UO photographer, art professor named Guggenheim fellow

Ron Jude, an associate professor of art in the School of Art + Design, has been named a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, an award that will allow him to complete his latest photography project.

Jude said he was elated when he received news of the fellowship last week. He was one of 168 scholars, artists and writers selected as fellows from a pool of more than 3,000 applicants.

Ron Jude “It really comes at a great time for me, not only in terms of the arc of my career, but it also gives me the support I need to complete a body of work I’m now developing,” he said.

The title of the project is “12 Hz,” after the lowest threshold for human hearing — 12 hertz, or cycles per second. It explores the idea of imperceptible geological forces, from ocean tides to plate tectonics, cycles of growth and decay in the forest, and the incomprehensibility of geological spans of time.

The photographs allude to the “ungraspable scale and veiled mechanics” of those phenomena. While not specifically meant to be topical project, it is informed by the political and ecological crisis of the moment, he said.

He makes the photographs using a medium-format digital camera so he can make large prints — 42 inches by 56 inches, a scale that is important to the overall impact of the work.

The award from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation is an unrestricted grant, which will allow Jude to take time off from his university duties, travel and produce large-scale prints. The Guggenheim Foundation does not disclose the amount of each award, but it is based on the recipient’s annual salary and what it will take to execute the work.

When Jude completes the work, his photos will be exhibited at a venue to be determined and published in a book by London publisher Mack.

Jude came to the UO from Ithaca College in New York in 2015. He was born in Los Angeles and grew up in rural Idaho. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Art from Boise State University and an Master of Fine Art from Louisiana State University.

His photographs have been exhibited widely since 1992 at venues such as the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, The Photographers’ Gallery in London, Daegu Culture and Art Center in South Korea, Proekt Fabrika in Moscow and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.

He’s also the author of 10 books, including “Alpine Star,” “Emmett,” “Executive Model” and “Lick Creek Line.” “Lago,” published in 2015, was named one of the best photography books of the year by Time magazine.

His work explores “the nexus between place, memory and narrative through multiple forms and approaches, ranging from appropriated imagery to photographs that echo traditional documentary strategies,” according to the Guggenheim nomination.

Jude is the 63rd UO faculty member or graduate to be named a Guggenheim Fellow, dating to 1942. The last faculty member to receive the fellowship was biology professor Jessica Green in 2013, and before her awards went to biologist Judith Eisen and anthropologist Carol Silverman in 2010.

By Tim Christie, University Communications