DURHAM, NC (November 15, 2011) – Five photojournalists have learned that they are receiving $3,000 each from the National Press Photographers Association to underwrite photography projects in their community as the organization announces the winners of the first ever NPPA Short Grants Competition.
The 2011 Short Grants winners are Victor J. Blue, Gabriela Bulisova, Mary F. Calvert, Matt Eich, and Mark Ovaska.
NPPA president Sean D. Elliot notified the winners this week by telephone. “The NPPA's mission is to support visual journalism and this is a tangible example of that support, putting money in the hands of five talented visual journalists to continue work on some meaningful projects,” Elliot said.
A two-time Pulitzer finalist and winner of the 2008 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in International Photography, Calvert is receiving the grant for her project on women with AIDS in the Washington, DC. In her application she wrote, “Journalists have a duty to shine a light into the deepest recesses of the human experience and provide a mirror for society to examine itself.” She is a contract photographer for ZUMA Press.
Gabriela Bulisova’s grant is for her DC-based project investigating and documenting the struggles that face women prisoners and their families before, during, and after their incarceration.
Victor J. Blue will use the grant to complete his project documenting the rehabilitation of an injured soldier who lost an arm in an IED blast, an event which the photojournalist witnessed and documented. Blue has won several awards in NPPA's Best of Photojournalism and the University of Missouri School of Journalism's Pictures of the Year International contests.
Mark Ovaska is documenting the small town of Belle Glade, FL, where varsity football offers an escape from violence and poverty. On the field of Glades Central Community High School, rivals compete to realize their dreams of NFL recruitment.
The grant to photographer Matt Eich will enable him to spend three weeks documenting a five-mile radius in Hampton Roads, VA, for his new body of work, “The Seven Cities.” A founding member of LUCEO, Eich is a recipient of an Aaron Siskind Fellowship and was the 2006 College Photographer of the Year.
This is the first year that the NPPA has sponsored the Short Grants program and the response was overwhelming, with more than 100 entries. “It was no easy task to whittle down 104 entries to the final five,” said Joe Cavaretta, one of the judges of the competition. “I was blown away by the overall quality of the submissions. There were so many good ideas, we could have easily given out 20 grants. So for those who didn't make it, by all means try again next year, and those who did, you inspired me and I hope to see your stories in Best of Photojournalism!”
Cavaretta was joined by fellow judges Anita Baca and Matt Lee in determining the winners. NPPA president Elliot commended the committee “for selecting such an outstanding set of winners for what I hope will be our inaugural round of these awards.”
Short Grants Chair Alicia Wagner Calzada said she is optimistic that the program will continue next year.
“The first ever Short Grants competition was a great success and the leadership seems very supportive of continuing. It’s exciting for the NPPA to be able to help photographers tell these great stories from our communities and we will make every effort to continue this opportunity.”
The grants are made possible with funds from overseas reprographic rights organizations which give money to organizations like NPPA, through the Author’s Coalition, to benefit U.S.-based professional photographers.
For more information on NPPA's Short Grant program contact Calzada at [email protected]