Earlier this year, we launched the Storytelling Fund, which allocates $10 from every bag sold through our website to support emerging storytellers. For the fund's first project, we partnered with Women Photograph to create three $2500 grants to help elevate the voices of female (and non-binary) visual journalists; today, we're proud to announce the recipients. More than 500 photographers applied from around the world, and the applications were judged by an independent panel from National Geographic, NPR, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and Women Photograph.
The three awards will go to:
Néha Hirve, whose project, Full Shade / Half Sun, explores an experimental community living in the tropical dry forest of Tamil Nadu, India. Although their core purpose is reforesting the desertified land, they are also an experiment in collective, back-to-nature living. Her work investigates philosophical and existential questions about the ways in which we find meaning in our relationship to the land. Website | Instagram
Credit: Néha Hirve
Luján Agusti, whose ongoing project Payasos Danzantes aims to explore Mexican syncretism — the merging of traditional pre-Hispanic culture with that of evangelizing colonial forces — through the community of dancing holy clowns and the elements they create to build their identity. Website | Instagram
Credit: Luján Agusti
Gabriella Demczuk, whose project will look at the immigration enforcement techniques and the culture of security along the Texas border communities, and how it contrasts the life and policing of sanctuary cities. It will also look at how communities are preparing to oppose Texas Senate Bill 4 through both legal action and changes in perceptions of immigrants, as well as how organizations like Faith in Texas are trying to bridge the economic and racial divide. Website | Instagram
Credit: Gabriella Demczuk
Women Photograph and ONA would also like to acknowledge the shortlisted finalists: Alicia Caldera, Amanda Mustard, Andrea DiCenzo, Chloë Ellingson, Karolin Kluppel, Katrin Streicher, Luisa Dörr, Olga Ingurazova, Shahria Sharmin, and Ximena Vásquez Velasco. We would also like to thank our panel of judges: Mallory Benedict, National Geographic; Ariel Zambelich, NPR; Nathalie Applewhite, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting; Daniella Zalcman, Women Photograph.
Women Photograph is an initiative that launched in 2017 to elevate the voices of female and non-binary visual journalists. The private database includes more than 500 independent women documentary photographers based in 87 countries and is available to any commissioning editor or organization. Women Photograph's mission is to shift the gender makeup of the photojournalism community and ensure that the industry's chief storytellers are as diverse as the communities they hope to represent.