About Strange Fire
The Strange Fire artist collective is a group of interdisciplinary artists, curators, and writers focused on work that engages with current social and political forces. We seek to create a venue for work that critically questions the dominant social hierarchy and are dedicated to highlighting work made by women, people of color, and queer and trans artists.
Our collective practice is centered around increasing the visibility of meaningful work and creating dialogue and community through publications, exhibitions, and events. We are committed to making our projects accessible, affordable, and socially relevant.
Strange Fire was formed in 2015 by Jess T. Dugan, Rafael Soldi, Zora J Murff, and Hamidah Glasgow.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Who We Are
Zora J Murff
Zora J Murff is Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas. Murff holds an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln and a BS in Psychology from Iowa State University. Combining his education in human services and art, Zora's photography focuses on the experiences of youth in the juvenile justice system, the role of images in the correctional system, and how images are used to define individuals who are deemed criminals. His work has been featured online including The British Journal of Photography, and has been published in VICE Magazine and Good Magazine amongst others. Zora was named a LensCulture 2015 Top 50 Emerging Talent, a 2014 Critical Mass finalist, and is a part of the Midwest Photographers Project through the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. Zora published his first monograph, Corrections, through Aint-Bad Editions in the Winter of 2015.
Hamidah Glasgow is the Executive Director and Curator at The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Center hosts approximately 17 exhibitions annually and features the work of emerging and established artists from around the world. The Center has been recognized as one of the prestigious nonprofit photography centers in the United States. Ms. Glasgow’s contribution to photography has included curatorial projects, portfolio reviews (FotoFest, Photolucida, Medium, Filter, etc.), contributions to publications and online magazines and the co-hosting of regional conferences.
Jess T. Dugan
Jess T. Dugan is an artist whose work explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community. Dugan holds an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago, a Master of Liberal Arts in Museum Studies from Harvard University, and a BFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Her work is regularly exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of several major museums.
Dugan’s monographs include To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults (Kehrer Verlag, 2018) and Every Breath We Drew (Daylight Books, 2015). She is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, an ICP Infinity Award, and was selected by the Obama White House as a Champion of Change. She is represented by the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago, IL.
Rafael Soldi is a Peruvian-born, Seattle-based photographer and curator. He holds a BFA in Photography & Curatorial Studies from the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has exhibited internationally at the Frye Art Museum, American University Museum, Griffin Museum of Photography, Greg Kucera Gallery, Connersmith, PCNW, and Vertice Galeria, among others. He is a Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Award Winner, and recipient of Puffin Foundation grant (2014), GAP Grant (2016), smART Ventures grant (2016), and 4Culture Artist Projects grant (2017). His work is in the permanent collections of the Tacoma Art Museum, Frye Art Museum, and the King County Public Art Collection. He has been published in PDN, Dwell, Hello Mr, and Metropolis, among others. Rafael curated Here and Now: Queer Geographies in Contemporary Photography at the Silver Eye Center for Photography in Pittsburgh and Stonewall National Museum and Archives.
Brian Pfister is an artist and curator studying at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD). His art practice explores topics of social practice and personal identity in the form of photography, installation, and performance. He is currently co-leading Swim Team, a curatorial collective creating a platform for emerging artists throughout Milwaukee in galleries, museums, and alternative spaces. He is also a co-founder of ISO Photography Club at MIAD, expanding the photographic education outside of the classroom via lectures, workshops, field trips, and exhibitions.
His work has been exhibited in Milwaukee, Chicago, Washington D.C. and published in Photography Forum’s Best of High School & College Photography in 2014 and Best of Photography in 2014. He is currently working to integrate emerging artist communities in Milwaukee through his personal and collective-practices.
Lodoe Laura is an artist, archivist, and researcher of photo-based work currently based in Toronto, Canada. She is interested in the ways that photographic praxis intersects with the self-fashioning of communities, and is currently working on a project to preserve the early photography of Tibetans in exile.
Lodoe Laura is currently pursuing an MA in FIlm + Photography Preservation and Collections Management at Ryerson University. She has been involved in cultural heritage preservation projects at the Archives of Ontario (Toronto, Canada), at the Princeton University Art Museum (Princeton, NJ), and at the Center for Mesoamerican Research (La Antigua, Guatemala).
Jessica Baran is a poet, curator, critic and Associate Director of Curatorial and Program Development at Barrett Barrera Projects and projects+gallery. The author of three poetry collections, she is the former art writer for the Riverfront Times (2008-2012), Assistant Director of White Flag Projects (2008-2011), and Director of fort gondo compound for the arts (2012-2016). Her art writing has appeared in Art in America, Artforum, Art Papers, BOMB, Flash Art and the Village Voice, among other publications. She also lectures intermittently at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Art and St. Louis University’s Prison Arts & Education program. She holds a B.A. in visual art from Columbia University, NY and an MFA in poetry from Washington University in St. Louis – where she lives with poet Nathaniel Farrell and their dog Benny.
Saleem Ahmed is a photographer, writer, and educator based in Philadelphia. He received his MFA in photography from the Hartford Art School, and his BA in photojournalism from Temple University. He teaches at various colleges and high schools within Philadelphia. He co-founded Vista Oculta (vistaoculta.org), a series of photography-based projects based in La Paz, Bolivia aimed at teaching visual arts to adolescents living and working in the streets. His work has been exhibited in New York, Philadelphia, Hartford, Milwaukee, Berlin, Goa, and La Paz.
Aaron Turner is a photographer and educator currently based in the Hudson Valley working as Technical Director in the Film and Electronic Arts Department at Bard College, also as an Adjunct Professor at Bard College at Simon's Rock. He uses photography to pursue personal stories of people of color, in two main areas of the U.S., the Arkansas and Mississippi Deltas. Aaron has a strong interest in the role that documentary photography plays in both the art and journalism worlds, and the crossover this creates in contemporary photography.
Abbey Hepner is an artist and educator investigating the human relationship with landscape and technology. Her work explores ethical gray areas where humanity and industry collide, illuminating the increasingly common use of health as a currency. She received degrees in Art and Psychology from the University of Utah, an MFA in Art and Minor in Arts Management from the University of New Mexico. She teaches at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and is the founder of Creative Advocacy, an organization dedicated to teaching artists professional development skills.
Hepner’s work has been exhibited widely in such venues as the Mt. Rokko International Photography Festival (Kobe, Japan), SITE Santa Fe (Santa Fe, NM), the San Diego Art Institute (San Diego, CA), the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History (Albuquerque, NM), Institut for Alles Mögliche (Berlin, Germany), and the Newspace Center for Photography (Portland, OR).
Jen Everett is an artist from Southfield, Michigan, currently working in Saint Louis, Missouri. Her undergraduate training in architecture informs her approach to research and making. Jen’s work considers the relationship between rupture and Black interiority through an investigation of the materials we collect, the information we hold in our bodies and where the two may converge. Her work has evolved from an image based practice to one that includes installation, time based media and writing.
Jen received an MFA from Washington University in Saint Louis where she was a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. Jen has shown at arts spaces including Leo Model Gallery at Hampshire College, Vox Populi in Philadelphia and Gallery 102 in Washington DC. She has presented her work during lectures at the Saint Louis Art Museum and Harvard University and her work has been published in Transition and SPOOK magazines. She has been an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center, Atlantic Center for the Arts and ACRE.
Roula Seikaly is an independent art writer and curator based in Berkeley, and Senior Editor at Humble Arts Foundation. She is a contributor to BOMB, Photograph, and Hyperallergic, and has curated exhibitions at SF Camerawork, SOMArts, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.
Jamil Hellu is a visual artist based in San Francisco, working primarily with photography and video installation. His projects revolve around representations of identity, particularly engaged in exploring interpretations of queer sexuality.
His work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Guardian, The Advocate, and VICE. He is the recipient of the Fleishhacker Foundation's 2018 Eureka Fellowship Award. Hellu received the Kala Art Institute Fellowship and was selected for the Artist-in-Residence Program at Recology San Francisco. He was awarded the Graduate Fellowship at Headlands Center for the Arts and was granted a six-month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.
Hellu holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Art Practice from Stanford University and a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute.
He teaches photography in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University.