As part of the prizes for the inaugural Portrait of Humanity award, three photographers have been given first, second and third place, each receiving a share of a $10,000 award grant, to create a project related to the movement. In first place, and receiving $5,000 is Priscilla Falcón Moeller, whose winning portrait was taken in Regla, a small borough of Havana, Cuba. “When I took the photograph, my project Teddy Bear Dream was in the midst of completion,” she explains. “I had found a community that made me feel at home and connected, we’d spend hours in the local park playing and dreaming.” On one of those days, Falcón saw Orlando resting on the merry-go-round. “His gaze struck my soul, I kneeled and took his portrait,” she says. “After I took it, he did not move and I did not speak. It was powerful.”
Falcón Moeller plans to use the grant to complete a project she has been working on for the past two years. “Pain from the Faith explores and gives a voice to Mexico’s most famous Curandero (healer), El Niño Fidencia, and the Fidencistas, a folk religious healing cult who are often marginalised by society,” she explains. Much of her work sheds light on people living in her home country of Mexico, as well as on marginalised communities in other parts of South America. “With Pain from the Faith, I’ve been working to capture the group’s essence, traditions, religious practices and rites.”
In second place is Georgina Goodwin, whose portrait Born a Refugee depicts 30 second old baby Marian, placed on her mother, Tosha Sangan, 32, in the birthing room at the main hospital of Nyarugusu Refugee Camp in western Tanzania. “Tosha fled fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1989, and now, twenty years later, she has made Nyarugusu her home,” explains Goodwin. Baby Marian is Tosha’s fifth child born a refugee at the hospital. “In a camp with a population of 150,000, of whom 80 per cent are women and children, everyday is a struggle to save lives,” says Goodwin.
The image is part of a wider series looking at life in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp. “Through my photography, I always aim to highlight lesser or little-known issues to do with society, women and the environment,” says Goodwin of her work. “My hope is that through my images, people can learn, and will act to make our world better.” She plans to use the grant to shoot a personal project about people living with cancer in Kenya.
In third place is Tajette O’Halloran’s self-portrait “You Can Post This After I Die”. The photograph was taken with her grandmother at her condominium in Boca Raton, Florida, where she lived in a retirement village. “I decided to enter the photograph into Portrait of Humanity as my grandma had recently died, and I had started to revisit some of the images she said I could share after she was gone,” explains O’Halloran. “This image immediately stuck in my mind as a moment of connection that embodies humanity.”
“Coming in third place has enabled me to consider project ideas that have not felt possible to produce financially until now,” says O’Halloran. “Hearing that my work was in the top three was completely unexpected.”
Do you want to be part of the movement? Together, we will create a Portrait of Humanity