The Applebaum Fellowship is a nine-month mentorship and development program for emerging and established photographers in the Detroit. The program offers critical feedback and support in developing new work or completing an existing body of work. Selected fellows receive individual and group mentorship while participating in monthly critiques, participate in a group exhibition, and have open access to Darkroom Detroit facilities, workshops, classes, and membership.

The 2019 Applebaum Photography Fellows



Noura Ballout

Noura Ballout is an artist, curator, and entrepreneur. They work in a wide range of creative mediums, maintaining a primary practice in photography. Their work is about constructing and finding home while navigating an intersectional identity in diaspora, which often manifests in the meeting of art and community. Noura is the founder of Habibi House, a studio and residency space in Detroit and is the recipient of the 2019 Gilda Award, awarded by Kresge Arts in Detroit, a program of The Kresge Foundation. Noura has exhibited their work across Detroit, NYC and Philidelphia, including The Arab American Museum, Wayne State University, Flux Factory, Salon AlMahjar, and Vox Populi.


Lizz Cardwell

Lizz is a documentary photographer & visual storyteller living & working in Detroit, MI. In 2014 she graduated from the University of Missouri with degrees in Photojournalism and International Religious Studies. In 2016 she received her Diploma in Advanced Visual Storytelling from the Danish School of Media & Journalism in Aarhus, Denmark. 

Using her own curiosity as the impetus for her work Lizz’s photographic practice serves as a means to investigate her convictions about life and the world around her. As a result, the work centers around ‘belief & belonging’ and is the product of her lifelong infatuation with the subject.


Richard Haley

Richard Haley is an artist, writer and curator originally from Northern California. Happenstance dropped him in the Midwest. His art practice is focused through lens based technology, using the fluid undefinable nature of photography and video to explore notions being. 

His work abuses the ideas of a document, an index, a record, all the while maligning the referent. 

JLG_2951 copy.jpg

Chris Reilly

Chris Reilly holds a MFA from UCLA’s School of Arts and Architecture. Working individually and collaboratively, his artwork explores communication, relationships, perception, participation, and collaboration using media including sculpture, photography, software, installation, and open-source tech projects. Recent exhibitions include Body Clock at CAVE Detroit; the Intimate Instruments workshop at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and Music Tech Fest in Ljubljana, Slovenia; and collaborative projects in Hong Kong’s Microwave International New Media Arts Festival. His works are profiled in Hyperallergic; We Make Money Not Art; Wired Magazine; and Punk Planet. Chris is Assistant Professor of Art at Eastern Michigan University.


Rachel E. Thomas

The combination of being a documentary photographer and collage artist has given Rachel the ability to uniquely illustrate and personalize the stories that she tells. Similar to a puzzle, she pieces components together to create a whole that’s personalized to her subject matter. She gathers inspiration from her surroundings and/or her subject's interests. Having a background in fine art has allowed her imagination to reach those depths. Her documentary work centers around culture, celebration, activism, pride and intimacy. Her main objectives are investigating diverse communities and its subcultures.

JLG_2961 copy.jpg

Bre’ann White

Bre’Ann White is a Detroit-based photographer and creative director. Since 2010, Bre'Ann has curated stunning photographs and branding materials for organizations and influencers worldwide. The Detroit bred fashion and portrait photographer is known for her ability to create stunning images that convey her client's desired message and inspire the imagination of her viewers.

Through her focus on increased representation of dark-skin models, she challenges the fashion world and mainstream media which continue to struggle with the glaring absence of their representation on a global scale. Bre’ann’s breakout exhibition at Playground Detroit in January 2019, Definition of Red, presented a series of photographs that represents her personal metamorphosis and transition through investigations of color.

The 2018 Applebaum Photography Fellows


Brittany Dickinson

Born in Detroit, Brittany received her BA from Oakland University and an MFA from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, CA. Brittany's practice involves creating multiple re-constructions of digital images and investigating how an image is processed through apparatuses and software programs. Digital images are technical in nature and stored as code that computer programs read to generate a visual. Brittany is interested in how she can manipulate and redefine a digital file that will no longer have a direct referent within the physical world. This altered file is brought into the physical world by creating a material object that is abstract in nature and embedded with digital artifacts.


Stephanie Espinoza

Stephanie is a visual artist and librarian residing in Ann Arbor, MI. She received a BA in Art History in 2010 and a BFA in Photography in 2016, both from the University of Utah. Originally from Los Angeles, California, she spend her teenage years in Gudalajara, Mexico and early adulthood in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In her photographic work, Stephanie borrows from the past and explores the mundane. She aims to explore the physicality and the reproductive nature of photography. 



Parisa Ghaderi + Ebrahim Soltani  •  •

Parisa and Ebrahim create work as a collective, exploring home as an existential construction, a “space” which retains our memories and protects our dreams. 

Parisa Ghaderi is a visual artist and filmmaker who earned her BA in Visual Communications from Tehran, Iran, and her MFA in Art and Design from the University of Michigan. Her artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Ghaderi has made four short films: "Still", "Broken Glass", "The ones who loved me are gone", and "One way”. "Still" won the International Award of Merit Winners, from the International Film Festival for Documentary, Short, and Comedy, Indonesia. "The ones who loved me are gone" was the winner of The Berlin Flash Film Festival, Berlin, Germany, and finalist at Detroit Voices. "One way" was the winner of International Awards of Excellence, The International Film Festivals for Peace, Inspiration, and Equality (IFFPIE), Jakarta, Indonesia, and the Award of Merit: Documentary Short, Impact DOCS Award.

Ebrahim Soltani is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Eastern Michigan University. He earned his PhD from Syracuse University. He is also an MD, having graduated from the Iran University of Medical Sciences. He was Editor-in-Chief of Kiyan, Persian journal of religion and politics, from 1998 to 2000. His artwork has been exhibited in Ann Arbor, MI, Touchstone gallery in Washington D.C., Artprize 9 in Grand Rapids, MI, and the Light Journal. Ebrahim Soltani and Parisa Ghaderi won the Best in Show among 102 artworks at UMHS art exhibition.


Vincent Marcinelli

Vincent Marcinelli is an artist from Detroit, Michigan. He recently received his MFA in photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art and received his BFA from The Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Vincent’s work has been featured in Juxtapoz, Lens Culture and Creem Magazine

Vincent's work uses the body and cultural iconography as a personal response to societal expectations. He uses sculpture, collage and rendering to create constructed juxtapositions that deal with issues related to personhood, the body and our relationship to trauma.


Manda Moran

A graduate of USC film school, Manda Moran made her directing debut after she entered a contest for Al Gore’s up and coming network Current TV. Moran then relocated to Detroit in order to have more time for independent film and photography work.

She has screened her videos at The Detroit Institute of Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and Detroit Contemporary. Detroit Future City hosted two solo shows of her photography. Her work has also been featured on Current TV, Impose, The Huffington Post, Stereogum, The Detroit News, PBS and Michigan Radio. 

Her abstract video installation "Laser Loops" premiered at the 2016 Ann Arbor Film Festival.


Nathaniel Mullen

Nate’s work thrives at the intersection of art and people. For ten years, Nate has worked in classrooms, leading student media investigations which have included everything from stop motion videos about Newton’s Laws, to infographics about the economics of sneaker fashion, to mixtapes of Maya Angelou’s poetry. He has a BFA from the University of Michigan and is a graduate of Detroit Public Schools.  



Ricky Weaver

Ricky Weaver is an image-based artist from Ypsilanti, MI. She is a mother of three and a woman passionate about transforming the policies around her body as a black woman. In 2014 she graduated from Eastern Michigan University with her BFA in Photography. During that time she served as a curator for the Intermedia Gallery Group and worked as a freelance photographer.  Ricky recently received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Ricky is currently residing in her hometown where she teaches Arts and Expression to the youth in her community and exhibiting her work locally and nationally.

Ricky's work renders nuanced moments when black women cultural and spiritual practices provide breath and substance for creating spaces of leverage. These images locate a specific vernacular of facial expression and body language that can be traced back to the middle passage. One that disrupts the paradigmatic ways of archiving blackness and outsmarts surveillance technologies as such. The life that these images begin to manifest exist in a reality outside of now. A new archive, a new image, elsewhere.


Rosa Maria Zamarron

Rosa María was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She has lived briefly in various cities but was raised primarily in Detroit. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a B.A in Photography and has exhibited in various cities such as Grand Rapids, New York, Detroit, Austin and Rome, Italy. In 2016 she was chosen as a Documenting Detroit Fellow and has worked to create a more positive narrative of Detroit. In addition to her documentary endeavors, she works as an ophthalmic photographer for the Kresge Eye Institute. 

It is the fear of forgetting moments she has lived, things she has seen, and people she has loved that fuels Rosa Maria's photographic endeavors. The fleeting eye-contact with strangers on the street—a quotidian and inconsequential event for many— becomes the need to capture them in an image.  She needs the simplicity of witnessing the universe itself culminate in one moment before her eyes as she clicks the magical button. 

Past Events:


The Inaugural Exhibition of Applebaum Photography Fellows

APRIL 5 - APRIL 27, 2019
Whitdel Arts, 1111 Bellevue St, Ste. 110, Detroit 48207
Opening Celebration: Friday, April 5, 6 - 8pm


This exhibition is made possible thanks to:
The Applebaum Family Compass Fund + Whitdel Arts
Download the Press Release

This program is generously sponsored by the Applebaum Family Compass Fund

And many thanks to our additional sponsors, Canson Infinity Papers and Whidel Arts Gallery