Photography is a way of seeing, and Leica Camera USA is working to make sure the narrative behind those photos includes more perspectives. On Monday, July 22, Leica launched the Leica Women Foto Project, a program designed to promote diversity and the female view in photography. While the project is an ongoing program that is expected to include programs and events, the project’s initial launch includes a new grant program.
The Leica Women Foto Project Award will give three female photographers a $10,000 grant to pursue a personal project. In addition to the grant funds, Leica will also loan the recipients a Q2 camera for one year. After that year, the camera will be passed on to the next year’s grant recipients, but Leica says they will offer a replacement camera at the end of that year as well.
Applicants are asked to submit an essay detailing a project they hope to tackle that’s relevant to today’s social climate, Leica explained. Applicants are also asked to submit a series of 10 images, taken with any camera, with at least four of those images being shot in 2018 or 2019.
“This importance of diversity in visual storytelling strengthens the integrity of our collective story,” Kiran Karnani, director of marketing for Leica Camera North America, said. “Visual expressions through myriad lenses challenge and embrace ideas that drive important conversations. We enable growth through an expansion of thought when we actively support inclusivity through the photographic medium. With the Leica Women Foto Project, we aim to embolden photographers to think outside one’s own point of view, support underrepresented voices to speak their visual languages, and celebrate new ways of seeing.”
The entries will be judged by a panel that includes Karin Kaufmann, art director and chief representative of Leica Galleries International; Maggie Steber, VII Agency photographer and Guggenheim fellow; Elizabeth Avedon, photography book and exhibition designer, curator and writer; Laura Roumanos, executive producer and co-founder of United Photo Industries; and Deborah Willis, author and professor at the Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
The award program is open to online submissions through August 29. Winners will be announced on October 16.
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