Callanan Teaching Award

Callanan Teaching Award

Image detail from the Advanced Photo Class at Venice Arts © Jacob Moss, provided by Alanna Styer

“Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.” — Colleen Wilcox

Established in 1998, the annual Callanan Excellence in Teaching Award honors a high school, college, or postgraduate teacher’s dedication and commitment to their students and field. Educators in all areas of photographic teaching are eligible – including fine art, documentary, history, and criticism. In honor of their exemplary teaching skills and techniques the Teaching Award recipient receives $5,000 in financial support, Review Santa Fe Admission, access to Professional Development Seminars, Inclusion in the CENTER Image & Library, and a CENTER Supporting Level Membership.

// A genuine passion for teaching
// An ability to excite students to learn
// A respect for students as individuals
// An enduring artistic curiosity


© Giles Clement

Alanna Styer • Documentary Artist, Educator, Activist, Education Research Fellow, Photographer’s Green Book, & Program Manager of Media Arts Education & Mentoring, Venice Arts Los Angeles •

“The realm of vision, to which photography belongs, offers a tremendous amount of passion and emotions to interpret the daily encounters of people, events, and places that we come into contact with. The practice of photography enables us to interact with the cultures in which we live from a variety of viewpoints, including the emic and the etic points of view. But so long as our positions touch on those emotions and passions that make us human or cross the paths of both the ‘other’ and the ‘self’ that interrogate our sanity, photography will always continue to be an important medium of expression and of engagement in various social, cultural, and political conversations in the 21st century and beyond. This will be the case so long as our positions touch on the emotions and passions that make us human.” – Uche Okpa-Iroha, 2022 Callanan Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient

“She is passionate about finding ways to introduce photography to underserved students and make art a part of their daily lives.”

“Alanna not only cares about teaching about art and photography, but has also built her syllabi around decolonizing historical narratives through lenses of race, gender, and culture.”

“Perhaps the most selfless part of her teaching style is that she makes these guides and references free so that all educators have access to open these kinds of discussions.”


2022 • Uche Okpa-Iroha
Visual Artist, Art & Culture Producer, Art Educator, Independent Curator, Mentor, & Founder/Director, The Nlele Institute Lagos, Nigeria
2021 • Peter Brown
Photographer & Instructor, Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA
2020 • Frank Lopez
Photographer & Teacher, Greenhill School, Addison, Texas, USA
2019 • Tony Chirinos
Artist, Photographer, & Associate Senior Professor of Photography, Miami Dade College, Miami, Florida, USA
2017 • Cig Harvey
Maine Media College, Anderson Ranch, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, Maine, USA
2015 • Joe Johnson
Head of Photography Department, University of Missouri, Lecturer at Carnegie Mellon, Indiana University, MassArt, Rhode Island College, DeCordova Museum, & the Beach Museum, Missouri, USA
2014 • Aline Smithson
CENTER Workshop Instructor, Fine Art Department Instructor, Los Angeles Center of Photography, Los Angeles, California, USA
2013 • Jessamyn Lovell
Art Department Senior Lecturer, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
2012 • Stephan Hillenbrand
Associate Professor, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA
2011 • Kerry Skarbakka
Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA
2010 • Sean Kernan
Savannah College of Art & Design, Maine Photo Workshops, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops & the Art Center, Pasadena, Connecticut, USA
2009 • Archy Baker LaSalle
Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, Massachusetts, USA
2008 • Patrick Hebert
Instructor, Art Center College of Design, CA & Associate Director of Education, AIDS Project Los Angeles, California, USA
2007 • Joan Dooley
Bell School of Humanites Academy, Los Angeles, California, USA
2006 • John Weiss
Professor of Art, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA
2005 • Rose Marasco
Professor of Art, University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine, USA
2004 • Lauren Shaw
Associate Professor, Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
2003 • Susan Kae Grant
Professor of Photography, Texas Women’s University, Denton, Texas, USA
2002 • Don Gregorio Anton
Humboldt State University, Arcata, California, USA
2001 • Joleen Mahoney Roe
Bethlehem Central High School, Delmar, New York, USA
2000 • Catherine Angel
Associate Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
1998 • Eddie Soloway
Instructor, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, National Geographic Presenter, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA


Thanks to a generous donor in 2020, the Excellence in Teaching Award has been renamed the Callanan Excellence in Teaching Award, after our Founder Reid Callanan, and will be supporting dedicated photographic educators annually.

Thank you for the future support of the Callanan Excellence in Teaching Award.