Cédrine Scheidig Receives the PhMuseum 2023 Women Photographers Grant 1st Prize

The New Generation Prize went to Mexican photographer Maria Montes Duran. Discover all the prize recipients and read the jury's motivations.

A independent jury comprised of Anna Goldwater Alexander (Director of Photography, WIRED), Bindi Vora (Visual Artist and Curator, Autograph), Holly Roussell (Curator, UCCA), Taous Dahmani (Curator, Louis Roederer Discovery Award at Les Rencontres d’Arles & Editor, The Eyes Magazine) assigned the €5,000 PhMuseum 2023 Women Photographers Grant 1st Prize to Cédrine Scheidig for her project Les Mornes, Le Feu (The Dunes, The Fire).

Accompagnied by her fascination for Caribbean urban culture and esotericism, her pictures are taken on a parking lot of Fort-de-France, in the French oversea islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. Through her work, the artist conveys a poetry of a local hybrid, ever-evolving culture with a unique narrative, where the diversity of identities blends harmoniously into a quest for personal and collective expression. Bindi Vora explains the choice on behalf of the jury: "Cédrine Scheidig’s Les Mornes, Le Feu (The Dunes, The Fire) offers a renewed perspective to challenge the complexities of what constitutes an Afro-Caribbean identity today. Through the lens of a generation of young men practicing rodeo in the French overseas islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, Scheidig skilfully weaves together fragments of urban landscapes, hybrid cultures, and new spaces, to offer a tender yet vibrant expression of how diasporic experiences and black masculinity are being re-shaped, her works convey a poetry to unravel the dominant narratives that have for so long prevailed."

The €2,000-second prize was awarded to Indian photographer Pretika Menon and her project Ave Maria, which bring to light a love letter between a family and their home. The choice is explained by juror Holly Roussell: "Pretika Menon’s ongoing body of work Ave Maria is announced as "a love letter between a family and their home". Telling the story of a family composed uniquely of female protagonists, an uncommon situation in India, Menon presents their reality in a series of black-and-white diptychs. We are guided, as if travelling through time, by twin teenage sisters –who are always looking directly at the camera. Their images are juxtaposed alongside ostrich eggs on the family table, the tired legs of a grandmother, a wooden toy rocket, as well as the playful forms of shadow-puppets, wilting flowers, and a bed frame delicately poised on the edge of the wildflower hewn grass. Eschewing strong colour contrasts, Menon’s images seem to relish the potential depths of grey, evoking the liminal space between culturally prescribed convention and the individual realities of her protagonists. The project unanimously impressed our jury. The works are remarkable for the approach to editing for sequence, and an ability to draw attention to underrepresented voices in an honest, intelligent and playful manner. I hope to see the photo book someday!"

The third prize of €1,000 was awarded to Polly Tootal and her project London Burning. Taous Dahmani explains the jury’s decision: "The power of Polly Tootal’s series London Burning lies in the visualisation — in the most striking way — of the effects of the climate crisis in urban western localities. It does not represent at risk remote places but speaks of the surroundings of decision makers in London. Imaging the climate crisis is an incredible challenge, but one Polly Tootal crafts with efficiency and forcefulness. In a country known for its rainy weather, 40 degrees celsius is indeed an unusual and worrying peak. Thanks to its cinematic value — smoky metropolitan landscape — Tootal comments on the intersection of class and the environment: static (powerless) inhabitants are left witnessing the burning of their neighborhoods."

The New Generation Prize offering €2,000 was assigned to Hispanic-American photographer Maria Montes Duran who presented her project ¿Cómo Te Sientes Ahora? Anna Goldwater Alexander explains the jury’s choice: "Maria Montes Duran began the creation of her project ¿Cómo te sientes ahora? (How are you feeling now?) when she was just 18 years old. That was only two years ago. She approaches this incredibly strong series as if she’s been living for way over two decades. Her experience, knowledge and family pride is accomplished visually. It’s evident that she did many hours of research discovering her heritage, there was so much to learn about the importance of her culture which was reflected in multiple mediums. She used studio still life, documentary, projection, collage and even text to conceptualize such personal artwork. It’s a perfect collaboration of these different techniques that is most impressive, and makes Duran wise way beyond her years."

Three artists and their projects were extensively considered by the judges and eventually recognised with an Honourable Mention: Trailblazers by Lina GeoushyZabenzi's File by Marina Zabenzi, and Woman Wearing Ring Shields Face from Flash by Odette England.

The jury also recognised three Honourable Mentions for the New Generation Prize category: My Friends Are Cyborgs, But That’s Okay by Jingru Wang, Family Romance by Yashna Kaul, and Bellissima by Carla Rossi.

Rita Puig-Serra Costas' Anatomy of an Oyster was chosen by Phmuseum for a Solo Show at the Phmuseum Lab. Giuseppe Oliverio, PhMuseum’s director, explains how they selected the work that will be exhibited in Bologna (Italy), in 2024: The mother-of-pearl, which will in time become the pearl, begins to form when a foreign element is introduced into the oyster. This metaphor is at the core of Rita Puig Serra’s reflection on the abuse she suffered as a child. The work questions how trauma can embed in our bowels, and grow together with us; how difficult it is to understand, and to engage in the delicate operation to reveal it. The author does so splendidly. Her narrative is as poetic as sharp, associating detailed photographs of the removal of a pearl to archival images and self-portraits. Together they bring us into the physical and psychological dimensions of her personal experience, and communicate the importance of sharing, empathising and empowering - a further reason to exhibit the work in our space and continue the reflection with our audience."

Isabel Okoro’s Constructing Eternity was selected for a featured interview in Vogue Italia by the curatorial team comprising Alessia Glaviano, Chiara Bardelli and Francesca Marani.

Moreover, 6 artists were awarded with a 60-min free portfolio review with a mentor of their choice from the PhMuseum Education Program, recognising their talent and helping them to further develop their promising projects: Giulia Thinnes for ... It’s Easier For Me Like That ..., Ponita Keo for Beauty And The Pigs, Fernanda Soto Mastrantonio for The Cumbias We Heard Up There, Kaiwei Duan for Don't Leave Me, Alejandra Arévalo for Blood Under The Sundown Light and Safia Mirzai for Our Dawning Day Draws Its First Breath.

A big thank you to all participants, jurors and organisations who supported this 7th edition of the grant. We will keep working to boost the careers of more talented female photographers in the coming years.

The grants program will return in January 2024 with the 12th edition of the PhMuseum Photography Grant. Stay tuned at phmuseum.com/grants!

Les Mornes, le Feu © Cédrine Scheidig 1st Prize Winner
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Les Mornes, le Feu © Cédrine Scheidig 1st Prize Winner

Ave Maria © Pretika Menon 2nd Prize Winner
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Ave Maria © Pretika Menon 2nd Prize Winner

London Burning © Polly Tootal 3rd Prize Winner
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London Burning © Polly Tootal 3rd Prize Winner

¿Cómo te sientes ahora? © Maria Montes Duran, New Generation Prize Winner
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¿Cómo te sientes ahora? © Maria Montes Duran, New Generation Prize Winner

Trailblazers © Lina Geoushy, Main Prize Honourable Mention
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Trailblazers © Lina Geoushy, Main Prize Honourable Mention

Zabenzi's File © Marina Zabenzi, Main Prize Honourable Mention
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Zabenzi's File © Marina Zabenzi, Main Prize Honourable Mention

Woman Wearing Ring Shields Face from Flash © Odette England, Main Prize Honourable Mention
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Woman Wearing Ring Shields Face from Flash © Odette England, Main Prize Honourable Mention

My Friends Are Cyborgs, But That’s Okay © Jingru Wang, New Generation Prize Honourable Mention
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My Friends Are Cyborgs, But That’s Okay © Jingru Wang, New Generation Prize Honourable Mention

Family Romance © Yashna Kaul, New Generation Prize Honourable Mention
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Family Romance © Yashna Kaul, New Generation Prize Honourable Mention

Bellissima © Carla Rossi, New Generation Prize Honourable Mention
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Bellissima © Carla Rossi, New Generation Prize Honourable Mention

Anatomy of an Oyster © Rita Puig-Serra Costas, Solo Show at PhMuseum Lab
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Anatomy of an Oyster © Rita Puig-Serra Costas, Solo Show at PhMuseum Lab

Constructing Eternity © Isabel Okoro, Vogue Italia Featured Interview Prize
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Constructing Eternity © Isabel Okoro, Vogue Italia Featured Interview Prize

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