On International Women’s Day 2019 we announced our new global award Female in Focus. The inaugural competition seeks to highlight the exceptional quality of photography by women and address the gender imbalance in the industry. While 80 percent of photography graduates are female, only 15 percent of professional photographers are women. By providing underrepresented photographers with the tools and platforms to succeed, we are committed to encouraging diversity across the photographic landscape.
Female in Focus welcomes entries from photographers based anywhere in the world. To reflect the international nature of the award, we are excited to announce our impressive panel of judges – including photographers, gallerists and educators – who represent a cross-section of the photography world.
The panel will select two bodies of work to win the Stories category and 20 individual images to win the Single Image category. Both the two winning series and the 20 images will be exhibited in the Female in Focus group exhibition, taking place at the leading New York gallery – United Photo Industries – for a month in late-2019. The two Stories category winners will be flown to New York for the opening of the show; the winning work will receive international press coverage and be featured on BJP-online.
“There is definitely a certain amount of power that comes with being part of a community,” says Veronica Sanchis Bencomo, one of our judges and the founder of Foto Feminas – an online platform dedicated to promoting the work of female photographers working in Latin America and the Caribbean. “When I started out there was this real feeling that ‘if you are a photographer, you are alone, you are always alone’. I feel like that was the truth back then and things have changed now.”
Bencomo is a Venezuelan photographer, curator and writer based in Hong Kong. She will be judging alongside Neo Ntsoma – an award-winning South African photographer, educator and consultant. In 2004, Ntsoma was the first female recipient of the Mohamed Amin Award, the CNN African Journalist of the Year Photography Prize. Ntsoma also co-authored the book Women by Women, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Women’s March.
Another photographer on the panel is Hannah Starkey. Starkey’s practice centres on the experiences of women; she offers glimpses into her subjects’ interior lives by capturing them during moments of introspection amid ordinary urban spaces. Starkey has exhibited internationally and worked on curatorial projects, including an initiative at London’s Hayward Gallery.
Devika Daulet-Singh is another judge. The director of PHOTOINK – a New Delhi-based photo agency and publication that she established in 2001– Daulet-Singh is also an editor, curator and photobook publisher. She oversees the Umrao Singh Sher-Gil Grant for photography in India and has sat on the juries of numerous awards, most recently, the 2018 Kyoto Prize. She is joined by Brandei Estes, director, head of photographs department at Sotheby’s, and Laura Roumanos, the co-founder of United Photo Industries and Photoville, for which she has produced over 300 photography exhibitions and public projects across the world.
The Female in Focus 2019 judging panel comprises Veronica Sanchis Bencomo, founder of Foto Feminas; Devika Daulet Singh, director of PHOTOINK; Hannah Starkey, photographer; Laura Roumanos, co-founder of United Photo Industries; Brandei Estes, director, head of photographs department at Sotheby’s; and Neo Ntsoma, photographer and educator.
Female in Focus is calling for exceptional photography by women. Want to win a group show at United Photo Industries Gallery inNew York? Apply today!