Set up 14 years ago, Getty Images’ Reportage Grant awards “front-line photojournalists from around the world for projects with a strong visual narrative”, aiming to help them pursue long-term documentary projects. This year, the three selected photographers have won with very different projects – Giulio Di Sturco with Aerotropolis, The Way We Will Live Next; Léonard Pongo with The Uncanny; and Rose Marie Cromwell with King of Fish.
Born in 1979 in Italy and now based between London and Bangkok, Di Sturco has worked all over the world on his project Aerotropolis, The Way We Will Live Next, which considers how cities built around and dependent on airports are driven by business needs and state control. “These cities capture the breadth of themes running through civilization, from the re-appropriation of the natural landscape to our unquestioning faith in technology, set in the backdrop of architecture refined in elegance and logic,” he writes.
“It is the post-modern city. A vision, or perhaps a mirage, it is a window of opportunities to solve the dilemma of modernity: reconciling economic development and sustainable growth.”
Born in 1988 in Belgium, Pongo’s series The Uncanny combines documentary, snapshot and diaristic styles, to create an atmospheric insight into daily life in the Congo. From following local TV news teams to covering weddings, church services and local events, it aims “to alter the usual narrative of the country by providing a better understanding of everyday life in the Congo”.
Graduating with a degree in fine arts from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2005, and with an MFA from Syracuse University in 2013, Rose Marie Cromwell is now based in Miami, where she makes both photography and video art. Exploring the effects of globalisation on human interaction and social politics, Cromwell is a co-founder of Cambio Creativo (an alternative arts education initiative based in Panama), and a member of Estudio Nuboso (an arts and science knowledge sharing platform based in Panama).
She shot King of Fish in Coco Solo, a small community in Panama whose residents fought for years to be relocated. “After years of fruitless meetings with housing authorities, some community members resorted to frequently closing the road that leads to Coco Solo and the port terminals,” Cromwell explains. “These protests sometimes led to violent clashes with police.
“Eventually the Panamanian government sold the Coco Solo land to one of the port authorities, which then began to lobby for relocation. Under pressure from the port, the government finally began building a new housing project for Coco Solo residents in nearby Buena Vista. After years of stalled construction, it felt like a miracle when the last families were relocated from Coco Solo to Buena Vista.”
Over 450 people applied for the grants this year, with the winners selected by a judging panel comprised of: David Guttenfelder, photographer, National Geographic; Zara Katz, independent photo editor; Wayne Lawrence, documentary photographer; Amy Pereira, independent photo editor and curator; and Vaughn Wallace, senior photo editor, National Geographic.
This year the judges also picked out two other photographers for Honourable Mentions – Venetia Menzies, for her project on the transformation of nomadic life in Algeria; and Heba Khamis on the hidden practice of breast ironing in Cameroon.