Fossil #14

Photography; Inkjet, 2008

Backlighting impressions of my own footprints in snow, the Fossil series became a means of questioning my impact on the natural world. The idea of photographing one’s own footprints as evidence is somewhat cliché but current concerns for the environment have also freed the “footprint” from its physical manifestation to represent the impacts all of our actions have on the natural world. But even in these times when fears of a climate meltdown seem inevitable, its clear to me too that our individual impression upon nature is but momentary and will soon fade away just like the snow. This tension of temporal uncertainty speaks to the complexity of our relationship with nature.

Fossil #14

Photography; Inkjet, 2008

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Stefan Petranek

b. 1977, United States

Short Bio

Influenced by his formal training in biology and chemistry, Stefan Petranek is interested in examining the linkage between the self and the underlying physical world. Training his camera at both the odd and delightful he is particularly fascinated in how patterns from natural phenomena around us hold insight into nature’s organization.

Recently, Stefan’s video work Turbulence was featured in a screening of Indecisive Moment: Photographer’s Using Video at Hendershot Gallery in New York. Ten images from his Fossils series have just been published in Water by John Knechtel co-published by MIT Press and Alphabet City in 2009. Stefan also spoke at the 2008 Society of Photographic Education’s national conference on the Subject of Science in Contemporary Art.

Beyond his accomplishments as an exhibiting artist, Stefan is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Photography at Rochester Institute of Technology.



  • MFA, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA, 2006
  • A.B.Biology, Bowdoin College, ME, USA, 1999


Rochester Institute of Technology, Office of Admissions, Rochester, NY, USA

Solo Exhibitions

  • Formulations, SPAS Gallery, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY 2006
  • Spanoscopic Visions, Genesee Center for the Arts, Rochester, NY 2005

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • Circuit Gallery Showcase Exhibition, The Department, Toronto, Canada 2009
  • 11th Annual Photography Exhibition, In-sight Photography Project Gallery, Brattleboro, VT 2009
  • (Un)natural Worlds, Rockport Center for the Arts, Rockport, TX 2009
  • Re:Member, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester, NY 2008
  • Snap to Grid, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, CA 2008
  • Toronto Urban Film Festival, Toronto’s Mass Transit TVs, Toronto, Canada 2008
  • Slide Slam ‘08, Real Art Ways Gallery, Hartford, CT 2008
  • PingYao International Photo Festival, Epson Gallery, Ping-Yao, China 2007
  • Naturally: Looking at Looking at Nature, Hartnett Gallery, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 2007
  • 30 Years of Eye Work, Genesee Center for the Arts, Rochester, NY 2007
  • CONTACT Portfolio Reviews Exhibition, HP CONTACT Gallery, Toronto, Canada 2007
  • Off the Wall: 14, Arts Council of Greater New Haven, Main Gallery, New Haven, CT 2007
  • RIT Student Honors Show, SPAS Gallery, Rochester, NY 2006
  • Door7 Spring Exhibition, 700 S. Clinton Ave. Gallery, Rochester, NY 2006
  • conVerge, SPAS Gallery, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY 2006
  • Trans fix, Fawick Art Gallery, Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, OH 2006
  • Long Beach Island Foundation Annual Photography Show, Long Beach Island Foundation for the Arts Gallery, Loveladies, NJ 2005
  • Breaking The Ice, Hartell Gallery, Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester, NY), Spark Contemporary Art Space (Syracuse, NY), USA 2005
  • City Wide Open Studios, An invitational art festival showcasing visual artists in Connecticut. Exhibiting Artist, Art Space Gallery, New Haven, CT 2004
  • The Edge: a Fringe Festival, Small Space Gallery, New Haven, CT 2004
  • Spectra, Photo Arts Collective Annual Members Show, North Haven, CT 2004
  • Publications

    • Alphabet City: Water, “Fossils,” Ed. John Knechtel. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009
    • Naturally, Catalog Essay by Clarence Burton Sheffield, Jr., Professor of Art History, Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, 2007
    • Formulations, Master of Fine Arts Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, 2006
    • Draft Magazine, Page 26, Issue 3, Independent Student Art Publication. Rochester, NY, May 2006
    • "Knowledge, Visual Culture and the New Archive," Contributing photographer. Published by: Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, 2005

Stefan Petranek

Full Resume

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Presentations | Scholarships

  • Tweaking the Periodic Table: Reflections on Science in Contempary Art. Lecture Presentation, Society of Photographic Education, National Conference, Denver, CO, March 2008
  • Artist Talk. Panel discussion for Naturally exhibition. Hartnett Gallery, University of Rochester. Nov. 8, 2007
  • Graduate Student Presentation. SPE Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, George Madison University, Fairfax, Virginia, November 11-12, 2005
  • Graduate Student Scholarship, Society of Photographic Educators Mid-Atlantic Region, 2005
  • Janie Moore Greene Grant. North American Nature Photography Association Infinity Foundation, 2005
  • The Guy Charles Howard and the O’Brien Graduate Scholarships. Bowdoin College, 2004

Fossil #16 Fossil #19 Fossil #12 Fossil #14

Stefan Petranek
Fossil #14, 2008
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