Here are the winners of this year’s Women Photograph grants

(Mahé Elipe)
(Mahé Elipe)

The organization Women Photograph created a series of grants back in 2017 in a much-needed effort to correct the fact that women and nonbinary photographers have been grossly underrepresented. It’s next to impossible to refute that for too long most of the imagery of everyday life has been through the perspective of White males.

It is essential for the photography community to grapple with this and try to find solutions.

This year, Women Photograph partnered with Getty images, Nikon USA and Leica to give out grants that can help women and nonbinary photographers with their work.

Judges Alissa Ambrose, Mona Boshnaq, Victor Caivano, Veronika Châtelain, Brian Frank, Maura Friedman, Lisa Larson-Walker, Candida Ng, Allison Stewart and Danielle Villasana reviewed 1,300 applications from women and nonbinary photographers around the world. Seven were chosen to receive $5,000 Women Photograph Project Grants, and one was chosen as this year’s winner of the Women Photograph + Leica Grant in the amount of $10,000,

We are happy to present this year’s winners:

First up is Rehab Eldalil of Egypt. Here’s a description of the project Eldalil will pursue (the photos displayed here are from previous work ):

Nesting Birds will follow single women who have successfully been able to adopt children in Egypt. With rising divorce and domestic violence rates, more Egyptian women choose not to get married. Nevertheless, they express a profound desire to have children. Challenging social norms navigating a complex legal framework, more and more single women have succeeded in adopting orphaned children in recent years. Using multimedia and collaborative approaches, Nesting Birds will explore the notion of motherhood through the voices of the adoptive families to create a multilayered story as part of a long term series on motherhood and the maternal lineage.”

Next up is Mahé Elipe, also a $5,000 grantee. Here’s how she describes her project:

“In Mexico, she is the symbol of social struggle, she survives in a country that has taught her to live and survive in resilience. She can be found in the streets, singing feminist hymns, breathing in tear gas, wearing a cross commemorating femicides on her shoulder, or wearing a portrait of one still missing, with their hands in the ground cultivating the future or searching for a loved one. ‘She’ is the woman, the mother, the wife, the sister, the daughter, the friend, the neighbor. There are many of them and they are all united by the same cause: fighting for their rights.”

Following Elipe is Jaimy Gail, another $5,000 grantee. She was awarded the grant for her work “Vrouw zijn (on Being a Woman),” which:

“Explores strong femininity by ridding her from all imposed roles or rules. I let go of the social norms and focus on the implications of sex differences, cross-culturally. What does it mean to be a woman and what does ‘male’ and ‘female’ mean? What are the origins of sex differences and are they biological or are they a social construct? Vrouw zijn aims to seek out and document specific cultural and cross cultural codes for women.”

The next Women Photograph Project grantee is Takako Kido, who offers this description of her project:

“Skinship is a Japanese word that describes the skin-to-skin, heart-to-heart relationship between a mother and a child or family. Skinship includes cuddling, breastfeeding, co-bathing or co-sleeping — which build intimacy. Through an experience of loving touch, a child learns caring for others. Japanese skinship is considered to be important for strengthening the bond of family and also for the child’s healthy development. Because the idea of skinship was perfectly natural to me as a Japanese woman, only after I was arrested in New York because of family snapshots of skinship, did I realize how unique and shocking it could be in other cultural contexts. Living in both Japan and America showed me a cultural comparison and paradox clearly. In Japan, I gave birth to my son in 2012 and started making self-portraits, somehow, in the chaos of everyday life flying by. There seemed no boundary between our bodies, a symbiotic union. ”

Barbara Peacock is another grantee this year. Here’s Peacock’s project description:

American Bedroom is an unfiltered poetic photographic journey viewing Americans in their most intimate dwelling; the bedroom. When physical bedroom doors are opened to me there is a veil of religion, politics, and ideologies that is mysteriously and magically lifted. What remains is the bare soul of human life, a story, and purity of heart that rises like cream to the top. This is not a look at our differences, although there may be many, it is about our likenesses, our loves, our dreams, and all the threads of commonality that connect us as human beings. My interest lies in the poetic resonance of ordinary subjects. I photograph working-class Americans, often beneath notice, and yet the very fabric of our nation. I am passionate but not sentimental about America. The nature of the project is open and unguarded portraits of individuals, couples, and families that reveal the depth of their character, truth, and spirit.”

The next photographer to be awarded a $5,000 grant is Ana Elisa Sotelo. Sotelo’s project description says:

“Las Truchas is a group of women wild swimmers that formed in Lima, Peru, to cope with the stress and trauma derived from the pandemic. As a Trucha, I witnessed firsthand the transformative power of sisterhood and the importance of connecting with nature and began to document our experience in my series Las Truchas. Cardumen de Mujeres (Schools of Women) is the continuation of this body of work. Over the next months, I will document groups of women who have found resilience in swimming together and expand my work to other bodies of water in Latin America. Through these images I plan to share the stories of women who turn to oceans and lakes to connect with each other, nature, and with adversity.”

Last, but not least, on this list of Women Photograph Project grantees is photographer Cansu Yildiran. And this is Yildiran’s project description:

“Deep in a valley of the Kusmer Highlands, in the Black Sea region of Turkey, lies the village and my ancestral homeland: Caykara. Tradition decrees that the women of this village cannot own the homes they live in or the land they live on — that right belongs to men, exclusively. I photographed this landscape, and the women who inhabit it, a personal investigation into identity, belonging, and what it means when neither of those are certain. I spent most of my childhood summers in Caykara, although it was only as an adult that I came to understand why my mother, and all of the women of the village, could never feel a true sense of ownership for this land. The struggle between attaining identity and the tension between these two opposing forces has always been a point of contention for me.”

This year’s $10,000 Women Photograph + Leica Grant goes to photographer Greta Rico. And without further ado, here’s Rico’s project description:

“In November 2017, my cousin Fernanda became a victim of feminicide, discovered on the street in a garbage bag. This documentary project springs from the most intimate experiences within my own family and tells the story of my cousin Siomara, who became a substitute mother of her then 3-year-old niece Nicole, after Nicole’s mother was murdered. Ten women are murdered daily in Mexico, leaving around 38,138 orphaned girls, boys and adolescents behind just between January 2017 (the year my cousin was murdered) and April 2022. This project shows how feminicide does not end with murder, but has psychosocial impacts that cause trauma in orphaned children, as well as with the mothers, sisters, grandmothers, and aunts who become substitute mothers because of gender violence in Mexico. Roughly 98% of the caregivers who are left in charge of these childhoods are women and they do not have access to any legal recognition or support.”

You can find out more about Women Photograph and its annual grants on its website, here.