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July 2008

The 2008 Canon Female Photojournalist Award has been won by the US photojournalist Brenda Ann Kenneally to pursue her report project ‘Upstate Girls: What Became of Collar City’ which will document the harsh realities of families living down and out in the US.

The award is sponsored by Canon France and comes with a prize of €8,000 that’s presented by the French Association of Female Journalists (AFJ) and is also supported by Le Figaro magazine.

The prize will allow Kenneally to shoot a report that sweeps away the clichés coming from glossy TV series such as ‘Desperate Housewives’. For years Kenneally has photographed the poor families of the small town of Troy (100 km north of New York) that, despite remaining a symbol of the American industrial success, still has strong social disparities. The city has suffered from the closure of factories, ethnic problems, and the problems of single parent families. As a result of her Canon AFJ award win Kenneally will continue to explore this side of the 'American dream'.

© Brenda Ann Kenneally

Kenneally, 49, is a freelance photo reporter and a teacher at the International Center of Photography. Her work has previously been published in the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Life Magazine amongst others. Between 1997 and 2000 Kenneally won the National Press Photographers ‘Picture of The Year’ several times and in 2005 she filmed, directed and co-produced the rap documentary ‘Hip Hop, by All Means Necessary’.

The 2008 Canon AFJ jury was comprised of Cyril Drouhet (from Le Figaro magazine), Ayperi Ecer (Reuters, Paris), Armelle Canitrot (La Croix), Marc Simon (VSD), Ruth Eichhorn (Géo Germany), Delphine Lelu (Visa pour l’Image); and for the AFJ: Catherine Lalanne (Pèlerin magazine), and Moïra Sauvage (journalist).

2008 Canon AFJ Award winner Brenda Ann Kenneally.

Commenting on her award 2008 Canon AFJ jury member Marc Simon said: “The jury choice rewards the perseverance of a photographer on a delicate subject, that asks for long hours of waiting and of listening. It’s a report that can appear less prestigious than certain reports on hot places of the planet, but is not any less essential. Photographers rarely go unharmed by this type of report. This is a personal engagement that asks a lot.”

The prize will be presented to Kenneally on 6 September 2008 at the 20th Visa pour l’Image international festival of photojournalism in Perpignan, France. She will have a year to accomplish the project and her work will then be the subject of either an exhibition or a featured evening programme scheduled to take place during the Visa pour l’Image event in 2009.