Lydia Panas is a visual artist working with photography and video. A first-generation American, she was raised between Greece and the United States. Drawing on a combination of psychoanalysis and feminism, her work looks at identity and what lies below the surface, investigating questions of who we are and what we want to become. Exploring the roles of power and trust on both sides of the camera, she describes what it feels like to be a woman, a human, and the complex range of emotions we have the capacity to feel. She makes her work in the fields, forests, and studio of her seventy-acre farm in Pennsylvania. The connection she feels to this land and her family is the foundation of her work.

Panas’ work has been exhibited widely in the U.S. and internationally. Her photographs are represented in public and private collections including the Allentown Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Bronx Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Palm Springs Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, among others. Her work has appeared in many periodicals such as the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Photo District News, Philadelphia Inquirer, French Photo, Hyperallergic, Popular Photography, San Francisco Chronicle, Rain Taxi Review of Books, Flavorpill, WJS Blog, GEO Wissen, Die Voklskrant, Haaretz, and The Village Voice. Panas has degrees from Boston College, School of Visual Arts, and New York University/International Center of Photography. She is the recipient of a Whitney Museum Independent Study Fellowship and a CFEVA Fellowship. She has two monographs, “Falling from Grace” (Conveyor Arts, 2016) and “The Mark of Abel” (Kehrer Verlag, 2012) which was named a best coffee table book by the Daily Beast. A third monograph is scheduled for release in fall 2021 with MW Editions.

Panas has received many honors including a nomination for Prix Pictet and PDN 30. She won First Place Awards at CENTER, the Conscientious Portfolio Competition, London Calling Competition, TPS:16 among others. She has been a Solo Exhibition Winner at The Print Center, The Joyce Elaine Grant Exhibit and GoggleWorks Center for the Arts. Panas was selected twice for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize Exhibition, and was a repeat top-fifty winner for Critical Mass. She has garnered Honorable Mention, Second Prize, Curator’s Distinction, and Merit Awards at the Silver Eye Center, Houston Center for Photography, Korean Cultural Center, Reading Public Museum to name a few. Grants include ten Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Grants, a Special Opportunity Stipend from the PCA, a John Anson Kittredge Educational Grant, and a Puffin Foundation Grant. Panas has been an Artist in Residence at MASS MOCA, Banff Centre for the Arts, and a Visiting Artist at the America Academy in Rome.

She divides her time between Kutztown, Pennsylvania and New York City.

About the Artwork:

“My work builds on the broader history of portraiture and representation. I mostly photograph women, but rather than objectify or glorify, I celebrate our contradictions and resilience. My camera does not look at women, it identifies with them. These new still-lifes, inspired by the Dutch masters, explore the pleasure of awareness, transformation, and empowerment. Fruit, flowers, and other natural items are stand-ins for time, as well as deterioration and fruition. The act of photography for me is about the desire to connect to something that feels both personal and universal. I ask the viewer to look longer, to consider the complexity that lingers within all of us.”