06 February 2018

Application Advice from the PHM 2018 Grant Judges

06 February 2018 - Written by Simon Hall

Roger Ballen and the PHmuseum 2018 Grant panel of judges tell us what they will be looking for when reviewing the submissions. Take advantage of these relevant insights at the time of preparing your projects.

© Salvatore Vitale, from the series How to Secure a Country (PHM 2017 Grant winner)

In addition to the various prizes that support the production and promotion of visual stories, the PHmuseum 2018 Grant also offers the opportunity to get your work seen by a recognised panel of judges who could, in the future, invite you to participate in festivals or publish your stories in a magazine. Each of the jurors have their own ideas and will bring a unique set of judging criteria to the process, so it is important to learn more about them before applying. To help you prepare your projects, they provided us with an insight into what they will value most at the moment of reviewing the work and awarding the prizes.

“I am looking for stories with a strong cohesive narrative” says independent Photo Editor and Cultural Producer, Monica Allende. “Thematically they can either be completely new and surprising stories or be topics which are often told but have been revisited with a new approach and thought process. I am open to experimental ideas and practices, as long as there is a balance between form and concept and the former doesn’t override the latter."

© Antonio Faccilongo, from the series Habibi (PHM 2017 Grant 2nd Prize winner)

Genevieve Fussell, whose role as Senior Photo Editor at The New Yorker involves sifting through new works and trends, will be particularly interested in approaches to visual storytelling that are original and inventive. "I want to be in awe of the work” she explains. “I want to see images I’ve never seen from stories I’ve never encountered. I want to feel like I am looking at something fresh and unique."

Adopting a similar perspective, photographer and artist Roger Ballen reaffirms this importance of applying with stories that explore the boundaries of image-making. "I feel that the photographs should display strong metaphoric qualities that go beyond the usual themes being produced everywhere today” he tells us. “As a formalist, I think that the photos should be well integrated and well composed with a strong organic quality. The meaning of the photo should be clearly portrayed in the image itself without the need for an explanatory essay to accompany it” he continues.

© Jacob Aue Sobol, from the series Road of Bones (PHM 2017 Grant 3rd Prize winner)

For Emilia van Lynden, the Artistic Director of Unseen, being a member of this jury represents a chance to make new discoveries. "There are a vast amount of stories being told annually by determined practitioners wishing to highlight personal or global issues. The majority of these stories are not being seen” she says. “Through reviewing the submissions of the Grant, I hope to discover compelling and comprehensive projects that rightfully deserve to be presented to a larger audience."

This collective advice represents a great opportunity to prepare your submissions accordingly. Take these words into consideration, be self-critical, edit carefully, and seek advice from peers. We are looking forward to reviewing your projects, offering you career changing opportunities and together recognising the importance of compelling visual storytelling.


Learn more about this year's independent panel of judges and submit your project(s) at Deadline: 21 February.

Written by

Simon Hall

Reading time

3 minutes

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