“It’s a bit hard to find words for this – You don’t look Native to me won the PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant,” says Maria Sturm. “I feel exponentially happy and glad to be sharing the list with other women photographers whose work I admire.
Sturm has won the prize in a strong year for the PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant, with the 31 shortlisted photographers including Magnum Photos’ Diana Markosian, Sputnik Photos’ Karolina Gembara, and Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize-winner Alice Mann. But her long-term project You don’t look Native to me, which shows young Native Americans in Pembroke, North Carolina impressed the judges with its sensitive approach to its subjects.
“There is a saying that ‘a photographer doesn’t take the photo, it is given by the sitter’ and this is true in each of Maria Sturm’s frames, which are juxtaposed between moments and the trust that she has built with those that she has captured,” commented Aïda Muluneh, a photographer, filmmaker and curator, and one of the judges. “In essence, her project You don’t look native to me offers us a glimpse into a long-term project that portrays a community at the crossroads of the past and the future.”
Storm, who was born in Romania and grew up in Germany, wins £5000 in cash plus publication in YET Magazine, a projection at Photo Vogue Festival 2018, and exposure on the PHmuseum channels. Read more about You don’t look Native to me in BJP’s article: www.1854.photography/2018/12/maria-sturm-native/
“The nicest part of all is the support from fellow photographers and friends, I felt so warm reading through all the message they have sent me,” Sturm told BJP. “I was also very touched by what Aïda said in her statement about choosing the work – Aïda has curated the Addis Foto Fest, which includes You don’t look Native to me and is now on show (I wish I could be there).
“I’m really thankful to everybody who opened their doors and spend time with me [while shooting You don’t look Native to me], especially Jonathan and Emilee Jacobs, Kim Pevia, Kayla Oxendine, John Whittemore, Reggie and Mescal Brewer, Makael Turner, Emmanuel Jones, Nakoma Maiden, Tristin Clark, Kaya Littleturtle and Dr. Jay Hansford Vest. I wish I can see you again soon.”
Second prize went to Sinead Kennedy for the series To Set Fire to the Sea, which explores the Australian Government’s policy of mandatory and indefinite detention for asylum seekers. “Sinead’s work documents a subject that brings with it many harrowing human stories,” commented Karen McQuaid, senior curator at The Photographers’ Gallery, London, and another judge. “I was extremely impressed by her ability to approach this subject without the heavy weight of a prescribed visual language. She has in no way shied away from investigating these traumatic stories, but she has allowed herself freedom and breath to decide for herself how she pictures them.”
Turkish photographer Sabiha Limen was awarded third prize for KKK (Quran School For Girls), which shows the daily life of girls trying to memorise the Quran in Istanbul. Alessandra Sanguinetti, a Magnum Photos member and one of the judges commented: “Sabiha leads us into the life of rituals and quiet rebellion in a strictly religious girls’ boarding school with a classic and disarmingly poetic approach. She presents the girls with gentleness and empathy while managing to capture the tension between the girls childlike, awkward play and the intense adult rules, expectations and limitations that are upon them.”
The jury also awarded five honorable mentions in the main prize category – You Have Nothing To Worry About by Melissa Spitz; Seven Sisters by Karolina Gembara; Out-Of-The-Way by Elena Asanova; Abkhazia by Ksenia Kuleshova; and Santa Barbara by Diana Markosian.
The New Generation Prize, awarded to a photographer under 30 years old, was scooped by South African photographer Alice Mann, whose project Drummies shows the all-female teams of South African drum majorettes, whose members often come from marginalised communities. Mann wins mentoring from Magnum Photos Global Business Development Director, Fiona Rogers, an automatic nomination to World Press Photo’s 2019 Joop Swart Masterclass, and £2000 in cash.
“To see Alice’s project for the first time is to step inside a world within a world” says Pamela Chen, creative lead at Instagram and one of the judges. “The work is at once visually delightful, and the judges peeled back deeper layers of the thoughtful and nuanced storytelling within. A knowing glance over the shoulder. A casual pose in the hallway. The girls themselves are active participants in their own story.
“Too often, an investigation of a subculture can veer towards the voyeuristic and sensational. But here in Drummies you see a collaboration between subject and photographer: in itself an act of the very pride and self-confidence that the project seeks to reveal.”
Three Honourable Mentions were also awarded in the New Generation Prize – Like A Bird by Johanna Maria Fritz; Journey To Impurity by Maria Contreras Coll; and Underland by Tamara Merino Bloch.
The PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant also included four other prizes – three prizes awarded by Vogue Italia’s photography team plus the Verzasca Foto Prize, in which the festival’s female team selected one project for a solo show at the 2019 edition. Vogue Italia’s Alessia Glaviano picked out Deep Land by Roselena Ramistella, Chiara Bardelli Nonino selected Äimärautio by Kati Leinonen, and Francesca Marani chose Hiding from Baba Yaga by Nanna Heitmann. The Verzasca Foto Prize went to French photographer Ayline Olukman for her project Psyche.
“Through a personal and sensitive vision of the female universe, Psyche transports us into a dreamlike universe, narrating the caducity of human life and its relationship with its surroundings: in its similarity and in its diversity,” stated the Verzasca team. “The story is built with an incisive delicacy and with the lyricism of soft colours, which crystallises in an almost fairy-tale atmosphere.”
https://phmuseum.com/grant See work by all 31 photographers shortlisted in the 2018 PHmuseum Women Photographers’ Grant here: www.1854.photography/2018/11/31-women-to-watch-out-for/