“Exposure means jobs for photographers, it’s as simple as that,” says Luca Desienna, photographer, director of Gomma Books, and founder of the Gomma Photography Grant. But lucky for photographers, exposure isn’t all that the grant offers – the 2016 winner stands to pick up a €1000 award plus a host of other benefits, and there are also cash prizes for the second and third places and a free BJP subscription for the Honourable Mention winner.
But if it’s exposure you’re after, the Gomma Grant also gives you the opportunity to get in front of an international jury, which this year includes: Tim Clark, founder of 1000 Words magazine; Matt Shonfeld, executive director of Institute; Michael Itkoff, co-founder of Daylight Books; Nobuhiro Kobayashi, international manager at Antenne Books; Yumi Goto, founder of Reminders Project; plus BJP’s Diane Smyth. Previous Gomma Grant winners and shortlisted photographers include emerging photographers such as Michele Sibiloni and Magdalena Switek Wywrot – Sibiloni has since published his first book, and Wywrot has gone on to take the cover of VICE Magazine.
“We firmly believe that taking part in a photo contest is not only about winning – having your work seen and judged by some of the most influential editors is already an achievement,” says Desienna. “And, whether a submitter gets shortlisted or not, editors in the jury might contact them because they see potential.”
The Gomma Grant was set up in 2014 and was initially free; in the face of overwhelming interest, the organisers decided to establish an external jury (which changes each year), award three winners instead of just one, and add an entry fee. Entry now costs €20 per submission. “This way we can cover the costs and cash grants,” says Desienna. “Nowadays a lot of photographers are tired of and turned off by photo contests, but they are still one of the best ways to get your work known at an international level.
“We are aware that there are hundreds of photography contents out there; Gomma Grant is not trying to become a worldwide, massive photo contest, we are a small company and we intend to remain as such,” he continues. “If photo contests were shops, imagine Gomma Grant is a bijou, quality-focused collectible shop, which looks out for consistency, personality and courage. Our aim is to spot new talents and support them thoroughly.”
For more information, and to enter Gomma Grant, visit www.gommagrant.com. The closing date for this year is 31 October.