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Rose Marie Cromwell
Rose Marie Cromwell

Rose Marie Cromwell, a 2013 graduate of the College of Visual and Performing Arts' master of fine arts (M.F.A.) degree program in art photography the Department of Transmedia, has received the 2018 Light Work Photobook Award for her monograph, “El Libro Supremo de la Suerte,” which TIS Books and Light Work will co-publish this year.

The Light Work Photobook Award is given annually to an artistic project that deserves international attention. As with all of Light Work’s programs, in selecting the artists to receive this recognition it seeks to highlight emerging and underrepresented artists of diverse backgrounds.

“We’re thrilled to present this year’s Light Work Photobook Award to Rose Marie Cromwell for her ambitious first monograph, ‘El Libro Supremo de la Suerte,’” says Shane Lavalette, director of Light Work. “Cromwell pays homage to a Cuba that she grew to love over nearly a decade of returning to Havana to make pictures. Her work quickly acknowledges its subjective/self-reflexive nature through a non-linear narrative that alludes to life’s ‘luck of the draw,’ exploring some of the very real complexities of contemporary Cuba (including her own presence as an artist coming-of-age). Through a lyrical sequence of images of everyday rituals, she captures a Cuba that is multi-layered and continues to defy expectations. Cromwell’s photographs take us to a place that is, perhaps most of all, profoundly human—and through this, she expresses her belief that even intimacy is political.”

"I am honored and humbled to receive this award," says Cromwell. "From the time I was a work-study student at Syracuse University to being an artist in residence, Light Work has always been supportive of my development as an artist. I could not be more thankful for everyone at Light Work believing in me over the years and for recognizing this project with this award. This book wouldn't be a reality without Light Work's support. I'm so excited also for the partnership between Light Work and TIS Books and its potential to exponentially increase 'El Libro Supremo de la Suerte''s visibility. I am also very thankful for the whole team behind the book, especially TIS Books and the book's designer, Ben Salesse."

Cromwell is a photographic and video artist based in Miami. Her work explores globalization’s effect on human interaction and social politics and the tenuous space between the political and the spiritual. Cromwell received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Maryland Institute College of Art in Art Photography in 2005, and an M.F.A. from Syracuse University in art photography in 2013. Cromwell is a recipient of the Fulbright Research Grant and a Syracuse University full-ride graduate fellowship. She was named one of "25 Under 25 Up and Coming American Photographers" by the Center for Documentary Studies in 2008 and "One to Watch" by the British Journal of Photography in 2017. She has had solo exhibitions at the Antitesis Art Space and the Diablo Rosso Gallery in Panama City, and she participated in the 1st Biennale del Sur in Panama City and Prizm Art Fair in Miami. Cromwell’s artwork has been published online and in print in a variety of international magazines, including ARC Magazine, Camera Austria, Musee Magazine, the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Oxford American, Time Lightbox, and Vice Photography Issues (2014, 2015, 2016). She participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence Program in September 2014. 

Cromwell’s debut monograph, "El Libro Supremo de la Suerte" (“The Supreme Book of Luck”) refers to a little piece of photocopied samizdat that supports a covert lottery in Havana, Cuba, where Cromwell spent eight years living and photographing. Of the work, Paula Kupfer writes, “In exploring the visual connections between numbers—exact and absolute units of measurements—and the mystical, wayward ways of luck, as embodied by friends and family performing for her camera, Cromwell offers a lyric homage to Cuba, the place that’s shaped her practice and that, moreover, continues defying expectations and interpretations.”

For information on how to pre-order a first edition signed copy of Light Work’s 2019 Book Collectors Offer “El Libro Supremo de la Suerte,” visit the Light Work website.