The W. Eugene Smith Fund Announces Shortlist For 2019 Grants

NEW YORK, NY – July 23, 2019 – The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is pleased to announce the list of finalists in the 40th annual W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography. Finalists have also been named in the Smith Fund’s 2nd annual Student category and 23rd annual Howard Chapnick Grant, which is awarded to an individual for leadership in any field ancillary to photojournalism, such as picture editing, research, education and management. Since the Fund’s inception in 1979, it has awarded over $1 million to photographers whose past work and proposed projects follow the tradition of W. Eugene Smith’s career as a photographic essayist. 

Finalists were selected from 531 entries representing more than 50 countries across the globe. Each finalist is eligible for more than $55,000 in grants and fellowships, including the $40,000 Smith Grant.

The work from grant and fellowship finalists will be presented during the annual award ceremony at the SVA Theater in New York City on Thursday evening, October 17, 2019. Award recipients will be announced that evening. The event is open to the public and free to attend but RSVP is required.

“This year marks the largest number of entries submitted for our grants and fellowships since the Fund’s inception in 1979,” said Phillip Block, president of the W. Eugene Smith Fund. “But what is especially rewarding to us is that entries were submitted from the most diverse backgrounds and cultures in the history of the fund. Thanks to partnerships with international organizations that reach photographers in every corner of the world, we have been able to provide a platform for all photographers, near and far, to tell their stories.” 

The following is a list of finalists for the W. Eugene Smith Grant, Howard Chapnick Grant, and the Smith Fund Student grant. Recipients of each respective grant and fellowship will be announced during the annual awards presentations at the SVA Theater in New York City on Thursday evening, October 17.

2019 W. Eugene Smith Memorial Grant Finalists

Lalo de Almeida: “Amazonian Dystopia” (Brazil)

Mary F. Calvert: “Dying for Justice: Suicide & Military” (USA)

Alessandro Cinque: “Espinar, Broken Land” (Italy)

Nadia Shira Cohen: “God’s Honey” (Italy)

Debi Cornwall” “Necessary Fictions” (United States)

Sian Davey: “A Poverty State of Mind” (United Kingdom)

Matt Eich: “The Invisible Yoke” (United States)

Pierre Faure: “Peripheral France” (France)

Kirsten Luce: “As Above, So Below” (United States)

Yael Martinez: “The House That Bleeds” (Mexico)

Laura El Tantaway: “I’ll Die for You” (United Kingdom)

Ian Willms: “As Long as the Sun Shines” (Canada)

 

2019 Howard Chapnick Grant

Svetlana Bachevanova: “Foto Evidence” (United States)

Alicia Hansen: “NYC SALT” (United States)

Benjamin Petit: “Dysturb” (United States)

 

2019 W. Eugene Smith Student Grant Finalists

Manu Ferneini: “A Bigger Room” (Lebanon)

Maximilian Mann: “Lake Urmia” (Germany)

Fawaz Oyedji: “Yours in Arms” (Nigeria)

Markus Seibel: “Europe’s Fall” (Germany)

 

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is supported by generous contributions from The Incite Project, Herb Ritts Foundation, Canon USA, and The Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation.  Additional support is provided by Aperture, Brilliant Graphics, Center for Creative Photography (CCP), the International Center of Photography, MediaStorm, Photo District News (PDN), Pro Photo Daily, School of Visual Arts MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department, School of Visual Arts MPS Digital Photography, and Synergy Communications.

  

Media Contact:

Lou Desiderio

Synergy Communications, Inc.

Tel: 917-627-0912

Email: lou@pr-synergy.com

Project descriptions and image portfolios from all entry finalists are available upon request.

W. Eugene Smith Fund Increases 2019 Smith Grant to $40,000 to Commemorate 40th Anniversary and Celebrate More Than $1 Million in Grants Since Its Founding

Board of Trustees Committed to Providing Photographers with Funding to Complete Important Works

New York, NY – February 26, 2019 – To commemorate its 40th anniversary, the W. Eugene Smith Fund announced it is increasing its 2019 Smith Grant to $40,000, a $5,000 increase from last year. The Fund’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the one-time increase as part of a year-long celebration of its milestone, which includes the presentation of more than $1 million to photographers since 1979. The Smith Fund was created in honor of legendary documentary photographer Eugene Smith, who died October 15, 1978.

Each year, The Smith Fund presents more than $50,000 in grants, fellowships, and special awards to photographers who use exemplary and compelling photojournalism to address an issue related to the human condition; social change; humanitarian concern; armed conflict; or cultural, social, environmental, and/or political significance.

“For 40 years, the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund has championed the causes of documentary photographers around the world and created a platform where their important work, in the name of humanistic photography, can be witnessed by millions worldwide,” said Phil Block, newly-elected president of the Fund’s Board of Trustees. “Thanks to our corporate donors, we remain committed to providing photographers with the financial support they need to complete their important projects.”

The Smith Fund is also accepting applications for several other grants, fellowships, and special awards this year including the 23rd annual Howard Chapnick Grant, which honors an individual for his or her leadership in any field ancillary to photojournalism; the 2nd annual Eugene Smith Student Grant, which is open to all collegiate-level students; and several fellowships and special awards presented to other applicants at the judge’s discretion.

Photographers and other industry professionals interested in submitting applications for these grants (or interested in learning more about the grants and fellowship), should visit SmithFund.org. The deadline for submitting applications to all grants, fellowships, and special awards is April 20, 2019.

Recipients will be announced during a special ceremony in New York City in October. Additional information about the awards ceremony will be announced shortly. Attendance will be free and open to the public.


The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is supported by generous contributions from The Incite Project, Herb Ritts Foundation, Canon USA, and The Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation.  Additional support is provided by Aperture, Brilliant Graphics, Center for Creative Photography (CCP), the International Center of Photography, MediaStorm, Photo District News (PDN), School of Visual Arts MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department, School of Visual Arts MPS Digital Photography, and Synergy Communications.

Jim Hughes: An Apprecation

Jim Hughes in the  Camera 35  office in New York, 1973. Photo by David Lyman.

Jim Hughes in the Camera 35 office in New York, 1973. Photo by David Lyman.

Upon hearing of Jim Hughes’s sudden passing on December 18 in Maine, I immediately felt that the world of photography had lost a giant, someone who as a magazine editor helped to define the field in a previous, pre-digital era, and who as a biographer did much to define the life of one of the most outstanding photographers of the last century.

And, as one does in grief, I began to think of the time that I spent with Jim, particularly at Camera Arts magazine. Jim had founded the magazine in 1980, and by the time I joined the small staff two years later it had already become the first photography magazine to win the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. I had left a position as picture editor of the New York Times Magazine for the chance to become executive editor of a much smaller publication, but one that valued photography in all its manifestations. And I left the Times for the chance to work with Jim, a veteran editor of extraordinary integrity and judgment, who cared deeply not only about the photographs but also about the people who made the images, and the sophisticated design and writing that is necessary to contextualize them.

Fifteen years before, Jim had begun as editor of Camera 35 magazine, where he published work from projects by photographers such as Larry Clark (“Tulsa”), Ralph Gibson (“The Somnambulist”), and Aileen and W. Eugene Smith (“Minamata”), all before these images were widely seen and later appreciated as landmark books. These were the days before the explosion of all things photographic – exhibitions, festivals, books, print sales and schools — when work in color was still relatively rare and there were not, in this analog time, the billions of images being uploaded daily. In fact, the year that I joined Camera Arts magazine was when National Geographic’seditors digitally manipulated a cover photograph of the pyramids of Giza, which would usher in the profoundly different moment in which we now live.

As one way to remember Jim I randomly picked up a March 1983 issue of Camera Arts from my bookshelves, with a color photograph of Marlon Brando by Mary Ellen Mark on its cover. I soon found Jim’s editor’s note in which he comments on the work of Eugene Richards (the magazine contained Richards’s black-and-white photographic essay, “Vital Signs,” on the functioning of an emergency room in Denver) in relation to that of W. Eugene Smith, the photographer who would become the subject of the towering 1989 biography that Jim and his wife Evelyn worked on for twelve years, W. Eugene Smith: Shadow and Substance, The Life and Work of an American Photographer. “Smith tempered his truth with beauty,” Jim wrote in the editor’s note, comparing the two photographers. “Richards is relentless, he gives no quarter, and offers his viewer no relief. At their best, however, both deal in primal symbols, seem destined to stalk their images where even angels fear to tread, and are willing, perhaps driven, to pay a price for their respective ideals.”

Jim and Evelyn Hughes, 1981. Photo by Bill Jay.

Jim and Evelyn Hughes, 1981. Photo by Bill Jay.

Jim goes on to describe having previously sent his own copy of Richards’s self-published book, Dorchester Days, to Smith in Arizona, where the older photographer was beginning a new career as a teacher after recovering from a stroke. Smith then is said to have called Richards in the middle of the night, leading Richards to ask Jim if he could set up a meeting between the two. Soon Smith came to New York, and Jim invited them both and a number of others to a dinner in a Brooklyn restaurant. Apparently the dinner was not a success for the two Genes to get to know each other, with Smith tired, speaking little, and seemingly depressed. About a month later, after returning to Arizona, Smith died, not quite sixty years old, reportedly with only $18 in his bank account.

Eugene Richards’s work on the emergency room published in that issue of Camera Arts had been supported by only the second grant that had been awarded by the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund in Humanistic Photography. The Fund had been set up soon after Smith’s death in 1978 by Jim Hughes, John Morris, Howard Chapnick, Marty Forscher and Arthur Soybel, the initial money coming from personal contributions. When I joined them on the Board just a few years later it was a bare-bones operation, devoted to passing on to others the passionate legacy of a photographer who had tried throughout his lifetime to make the world a better place. Now, thirty years after Smith’s death, it continues funding photographers with various strategies in a humanistic tradition.

Jim, in a 1998 interview with John Paul Caponigro, summed up his way of working quite cogently: “I don’t think photographs can be verbalized very easily, or very effectively. I think a lot of it is unnecessary critical jargon created by people who need to make work for themselves. A lot of it is written by people at the university levels who are justifying their existence, and it goes a little bit too far. Obviously a picture can speak for itself. Some amount of reinterpretation is useful, but it gets to a point where you can kill the picture by thinking and talking about it too much, as you can do with a lot of acts that we do in our lives if they become unnatural or strained. I would much prefer not to talk about photographs and I try not to.”

And Jim continues, referencing his own work as a photographer as well: “What I talk about, what I write about mostly, and you’re doing the same thing, is the lives of the photographers who make the photographs. I think that’s much more important to understand anyway. It’s pretty easy to say that work needs to stand by itself. And it should. But I think it also helps to understand the structure on which the photographs are built. That’s what a life does. I think photography is one of the few arts that comes out of a life being lived. That’s what my pictures are. I’m living my life and I have a camera and I put it to my eye once in a while.”

Jim was a friend, a mentor, an inspiration, with his own enormous list of accomplishments “that comes out of a life being lived.”

Fred Ritchin
Dean Emeritus, ICP   
Former member of the Board of Trustees of the W. Eugene Smith Fund

Jim Hughes In Memoriam

Jim Hughes was larger than life regarding the Smith Fund. As one of the original founders of the Fund he had shaped its vision and character. And because of him I agreed to become president of the Fund. He made those years I chaired the Fund possible and made it all work successfully. His advice was invaluable. I loved him, his idiosyncrasies — one most charming, do not call in the morning before 11AM, anytime at night was just fine. He was passionate about how the judging for the recipient should be conducted, continually rewriting the rules to be followed, that judging should occur twice, which made it different from other Grants. Some might call him opinionated, and perhaps he was, but he made the Fund the premier Grant in photography which it still is today. He will be sorely missed.

Helen Marcus
President Emerita
Eugene Smith Memorial Fund

2018 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography Presented to Mark Peterson for Exploring Modern-Day American Confederacy and White Nationalism

New York, NY – October 17, 2018 – The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is pleased to announce that Mark Peterson is the recipient of this year’s $35,000 Grant in Humanistic Photography for his project, The Past is Never Dead. Selected from a talented group of nine finalists,* Mr. Peterson looks at the organizations, political parties and candidates bringing the message of white supremacy to the halls of various state and local governments. The Eugene Smith Grant will help Peterson further explore the social life of the resurgent Confederacy, the removal of Confederate statues, names on schools and streets, and record the process of the long-term impact of these initiatives. Mr. Peterson’s project was selected among 314 entries from 53 countries, the most ever submitted to the Smith Grant since its inception in 1980.

The annual grant was presented to Mr. Peterson during the organization’s 39th annual awards ceremony at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) Theater in New York City Wednesday evening. “I am truly honored to be this year’s recipient of the Smith Grant. Smith’s pictures are so powerful and his passion so real that he has been a great influence for my work,” Mark Peterson told attendees of the annual award ceremony Wednesday evening. “I hope my pictures shine a light on the civil war in this country. The Smith Grant will help me continue this work as I look at the communities affected by this divide.”

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is presented annually to photographers whose work is judged by a panel of experts to be in the best tradition of the compassionate dedication exhibited by W. Eugene Smith during his 45-year career in photojournalism. The grant, along with fellowships and other special awards, enable recipients to undertake and complete worthy photojournalistic projects.

“The judges were extremely impressed with the urgency of Mr. Peterson’s work, and his commitment and courage in revealing a difficult and enormously relevant subject in society today,” explained Stephen Frailey, Smith Fund board member and the Chair of this year’s Smith Grant adjudication committee. “Participating as a judge in this competition gave us tremendous insight to the range of narratives from around the world by so many remarkable photographers. The passion and intelligence each one brings to their respective picture stories is quite evident, and the strength and conviction of work submitted was inspirational.” Joining Stephen Frailey on the adjudication committee were Jody Quon, Photography Director at New York Magazine and Azu Nwagbogu, Founder and Director of African Artists’ Foundations (AAF) based in Nigeria.

*Project backgrounds and images from all finalists are available upon request.

Additional Awards

Photographer Sarah Blesener (U.S.) received a $5,000 Smith Fund Fellowship for her project, Beckon Us from Home, which looks at how the interplay of religion, love of country, and military-style training in youth education is being implemented at patriotic camps and clubs across the United States. Photographed in twelve different states, Beckon Us From Home is an ongoing photography project investigating how the United States instills patriotism and passes down traditions to new generations.

The judges also presented special awards to Monika Bulaj (Poland) and Enayat Asadi(Iran) for their projects, Broken Songlines || Three Manuscripts, and Rising from the Ashes of War, respectively. Sponsored by The Philip and Edith Leonian Foundation, the $2,500 awards are presented to Smith Grant finalists whose works the judges deemed as “exceptional and worthy of recognition.”

The following photographers were recognized as finalists for this year’s W. Eugene Smith Grant:

Mary Calvert: “Defending the Forces: Reforming America’s Military Justice System” (U.S.)

Giancarlo Ceraudo: “Destino Final: The History of Dictatorship in Argentina” (Italy)

Antonio Gibotta: “Stuck in the Cold of Belgrade” (Italy)

Rafael Lerma: “In The Midst Of Violent Change: Covering The Philippine Drug War” (Philippines)

Stephanie Sinclair: “Child Marriage in the United States” (United States)

Eugene Smith Student Grant

Marwan Bassiouni (Swiss/U.S./Egyptian), a recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (Netherlands), received the $4,000 grant for New Dutch Views, a statement that challenges the idea that there is only one national identity and that Islam is separate from The Netherlands. By photographing the Dutch landscape from inside Dutch mosques, Bassiouni invites viewers to literally step inside the perspective of a Muslim person and rediscover his or her own landscape.

“I feel overwhelmed, excited and honored to have been selected to receive this prestigious award, Marwan Bassiouni said. “What especially touched me was the jury’s comment that my work presented ‘a new paradigm in documentary photography for social change.’ This is the first time I have been recognized for taking my own path when making documentary photographs.”

“The Smith Fund board overwhelmingly voted to create a special grant that would encourage the conviction that photography is a potent vehicle for social change, and for an individual understanding and interpretation of complex cultural issues. The future of the medium is in their hands,” explained Stephen Frailey, Smith board member and sponsor of the student grant.

Howard Chapnick Grant

This year’s $5,000 Howard Chapnick Grant was presented to Pete Brook for his project, A History of Prison Photography, Written by Prisoners. The grant is awarded to an individual for their leadership in any field ancillary to photojournalism, such as picture editing, research, education and management. For more than a decade, Pete Brook has written about and curated images of mass incarceration in the U.S. For this project, Brook is teaching the history of photography to 28 men in San Quentin State Prison, California.

“Together, we’re analyzing scores of existing images of lock-ups. In accumulation, we’re creating a prisoner-centric visual critique of the Prison Industrial Complex.” says Brook. “It’s an honor to be a recipient of the Howard Chapnick Grant, an award that has championed people-focused pedagogies. I stand in solidarity with prisoners, their families and returning citizens, but I do not have their experience and insights. They are the experts. If, as a society, we’re to halt the failings and abuses of mass incarceration we need to hear prisoners’ voices.”

“Pete Brook and the incarcerated students he has enlisted in this project are creating a history of photography within the U.S. prison system and a curriculum of study that has never been done before,” said Brian Storm, founder of MediaStorm, Smith Fund board member, and Chair of this year’s adjudication committee for the Chapnick Grant. “The research and production by Brook on this topic are absolutely fascinating and represents the very essence of the Chapnick Grant.”

Jodi Kantor, best-selling author of The Obamas and prize-winning investigative reporter for The New York Times, presented this year’s keynote during the award ceremony on October 17. Along with Megan Twohey and their colleagues, Kantor broke the story of decades of sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Their work, which won the Pulitzer Prize for public service, helped ignite the #MeToo movement, shift attitudes, and spur new laws, policies, and standards of accountability around the globe.

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is supported by generous contributions from The Incite ProjectHerb Ritts FoundationCanon USA, The Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation and Carla Shen.  Additional support is provided by ApertureBrilliant GraphicsCenter for Creative Photography (CCP), the International Center of PhotographyMediaStormPhoto District News (PDN)the School of Visual Arts MFA Photography, Video and Related Media DepartmentThe School of Visual Arts Master of Professional Studies in Digital Photography and Synergy Communications.

For more information about the W. Eugene Smith Fund, please visit SmithFund.org.

#  # #

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Project backgrounds and photographs for all award recipients and finalists from the Smith Grant, Smith Student Grant, and Chapnick Grant, are available upon request.

Project backgrounders and portfolios for Smith Grant recipients and Chapnick Grant recipient can be accessed via Dropbox.

 

Media Contact:

Lou Desiderio

Synergy Communications, Inc.

Tel: 917-627-0912

Email: lou@pr-synergy.com


You Are Cordially Invited to the 38th Annual W. Eugene Smith Grant Ceremony

The 38th Annual W. Eugene Smith Grants In Humanistic Photography & 22nd Annual Howard Chapnick Grant For The Advancement Of Photojournalism

Three generations of coal miners 1950 © W. Eugene Smith / CCP

Three generations of coal miners 1950 © W. Eugene Smith / CCP

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
The School of Visual Arts (SVA) Theatre
New York, NY 10011
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
(Doors open at 6:15 p.m.)

Where: The School of Visual Arts Theatre
333 West 23rd St.
New York, NY 10011

Keynote Presentation by:

Jodi Kantor
Jodi Kantor is a best-selling author (The Obamas) and prize-winning investigative reporter for The New York Times. Along with Megan Twohey and their colleagues, Kantor broke the story of decades of sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Their work, which won the Pulitzer Prize for public service, helped ignite the #MeToo movement, shift attitudes, and spur new laws, policies, and standards of accountability around the globe..

Ceremony RSVP:

Please RSVP here — First Come, First Served

FREE Admission
Seating is Limited
Doors open at 6:15 p.m.

The program includes presentations of photo essays by this year’s finalists, fellowship and grant recipients.

Announcement and presentation of
The 2018 W. Eugene Smith Grant of $35,000
The 2018 W. Eugene Smith Fellowship of $5,000
Two 2018 Smith Finalist Awards sponsored by the Leonian Foundation of $2500
The 2018 Howard Chapnick Grant of $5,000
The 2018 Student Smith Award of $4,000

Reception to Follow

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Grant, selected from over 300 worldwide submissions, is presented annually to photographers whose work carries forward the tradition practiced by Eugene Smith during his 45-year photojournalism career. The grant enables recipients to undertake and complete worthy photojournalistic projects.

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is supported by generous contributions from The Incite Project, Carla Shen, The Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, Herb Ritts Foundation and Canon USA. Additional support is provided by, Aperture, Brilliant Graphics, Center for Creative Photography (CCP), the International Center of Photography, MediaStorm, Photo District News (PDN), the School of Visual Arts MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department, the School of Visual Arts Masters in Digital Photography and Synergy Communications Inc.

RSVP

Please RSVP through eventbrite

A Call For Entries 2018


W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Announces 2018 Call for Entries:
Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography and Chapnick Grant for Industry Achievement

39th annual memorial fund provides $35,000 grant to photographers who display emotional, humanistic approach to storytelling

New York, NY – February14, 2018 – The W. Eugene Smith Fund announced it is now accepting applications for its 39th annual Grant in Humanistic Photography. Since presenting its first grant in 1980, the Fund has awarded over one million dollars to photographers who have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to documenting the human condition in the spirit of Smith’s concern and compassion. The Smith Fund will present one recipient with a $35,000 grant; Fellowship awards will be dispersed at the discretion of the jury.

In addition, the Smith Fund is now accepting entries for the 22nd annual Howard Chapnick Grant, which honors an individual for his or her leadership in any field ancillary to photojournalism. Photographers and other industry professionals interested in submitting applications for either of the grants (or interested in learning more about the grants and fellowship), should visit SmithFund.org. The deadline for submitting applications to either grant is May 31, 2018.

The Smith Fund is also announcing a new $4,000 award for students. Additional details about the student award will be published in the coming weeks.

Grants, Fellowships, and Awards will be presented at an annual ceremony at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) Theater in New York City on October 17. Attendance is free and open to the public.

About The Smith Fund Grant
The Smith Grant is given annually by The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund to photographers whose work is judged by a panel of experts to be the most impactful in highlighting an important humanistic story or issue, in keeping with the tradition of the great photo essays created by W. Eugene Smith during his 45-year career in photojournalism. The grant, which honors the legendary photo-essayist, enables recipients to undertake and complete their proposed photojournalistic and documentary projects. Past recipients have included Jane Evelyn Atwood, Sebastião Salgado, Darcy Padilla, Lu Guang, Peter van Agtmael, and Eli Reed.

“We continue to be inspired and overwhelmed by the quality of work submitted by photographers all over the world in the name of humanistic photography,” said Lauren Wendle, president of the Fund’s Board of Trustees. “Last year’s recipient, Daniel Castro Garcia, is a great example of the profound documentary stories being told in photographs and the significance the Smith Fund has established internationally.” His project, Foreigner: I Peri N’Tera (a Sicilian colloquialism that translates as “feet on the ground”), is part of an ongoing study of the migrant/refugee crisis in Europe (focusing on Sicily, Italy) and captures the lives of those who survived the long journey across the Sahara Desert and Mediterranean Sea.

Each year, the Board of Trustees appoints a three-member international jury that meets twice during the adjudication process. Finalists are selected based on the substantive, photographic, and intellectual merits of their project. They are then asked to submit a comprehensive electronic portfolio, and write, if necessary, a more detailed and focused proposal to answer questions by the jury regarding their project.

 

The 22nd Annual Howard Chapnick Grant

Applications for the annual Howard Chapnick Grant are also open through May 31, 2018. The grant is presented to an individual for his or her leadership in any field ancillary to photojournalism, such as picture editing, research, education and management. This grant is not intended for photographers, but for champions of photography. It was established in 1996 to honor the memory of Howard Chapnick who led the Black Star photo agency, and to acknowledge his enormous contribution to photography. The annual $5,000 grant may be used by the recipient to finance a range of qualified undertakings, which might include a program of further education, special research, a long-term sabbatical project, or an internship to work with a noteworthy group or individual. This grant is not for the creation or production of photographs.

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is supported by generous contributions from The Incite ProjectHerb Ritts FoundationCanon USA and the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation. Additional support is provided by ApertureBrilliant GraphicsCenter for Creative Photography (CCP)International Center of Photography (ICP)MediaStormPhoto District News (PDN), School of Visual Arts (SVA) BFA Photography, MFA Photography, Video and Related Media departmentand Synergy Communications.

“Awarding these grants each year is made possible through industry-wide support and by private donors,” Lauren Wendle explains. “As it is important that we continue the funding which allows these photographers to share their stories with the world, we invite any who are philanthropically minded and share our interest in this special form of photography, to contact us. The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is a not-for-profit corporation qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to the Smith Fund are tax-deductible.”

Photographers interested in learning more or applying for either grant should visit SmithFund.org.

Lou Desiderio
Synergy Communications, Inc.
Tel: 917-627-0912
Email: lou@pr-synergy.com

Daniel Castro Garcia Receives $35,000 Grant From W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography for his work on immigration into Sicily

The 2017 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography given to Daniel Castro Garcia for his work on immigration into Sicily

Fellowships to Edmund Clark and Alex Majoli
The Howard Chapnick Grant goes to Michael Shaw

New York, NY – October 18, 2017 – The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is pleased to announce that Daniel Castro Garcia is the recipient of the 2017 Grant in Humanistic Photography for his project, Foreigner: I Peri N’Tera — a Sicilian colloquialism that translates as “feet on the ground.” Selected from a talented group of 12 finalists, Foreigner is the second chapter of Garcia’s ongoing project on the migrant/refugee crisis in Europe, focusing on Sicily, Italy and capturing the lives of those who survived the long journey across the Sahara Desert and Mediterranean Sea. The project takes a hard look at unemployment, exploitative labor, and the difficult process of receiving documentation in a new land. The Smith Grant will allow Mr. Garcia to continue his project with subsequent chapters set to explore the psychological impact of these journeys and the struggles of integrating into new communities throughout Europe.

The annual grant, which was increased to $35,000 by the Smith Fund’s board of directors this year, was presented to Mr. Garcia during the organization’s 38th annual awards ceremony at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) Theater in New York City Wednesday evening. “Receiving the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Grant in Humanistic Photography presents me with the most humbling and extraordinary achievement in my professional career,” he told attendees at the SVA Theater. “This support and infrastructure for my project is invaluable and it will enable the continuation of a project I believe can make a positive contribution to individual lives and a wider audience. I am incredibly grateful and moved to be given this vote of confidence and support and I will endeavor to respect the standards and expectations of both previous recipients and the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund organization.”

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is presented annually to photographers whose work is judged by a panel of experts to be in the best tradition of the compassionate dedication exhibited by W. Eugene Smith during his 45-year career in photojournalism. The grant enables recipients to undertake and complete worthy photojournalistic projects.

“The judges were struck by Mr. Garcia’s humanism which is appropriate for a grant that honors the legacy of W. Eugene Smith,” explained W.M. Hunt, longtime Smith Fund board member and the Chair of this year’s adjudication committee. “The pleasure of judging the Smith Fund is the strength and range of the work submitted. The judges were aware that having 12 finalists would be a bit unwieldy, but they wanted to ask questions and consider each of the proposals for a longer time,” Mr. Hunt continued. “They are delighted with the selection of Daniel Castro Garcia as the $35,000 Smith Grant Recipient and felt his work was blessed with clarity and wonder.”

Garcia undertook his Foreigner project in May, 2015, one month after reading about two boats that capsized in the Mediterranean Sea with an estimated 1,000 people dead. As select British media outlets used adjectives such as “cockroaches” to describe those who were onboard the vessels, Garcia made an unbreakable commitment to himself and this project, driven by the desire and belief that proximity and engagement with people could provide answers that often go unheard. As the son of migrants himself, he did not feel represented by the way the images of this crisis were used by the media, nor did he agree with the tone of the narrative being used to discuss migration as a solely negative issue. Feeling that much of the image-making and reporting were questionable, he set out to determine the truth and share his findings through his photographs and written word.

Additional Awards
Photographers Edmund Clark and Alex Majoli were also honored, each receiving a $5,000 Smith Fund Fellowship. Clark’s project “The Unseen Consequences and Networks of Air Strikes and Drone Warfare” is intended as a multi-media investigation of the expanded use of air-strikes and drone weapons as the primary strategy of the on-going American-led War of Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

Majoli’s project, “Titanic,” deals with the fragmentation and polarization of Europe’s identity as it grapples to come to terms with the realization that it can no longer isolate itself from the crisis unfolding just across the Mediterranean. His photographic approach intentionally makes it difficult to separate fact from fiction.

“The $5,000 Smith Fellowship is important, of course, but given at the jury’s discretion,” Bill Hunt explained. “Two fellows were selected for recognition. The Jury petitioned the Board to request that both receive the $5,000 Fellowships rather than split it equally as in the past. It is the first time in the Fund’s history.”

Judges for this year’s grant and fellowship included W.M. Hunt (USA), Mitra Abbaspour (USA) and Enrica Vigano (Italy). Mr. Hunt is a New York City-based collector, former-dealer, writer, teacher and longtime member of the Smith Fund Board of Directors. Mitra Abbaspour is an art historian specializing in the history of photography and art of the modern and contemporary Middle East. Ms. Vigano is a curator of photography from Milano, Italy. In 2009 she founded Admira, an organization specializing in cultural events and traveling exhibitions in the field of photography including “W. Eugene Smith: More Real Than Reality”.

Recipients of the 2017 W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund grant and fellowships were selected from hundreds of submissions received from 51 countries. Recent recipients of the grant include Justyna Mielnikiewicz (2016), Matt Black (2015), Joseph Sywenkyj (2014), Robin Hammond (2013), and Peter van Agtmael (2012). A complete listing of recipients can be viewed at SmithFund.org.

This year’s Howard Chapnick Grant was presented to Michael Shaw, founder and publisher of Reading the Pictures, a web-based educational and publishing organization dedicated to visual culture, visual literacy and media literacy through the analysis of news, documentary and social media images. The grant is awarded to an individual for his or her leadership in any field ancillary to photojournalism, such as picture editing, research, education and management.

The Reading the Pictures Salon is a documentary research project and online webcast analyzing the visual representation of major social issues. The project, “U.S. Media’s Visual Representation of the US/Mexico Border Wall,” focuses on how that controversial barrier has been characterized. It will also explore how photographers and the media are using imagery to capture the political narrative, inject opinions, or to outright challenge the wall from a human rights and social justice perspective.

“I am honored to receive the Howard Chapnick grant on behalf of myself and Reading the Pictures,” Mr. Shaw said. “I never had the privilege to meet Mr. Chapnick, but I greatly appreciate his legacy. He was dedicated to photographers, to developing their vision, and to capturing deeper truths. We feel his conscience is in our work. Chapnick might have been surprised by how much photography and visual culture have taken off, and now permeates daily life. But I’m certain the commitment to understanding that imagery, and helping people read it, is a mission he would have thoroughly recognized,” Shaw added.

“Michael Shaw and his team at Reading the Pictures have brought deep analysis to daily news photography,” said Brian Storm, founder of MediaStorm, Smith Fund board member, and Chair of this year’s adjudication committee for the Chapnick Grant. “Their online salon brings together experts and practitioners in an effort to raise visual literacy.”

Lynsey Addario, the famed New York Times and Pulitzer Prize documentary photographer delivered the evening’s keynote address. Ms. Addario’s best-selling book, “It’s What I Do,” is currently being produced as a motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Jennifer Lawrence as Addario.

The Smith Fund took a moment during the ceremony to recognize and pay tribute to two members of the journalism community who passed away this year:

A recipient of the Smith Fund Grant in 2004, Stanley Greene became one of the leading international conflict photographers of his generation. A founding member of the photographer-owned agency Noor Image he was highly regarded and liked by his peers. He succumbed after a long battle with liver cancer, last May, at age 68.

A legendary photo editor and co-founder of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, John G. Morris was an amazing globe-trotting centenarian. He passed away in July. “A humanist and a pacifist, he was photo-journalism’s tireless defender and champion, and possibly its most exceptional chronicler and historian. But most of all, he was our friend,” said Smith Fund board member, Robert Pledge.

Sponsors
The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is supported by generous contributions from The Incite ProjectHerb Ritts FoundationPhillip and Edith Leonian Foundation and Canon USA.

Additional support is provided by ApertureBrilliant GraphicsCenter for Creative Photography (CCP)the International Center of Photography (ICP), MediaStormPhoto District News (PDN),  the School of Visual Arts BFA Photography, MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department, and Synergy Communications Inc.