Photographer Koral Carballo, whose work is shown above, is the winner of this year’s $10,000 Women Photograph + Getty Images grant. Carballo won for “The Mystery of Disguise,” a project examining Afrodescendence in Mexico. A statement provided by Women Photograph gives more information about Carballo’s work:
“While there is relatively widespread discourse about Mexican identity being rooted in Indigenous and Spanish ancestry, little is said about the Africans who arrived in Mexico by way of slave ships — their history has been largely erased. The object of this work is to recognize the daily life, traditions, and people of Afro-Mexico — through a mixture of documentary photography, collaborative portraits, family photos, and visual interventions. Carballo will also run photography workshops that will encourage participants to reflect on what it means to be Afro-Mexican today.”
Photojournalism, like almost every profession, has long been a male-dominated field, but important efforts are being made to rectify this. One of the organizations at the forefront is Women Photograph. Formed in 2017 by photographer Daniella Zalcman, the initiative aims to elevate the voices of female visual journalists. (Women Photograph notes on its website that it believes gender is a spectrum and is “inclusive of a plurality of femme voices including trans, queer and non-binary people.”)
In addition to maintaining an ever-growing database photo editors can use to find independent female documentary photographers — it currently includes more than 900 photographers working in over 100 countries — Women Photograph also offers assistance in the form of travel grants, mentorships and an annual series of grants for female photographers to work on projects. The grants are now in their third year, and today In Sight is highlighting this year’s award winners.
This year, five photographers received $5,000 as part of the Women Photograph + Nikon grant; their work is shown below. Carballo was awarded the $10,000 Women Photograph + Getty Images grant. There were more than 1,300 applications from female and non-binary photographers from around the globe. The judges for the awards were: Olivia Adechi, Bronx Documentary Center; Marcia Allert, Dallas Morning News; Nariman El-Mofty, Associated Press; Nicole Frugé, San Francisco Chronicle; Karla Gachet, independent photographer; Nick Kirkpatrick, The Washington Post; Zun Lee, an independent photographer; Marie Monteleone, Bloomberg News; Jennifer Samuel, National Geographic; and Daniella Zalcman of Women Photograph.
Of this year’s awardees, Frugé said: “These incredible projects by the grantees reveal too often unrepresented stories and broader aspects of human experience. They show a commitment to the communities and people they document as well as compassionate exploration of visual storytelling. I was struck by the maturity and rigor of these works.”
Here are the rest of this year’s winners:
“This project addresses freedom of expression, taboos, censorship and the evolution of the photographer’s hometown, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, through the lives of its creative community. In an era where their craft and creative expression has been deemed ‘3eib,’ or taboo, they find themselves erased from the wider Saudi narrative. The project also chronicles the photographer’s daughter’s creative interests as a way to witness the gradual change in society’s mentality and acceptance, while discovering the new ‘3eibs’ of the coming generation.”
Shaima Al Tamimi
“‘As If We Never Came’ is a long-term visual project inspired by the photographer’s Yemeni-East African heritage and personal struggle to understand the complexity of who they are today as Yemenis in generational diaspora. In the face of the near absence of a recorded narrative about their history, this is a retracing of her own family’s journey as a step toward honoring the journey of all Yemeni diaspora communities, encouraging others to own their shared identity and take back the voice lost as bystanders in transit.”
Sophia Nahli Allison
“‘Dreaming Gave Us Wings’ recontextualizes the myth of flying Africans as a factual historical occurrence. Using the artist’s body as a site of memory, Allison reimagines levitation through self portraits. Inspired by the importance of Afro-diasporic flight within folklore and oral history, these images house a deep remembrance of survival and freedom. The story of flying Africans has been passed down from generation to generation since slavery. While this myth has evolved over the years, it continues to be the source of literal and figurative imagination depicting freedom, new futures and returning to Africa. Flight became a secret language for runaway slaves and continues to depict black mobility toward liberation, speculative time traveling and conjuring ancestral memories. As Toni Morrison said, ‘The one thing you say about a myth is that there’s some truth in there no matter how bizarre they may seem.’”
“Hald’s three-part project explores body image, eating disorders and body activism. ‘The Girls from Malawa’ focuses on eating disorders and mental health through a group of women being treated for anorexia in a housing facility in Poland. ‘A New Me’ looks at weight loss camps in the United States. And ‘Perfect Girls’ focuses on fat activism in Scandinavia, and a new generation of women on a journey to break free from traditional beauty standards. Together, this body of work sheds light on all the different elements of the body and how Western society pressures women into looking a certain way.”
“‘Transcending Self’ is a portrait project on transgender and non-binary youth which seeks to honor an often misunderstood community and create a sense of validation for in a world which largely rejects them. In 2018, there were 369 reported murders of transgender people worldwide. That same year, 51 percent of transgender male adolescents reported at least one suicide attempt, with non-binary and trans females close behind. The suicide rate for all young people is 14 percent. When transgender children are treated with acceptance, love and respect, suicide attempt rates drop to close to that of their peers. Familiarity with transgender people is the top predictor of support and is impossible without visibility. Outsiders frequently frame transgender stories in a way that reduces them to physicality, emphasizing a perceived difference. These portraits and interviews emphasize each individual as a whole person, with unique passions and interests that extend beyond their gender identity.”
You can find more information about Women Photograph on its website, here.