Pelligrin, Kuwayama, Win Smith Awards

Oct 27, 2006

NEW YORK, NY – Italian photojournalist Paolo Pellegrin has won this year’s W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic photography for his project, “Makta – It Is Written: A Journey Through the Lands of Islam.” The grant is a $30,000 USD prize.

In addition, Teru Kuwayama of New York City was awarded a W. Eugene Smith Fellowship Grant for his project, “No Man’s Land: Survival at the Ends of Empire.” The fellowship is a $5,000 prize. Kuwayama says he will use his fellowship grant to continue to explore the isolated and conflicting area surrounding the Hindu Kush, a region he’s been photographing for five years.

It was also announced that Michael Itkoff is the recipient of the 2006 Howard Chapnick Grant for the Advancement of Photojournalism, a $5,000 prize that Itkoff says he will use to publish an issue of DAYLIGHT magazine.

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, sponsored by Nikon Inc., made the announcements this week. The fund says the awards recognize photographers who have demonstrated a commitment to documenting the human condition. Winners received their awards in a ceremony held at the HBO Theatre in New York City on October 26.

After 9/11, Pellegrin began photographically tracing the steps of Islam across a number of nations. He says he’ll use the Smith Fund prize money to continue that quest, eventually ending in Saudi Arabia where where Islam began.

Helen Marcus of the Smith Fund reports that this year’s winners were picked from 149 entries from 33 countries. The 2006 jurors were Sue Brisk, editorial director of Magnum Photos; Anthony Bannon, director of the George Eastman House; and Chab Touré, professor of aesthetics for the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers in Mali.

The W. Eugene Smith Grant was established in 1978 by Howard Chapnick, Jim Hughes, and John G. Morris following Smith’s death. Marcus says the grant program provides photojournalists with the financial freedom to envision and carry out major photographic studies. Nikon Inc. has supported the grant for the twenty-one years.

Applications for the next W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography are due by July 15, 2007, and may be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope with an application request to the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, c/o International Center of Photography, 1133 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, 10036. The online address is www.smithfund.org.