Eleanor Oakes

Assistant Professor
MFA, Stanford University; BA, Princeton University


View some of Eleanor Oakes‘s work


Eleanor Oakes is photographic artist based in Detroit, MI. She is Assistant Professor of Photography at the College for Creative Studies, and founder of Darkroom Detroit, a local non-profit that increases access to photography and visual literacy. Her work has been featured internationally in numerous exhibitions and publications, including at Wayne State University (Detroit), University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame), Tyler Wood Gallery (New York and San Francisco), the University of the Arts (Philadelphia), Simone de Sousa Gallery (Detroit), N’Namdi Gallery (Detroit), Beyond Magazine (Germany), Detroit Sequential, among others. She was an Applebaum Emerging Artist Resident at Ponyride (Detroit) where she completed the collaborative public art project, “Graffiti Wanted,” to include residents in an open dialogue about governmental censorship, and is the recipient of awards including the Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Award from the San Francisco Foundation.


Professional Experience

As a photographic artist, Oakes’ work explores themes of connection and perception through the lens of time, loss, and memory. Her inquiries are rooted in an understanding of history as mutable as seen through our own remembered experiences. Oakes is also the founder of Darkroom Detroit, a non-profit organization to improve photography education, access, and visual literacy in Detroit.

Significant Publications, Presentations and Exhibitions

Applebaum Emerging Artist Resident, Ponyride, Detroit, MI, 2016
Public Art Project: “Graffiti Wanted,” Detroit, MI, 2016
Solo Exhibition: “Residual Loop,” Tyler Wood Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 2015
Murphy & Cadogan Contemporary Art Award, The San Francisco Foundation, San Francisco, CA, 2013
25 Under 25: Up-And-Coming American Photographers, Vol. 2. Brooklyn, New York: powerHouse Books and the Center for Documentary Studies, 2008