for Photography Nominee, Center, Santa Fe, NM

Center’s Project Competition Finalist, Center, Santa Fe, NM

Critical Mass Top 50, Photolucida, Portland, OR
Metropolis Magazine Co-Winner of the Next Generation Design Competition
Women’s Studio Workshop Artist Book Production Grant, Rosendale, NY
White Columns Slide Registry, New York, NY

Cooper Union Residency Program, New York, NY


Bibliography (Christina Seely)
Berger, Joshua. "Christina Seely: Lux." Plazm Magazine, February 2008, 16-19.
Deering, Jane. "Christina Seely: Bio." Jane Deering Gallery. Accessed April 3, 2011.
Hoogwaerts, Romke. "Four Night Photographers." GUP. Accessed April 3, 2011.
Murrow, Ethan. "Artist Christina Seely Digs Into Climate Change." Huffpost Arts. Accessed April 3, 2011.
Steen, Karen E. "Lunar Light." Metropolis Magazine, May 2007, 25-26.

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