Getty Grants for Editorial Photography 2016
One of the more significant awards during the Visa pour l’Image pro week are the eagerly anticipated Getty Grants for Editorial Photography. This year, five photographers with very unique and personal projects have been recognised.
“The grants were established in 2004 and awards each of the recipients $10,000 for a project they wish to continue. We are delighted to be able to continue this,” said Aidan Sullivan, VP Photo Assignments, Getty Images, speaking to the audience at the press conference held this afternoon in Perpigan’s Palais des Congrès.
He added: “We received 459 submissions for 75 countries and this year we also have the first David Laidler Award which is in honour of our dear colleague who passed away last year.”
First to the stage was Mary F. Calvert, a two-time Pulitzer prize finalist and a former Canon Female Photojournalist Award winner. “For the past three years I have been working on a project on sexual trauma in the military and there is very little justice for them,” she said. “After the project I did on women, I started hearing from men who wanted to tell their story too. They face a different set of circumstances, and this is a story that found me, so I’d like to continue this with this Grant. I was very upfront with my subjects and told them I would show them at their most vulnerable. I was fortunate to have so many people who were ready to speak, as I know it would give other people the courage to come out. Some men spend their whole lives without telling anyone about this shame that shouldn’t really belong to them. I always try to photograph people with their dignity intact and I feel very honoured to be the person they trust to tell their story.”
Speaking on his success in the awards, Jonathan Torgovnik revealed more about his new personal project ‘The Hijacked Life of African Migrants in Johannesburg’.
“I’m really grateful to receive this grant. It’s a validation of what I am doing, which is documenting the lives of African migrants who have come to Johannesburg in search of a better life.”
“I didn't want to go to Europe because there are thousands of photographers there covering migration. But when I drove past these buildings in Johannesburg that were built in the Apartheid era, I saw that they were now home to these illegal migrants. Little is known about the many people who come to one of the most affluent cities in South Africa. There around 2 million illegal African migrants now in South Africa and I went to these buildings to see the terrible conditions they are living in and to try and tell their stories.”
Joining her fellow Grant recipients on stage was Katie Orlinsky, who said: “It makes me really proud to be associated with my fellow recipients here today. My project came from a chance assignment I did in the Alaskan arctic on a dog sled race. I could see climate change was affecting both the people, animals and the land. These are some of the poorest people in the US so they need to hunt on the land they live on. It’s important for community and family, and also their own spirit. But the sea ice has melted so much it’s become harder to hunt. The longer I spend there the more I realise how many stories there are there still to be covered.”
Next to be congratulated was Sergey Ponomarev, who talked about his project entitled ‘Exodus’ which deals with migration in Europe. “Right now European society has to deal with all these migrating people and we have to dig deeper and more carefully to show the lives of these people. This is now the second stage of this crisis. Most come from war torn countries and many have PTSD and they want to try and have new lives. That’s the story I wanted to focus on in the future part of this project.”
The final recipient was Kirsten Luce, winner this year of the David Laidler Memorial Award for her project ‘Border Insecurity’. Her personal project has been widely recognised already by publications and she said of her success today: “I am simultaneously elated and totally freaked out. I have continued to be fascinated by this region and tens of thousands of women and children pass through it every year, which prompted Obama to give it aid. Historically this border has never been secure. My intention is not to criticise but more to consider why and what we are so scared of and to what end we want to secure something that has never been secure before.”