Witnesses of: Devotion. Receive £5,000 to create a new body of work for Leica

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Each month, over the course of three months, the Leica x 1854 Commission Series will select one photographer to receive £5,000 to produce a body of work using Leica equipment. Here, we contemplate the second theme in the series: Witnesses of: Devotion.

Devotion. It is a word bandied around often but when you stop to think about it – really think about it – to be devoted is somewhat exceptional. Love, loyalty, boundless enthusiasm towards someone or something. Without hesitancy or exception. To be devoted is to put that something above anything else. In a world full of responsibility and distraction, to be devoted – truly devoted – is a wonderful and admirable thing. 

The subject of that devotion is where it gets interesting. You can devote yourself to another person: somebody close to you, a public figure admired from afar. It could be a football team, on a losing streak, cheered on regardless. A cause to which you dedicate your life. A hobby, tinkering away in the garden shed. A career. A way of life. A religion. You can witness your own devotion, or you can be witness to somebody else’s. 

This April, 1854 in collaboration with Leica is calling for photographers to respond to the theme Witnesses of: Devotion. Photographers at any stage in their career are invited to apply for the commission by simply submitting 10 images from their archive alongside a short 100-word description of their intended photographic response to the theme. 

The selected photographer will receive £5,000 to create a personal body of work using Leica equipment over a three-week project period (24 May to 14 June 2021). They will also gain a place on the world-renowned Leica Lab, one of the industry’s most prestigious online courses for burgeoning photographers. Ordinarily, the course costs £2,400.

© Sara Rubinstein with the Leica Q2/

The Leica Lab is an online learning programme that explores creative strategies to build and evolve photographic narrative. Photographers enrolled on the course will have unique access to leaders from all corners of the industry who, over the two-week course duration, will challenge and support participants while encouraging them to experiment, collaborate and push the boundaries of their photographic practice. Instructors on upcoming Leica Labs include photographers Robbie Lawrence, Liz Johnson Artur and Simon Roberts. Curators include Sabina Jaskot-Gill, Curator of Photographs at London’s National Portrait Gallery; and Renne Mussai, Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial & Collection at Autograph, London. 

© Robbie Lawrence. Provided by Leica Lab.

The Leica Lab programme is an exclusive learning experience with a focus on commercial photography and content creation. Each two week intensive course is led online by industry leaders, with labs this year focused on portraiture, community, and landscape photography. Photographers will be challenged and supported by industry experts and peers to help broaden their skill set and evolve their visual language.

The deadline to apply to the Witnesses of: Devotion commission is 29th April 2021. Submissions will be judged by an expert panel from 1854 and Leica with the selected photographer entering a proposal development stage with Studio 1854.

This commission is open exclusively to 1854 Access Members. Apply now.