Giulio Di Sturco, Léonard Pongo, and Rose Marie Cromwell win the Getty Images Reportage Grants

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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.”

Lubumbashi, Congo DR, 13 September, 2013. A young man smiles at me in a house of the Ewa Bora neighbourhood. From The Uncanny © Léonard Pongo

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.”

“Laundry” Coco Solo, Panama. From King of Fish © Rose Marie Cromwell

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.

Gardens by the Bay, a nature park spanning 101 hectares of reclaimed land in central Singapore. More than 15,000 people are employed at Singapore Changi Airport, with a direct economic impact on Singapore of more than $4.5bn annually. The 47 hectare Airfreight Center has nine airfreight terminals with a combined yearly handling capacity of 3 million tons. More than 60 percent of the airport’s revenues come from non-aeronautical activities. Once its latest upgrade is complete, Singapore’s Changi Airport will have the capacity to handle 64 million passangers a year which is 16 times Singapore’s population. From Aerotropolis, The Way We Will Live Next © Giulio Di Sturco
Elderly woman looking out of the window of her new apartment for the first time. Major airports have become key nodes in global production and enterprise systems offering them speed, agility, and connectivity. They are also powerful engines of local economic development, attracting aviation-linked businesses of all types to their environs. These include, among others, time-sensitive manufacturing and distribution facilities; hotel, entertainment, retail, convention, trade and exhibition complexes; and office buildings that house air-travel intensive executives and professionals. From Aerotropolis, The Way We Will Live Next © Giulio Di Sturco
Bangkok International Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is the gateway for Southeast Asia. It has the world’s tallest free-standing control tower (434 feet), and the world’s fourth largest single-building airport terminal (6,060,000 square feet). Suvarnabhumi is the sixth busiest airport in Asia, and the busiest in the country, having handled 47.9 million passengers in 2011, and is also a major air cargo hub, with a total of 96 airlines. On social networks, Suvarnabhumi is the world’s second most popular place where Instagram photos were taken in 2011. From Aerotropolis, The Way We Will Live Next © Giulio Di Sturco
The market auction of Aalsmeer, at night, in the largest hangar in the world. In the “Wall Street of Flowers”, the money has the smell of the rose, the tulip and the onion. Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport, the global hub of plants, hosts in its basement the largest flower auction in the world. 20 million flowers pass each day from hand to hand – 70% of of the global market. Local tulips, of course, but also – and increasingly – seeds, bulbs and cuttings from Ethiopia, Kenya, Costa Rica…A global business that has become the trademark of the whole Amsterdam region, employing more than 30,000 people in this sector. From Aerotropolis, The Way We Will Live Next © Giulio Di Sturco
Bangkok International Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is the gateway for Southeast Asia. Global logistics giant DHL launched its 22-million-dollar hub at Bangkok’s new international airport as part of the company`s strategy to boost its growth in Southeast Asia. DHL’s 12,000 square meter (129,000 square feet) cargo facility at Suvarnabhumi is five times larger than its former facility at the old Don Muang airport and has the capacity to handle more than 23,000 pieces per hour, the company said. From Aerotropolis, The Way We Will Live Next © Giulio Di Sturco
Eglise Péniel Universelle, Kananga, Congo DR, 06 November, 2011. Pastor Clément blesses a woman during the morning cult at Église Peniel Universelles in Kananga city. From The Uncanny © Léonard Pongo
Kinshasa, Congo DR, 02 December, 2011. Pastor Elysée Arc-en-ciel’s reaches towards me to shake my hand and bless me during the evening cult in Kinshasa Commune. From The Uncanny © Léonard Pongo
Lubumbashi, Congo DR, 26 October, 2013. A street entertainer in the street of the Kenya nieghbourhood in Lubumbashi. From The Uncanny © Léonard Pongo
Between Kikwit and Tshikapa, Congo DR, 30 October, 2011. Our driver rests before deciding on the way to go next. From The Uncanny © Léonard Pongo
Kananga, Congo DR, 10 November, 2011. A young woman walks along the Kananga station train tracks. From The Uncanny © Léonard Pongo
“Pocho, age 13” Coco Solo, Panama. From King of Fish © Rose Marie Cromwell
“The Neighbor” Coco Solo, Panama. From King of Fish © Rose Marie Cromwell
From King of Fish © Rose Marie Cromwell
From King of Fish © Rose Marie Cromwell
From King of Fish © Rose Marie Cromwell
Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy