The Rebecca Vassie Trust announces James Arthur Allen as the winner of the first Rebecca Vassie Memorial Award for emerging photographers for his project documenting the lives and traditions of the ethnic Circassian population in Israel.
The award is a bursary of GBP 1,200, plus printing, exhibition and mentoring, for an emerging photographer to complete a narrative photography project with a strong social or political context. It has been created in memory of the British photojournalist Rebecca Vassie, who died suddenly last year, aged 30, while on assignment in a refugee camp in Uganda.
Judges for the award included Karen McQuaid, senior curator at the Photographers’ Gallery, Matthew Tucker, UK Picture Editor at BuzzFeed, photographer Ben Bird and Janet Vassie, Rebecca’s mother. The judges were impressed by Allen’s detailed knowledge of the complex history of the Circassians, who were expelled from their country in the nineteenth century after the Russian-Circassian War, and the contacts he’d developed in the region.
Allen will be mentored by Bette Lynch, Director of Photography, News, Europe, Middle East and Africa at Getty Images, who was also part of the judging process. He also receives access to premier printing services at Metro Imaging, print partner to the award.
Two further applications were highly commended: David Shaw for his proposal exploring racial divides in Oldham, and Tracey Paddison for her project following a non-binary person through gender reassignment.
“It is a huge privilege to be selected for the inaugural Rebecca Vassie Memorial Award,” – says James Arthur Allen. – “I’m thrilled to have been given the opportunity to make new work and collaborate with the Trust over the coming months. One of the first stateless people in modern history, the Circassians of Israel are unique in retaining their traditions and identity while being among the only Muslims serving in the Israel Defence Force. This proposal aims to explore and document an ancient nation and its place in the modern world.”
Allen studied Press and Editorial Photography at University College Falmouth, graduating in 2012. His work was selected for the Best Emerging Graduate Talent feature in the British Journal of Photography, and has appeared in numerous publications including the Financial Times Magazine, Huck Magazine and The Guardian. He has completed commissions for the Rory Peck Trust, is a contributing photographer to Institute Artist Management and lectures on the BA Photography course at Bath Spa University. He has a long-term interest in the peoples of the Caucuses and has previously documented ethnic groups in Georgia and Abkhazia.
“We are delighted to grant our first award to James,” – say Janet and Kelly Vassie. – “Like Rebecca, he has found both a region and people he is passionate about photographing. James’s passion is infectious, and we feel he is at the right point to make the most of this opportunity.”
The Rebecca Vassie Trust is an unincorporated charitable foundation, set up in 2016 in memory of Rebecca Vassie, to create career development opportunities for emerging photographers and to promote the art of narrative photography.
The Rebecca Vassie Trust today announces the inaugural Rebecca Vassie Memorial Award. The award is a bursary of GBP 1,200 plus printing, exhibition in London in March 2017 and mentorship, for an emerging photographer in the UK to complete a narrative photography project.
Judges for the award include Karen McQuaid (curator at the Photographers’ Gallery), Matthew Tucker (UK Picture Editor at BuzzFeed) and Bette Lynch (Director of Photography, news, Europe, Middle East and Africa at Getty Images).
Premier printing services are being donated by Metro Imaging, who will also grant the winner a portfolio review with creative director Prof. Steve Macleod.
Applicants for the award, who must be either from or based in the UK, are asked to submit a proposal setting out a compelling vision for a photography project with a strong social or political context. The deadline for submissions is Friday, October 7, 2016 at 5.00 PM BST.
The award is created in memory of Rebecca Vassie, a British photographer and photojournalist who died suddenly last year (March 2015), aged 30, while on assignment in a refugee camp in Uganda. Rebecca trained in photography at the University for the Creative Arts. She had been based in Uganda for three years, working as a stringer for Associated Press, with her pictures appearing in major newspapers worldwide. She also photographed for a number of charities and NGOs as well as pursuing her own projects, such as documenting Uganda’s transgender community and its Olympic boxing hopefuls.
Rebecca’s parents Janet and Eric, sister Kelly and brother Tim said: “Beccy’s death turned our world upside down, but we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from both our friends and hers. Many people said they wanted to do something in her memory. We hope this award is a way of providing photographers with exactly the kind of opportunity from which Beccy would have benefited, as well as honouring Beccy’s memory and the extraordinary work she did, of which we are very proud.”
The Rebecca Vassie Trust is an unincorporated charitable foundation, set up in 2016, to create career development opportunities for emerging photographers and to promote the art of narrative photography.
More info and submissions details @ www.rebeccavassietrust.org
The international photography competition POPCAP announced the winners of its 5th anniversary edition. The award aims to foster interest in and support for contemporary African photography. This year’s winners were chosen by an international panel of 20 renowned judges from 900 applications from 94 countries. The winning artists and their projects will be presented at a series of international exhibitions. They are also invited to take part in an artists’ residency program.
The winners and their projects:
Nicolas Henry (b. 1978) | based in Les Mesnuls (France) – African Tales from Today (2012–2014)
African Tales from Today is a set of photographs taken with communities in Africa (Ethiopia, Rwanda, Madagascar and Namibia) and in the African communities living in the suburb of Paris (France). The project is close to a traveling theatre. The tales talk about Africa. The scenes are made with objects found on site. The scenography is set up with the local community in order to evoke the narrative seen in the image. Each story is decided and shared as a commitment of models. The photographic moment is similar to a theatre because many people come to attend this “performance” , the eye of the audience creates a new dialogue. The unified group expresses not only its vision to the world, but tries to share it with its own community too.
Jason Larkin (b. 1979) | based in London (United Kingdom) – Waiting (2013–2015)
“While living in Johannesburg, I was struck by the ever-present reality of people waiting. Inactive yet expectant, this condition becomes a visual echo of the predicament that many South Africans can find themselves in. Though many wait alone, the amount of people waiting becomes a collective, city-wide experience,” – says Jason Larkin. – “Visually I was drawn to those seeking shelter from the harsh summer sun by positioning themselves in the shade. Figures here occupy ephemeral spaces of respite created by the surrounding urban environment. These shadows remove the individuals’ identities, leaving only the subtlety of posture and the details of place. With only the waiting period accompanying each image, the purpose or possible outcomes of these situations is unclear. We are left to meditate on the temporality of these individual situations and the indirect connections that waiting creates across society.”
Sabelo Mlangeni (b. 1980) | based in Johannesburg (South Africa) – Isivumelwano: An Agreement (2003–2014)
“The first time I used a camera was for a wedding in 1997,” – says Sabelo Mlangeni (doc! #34). – “I did not get a chance to see the photographs because the bride picked them up straight from the lab. ‘Isivumelwano: An Agreement’ is an attempt to reconstruct these images looking at how an event about the love between two people becomes a community event.”
The project started in South African townships and continued with an exploration of wedding ceremonies in the capital cities of Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland. The resulting body of work focuses on the beauty and ornate nature of these ceremonies as well as the traditions and attire that embrace the adaptability of cultures in today’s African cities. Wedding ceremonies in black Southern African cultures are significant gatherings, often with more than one day of celebrations. The work looks at the way Southern African cultures have been adapted over the years looking particularly at the amalgamation of African cultural practices and Western white wedding rituals seen predominantly in metropolises.
Thom Pierce (b. 1978) | based in Cape Town (South Africa) – The Price of Gold (2015)
Over a period of 20 days in September and October 2015, Thom Pierce traveled around South Africa’s Eastern Cape, into Lesotho and up to Johannesburg to find and photograph 56 sick miners and widows named in a class action lawsuit against 32 gold mining companies in South Africa, lodged on behalf of all miners suffering from Silicosis or Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB) as a result of working in the gold mines. The photographs were displayed in the building next door to the courtroom in Johannesburg at the time of the case in October 2015. This was done as a piece of advocacy, to put a human face to the often stark and detached courtroom proceedings.
Silicosis is a preventable but incurable lung disease that is contracted in the gold mines through inadequate protection from silica dust. Miners who contract silicosis get tired and out of breath quickly and are prone to lung infections, respiratory failure and TB. Most miners who became sick were sent home with little or no compensation and no hope of finding further employment.
Julia Runge (b. 1990) | based in Berlin (Germany) – Basterland (2015)
100 years after the Rehoboth Basters rose up against their German colonisers, the Basterland series takes up the task of providing a multifaceted insight into the contemporary life of the ethnic group living in Namibia today. It is a portrait of a society that seems to find itself in an “in-between“ amid tradition and change. The series reminds us a forgotten episode of German colonial history. The name Baster (Afrikaans for German bastards) may seem a little pejorative. But the Baster community gave it themselves because it reminds them of their heritage and emergence. The Basters are the offspring of the union between European settlers and their indigenous Khoisan slaves during the colonial period in the 18th century. During the South African colonisation, the Basters became a more and more unwanted and stigmatised group. Since Namibia’s independence in 1990, the Basters are the only traditional grouping in Namibia with no special legal status and to this day they fight for their acceptance and recognition in society.
Visit POPCAP website @ www.popcap.cc for more information.
The POPCAP’16 was organised under doc! photo magazine patronage.
FotoEvidence, a platform for documentary photographers whose work focuses on social justice and human rights, announced that photojournalist Daniella Zalcman will receive the 2016 FotoEvidence Book Award and that a book of her project – Signs of Your Identity - will be published by FotoEvidence this year.
Signs of Your Identity documents stories of indigenous Canadians who were placed in boarding schools run by the Church in order to force their assimilation into the dominant culture. The Indian Residential School system was created by the Canadian government in the 1840s.
“Attendance was mandatory, and Indian Agents would regularly visit reserves to take children as young as 2 or 3 from their communities. Many of them wouldn’t see their families again for the next decade” – says Daniella Zalcman. – “Students were punished for speaking their native languages or observing any indigenous traditions, routinely physically and sexually assaulted, and in some extreme instances subjected to medical experimentation and sterilisation. The last residential school didn’t close until 1996. The Canadian government issued its first formal apology in 2008. The lasting impact on Canada’s indigenous population is immeasurable and grotesque. At least 6,000 children died while in the system and those who did survive, deprived of their families and their own cultural identities, became part of a series of lost generations. Languages died out, sacred ceremonies were criminalised and suppressed. The Canadian government has officially termed the residential school system a cultural genocide.”
Zalcman uses double exposure portraits to portray her subjects. These multiple exposure portraits juxtaposes survivors who are still fighting to overcome the memories of their residential school experiences, with the sites where those schools once stood, government documents that enforced strategic assimilation and places where, even today, First Nations people struggle to access services that should be available to all Canadians.
Daniella Zalcman is an award-winning photojournalist based in London (UK) and New York City (NY, USA). Her work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Time, Sports Illustrated and CNN, among others. She is a multiple grantee of the Pulitzer Centre on Crisis Reporting. Her photographs have been exhibited throughout the US and Europe and are part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She graduated from Columbia University in 2009 with a degree in Architecture.
The jury also selected four finalists who will be exhibited with Daniella Zalcman at the 2016 FotoEvidence Book Award Exhibit in New York in November of 2016 when Signs of Your Identity will be released as book. The finalists include:
Narciso Contreras for Yemen: the Forgotten War where an intervention by Saudi Arabia against a Houthi insurgency has internally displaced nearly 1.4 million people, killed more than 6,000, shutdown hospitals and left 21 million people in need of dire humanitarian assistance. With virtually no media coverage, Yemen’s war is not only a forgotten war, but for many it is also an unknown war.
Mario Cruz for Talibes, Modern Day Slaves documents the conditions faced by young boys in Senegal sent or sold to “teachers” who promise education but instead turn their charges into beggars collecting money on the streets. The boys are often kept in harsh conditions, chained, beaten and forced to beg. Their education mainly focused on memorising passages from the Koran.
Hossein Fatemi for An Iranian Journey which documents Iran’s complex society, lifting the veil on some of the less observed areas of daily life, showing the conflicts that arise between the official version of Iranian life promoted by the authorities and the reality of daily life for Iran’s youth, struggling to find an identity in a fast moving, ever changing world. Daily, millions of young people engage in activities that are officially illegal and can carry severe penalties. While the government likes to think of Iranian society as a monolithic unit occupying the moral high ground in stark contrast with a degenerate, immoral West, the reality of daily life in the Islamic Republic is one which bears all the hallmarks of a modern hybrid with all the usual problems and vices.
Ingetje Tadros for This is My Country that looks at conditions for indigenous Australians, whose communities are mismanaged by their governments, are not fully understood by the wider aid community and are largely invisible to most of Australian society. A voiceless and unseen minority consigned to lives of quiet desolation.