25 April 2017

Salvatore Vitale Wins the PHmuseum 2017 Photography Grant

25 April 2017 - Written by PhMuseum

Italian photographer Salvatore Vitale won the PHM 2017 Grant with How To Secure A Country, a project that explores Switzerland’s national security program.

© Salvatore Vitale (1st Prize Winner), from the series, How To Secure A Country

A jury composed of Sarah Leen (National Geographic), Emma Bowkett (Financial Times Magazine), IhiroHayami (Tokyo Photography Festival) and Alejandro Chaskielberg (Photographer) awarded the PHM 2017Grant first prize of £7,000 to the project How to Secure a Country by Italian photographer Salvatore Vitale.

Emma Bowkett explains the jury’s choice, saying "Salvatore Vitale's extraordinary project How To Secure A Country is a forensic examination of national security in one of the safest countries on the planet. This work challenges the concept of power and control, shining a light on wider issues of mass migration and fear." Ihiro Hayami added "Salvatore Vitale has managed to gain access to one of the most difficult places to photograph; border control. He tries to capture, or examine, the abstract concept of security through the fragments of scenes and successfully presents, in a new way, such a concept. It is a strong and suggestive work that standsout, especially in the current political climate."

© Antonio Faccilongo (2nd Prize Winner), from the series, Habibi

The second prize of £3,000 went to Antonio Faccilongo’s project Habibi, which tells the story of Palestinian prisoners’ wives who have turned to sperm smuggling in order to conceive children through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) from their husbands who are serving long-term sentences in Israeli jails. Sarah Leen said the work "was a fresh and surprising way to envision the effects of the Palestinian crisis on families. While difficult to photograph, Faccilongo has found subtle and intimate ways to tell a story about a secret. The images retain a delicacy and glancing nature that is appropriate to the subject matter. Though the photographer's accessto the women, their families, the clinics, and the prisons was limited, he was quite able to convey the essential nature of this intriguing story. Well done!"

© Jacob Aue Subol (3rd Prize Winner), from the series, Road of Bones

Danish photographer, Jacob Aue Subol claimed the third prize of £1,000 with Road of Bones, a story thatventures deep into Siberia focusing on the life of the resilient people who continue to live there, the region’s gruesome history, the nomadic way of life that came before, the staggering beauty of the landscapes, and thecontrasts of it all. Judge Alejandro Chaskielberg commented "Road of Bones is an intimate and familiar narration of one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. It is an extraordinary work that persists in our memory for its rawness and simple reading. In this project, people and objects merge through the textures. The frames are eerily closed and one wonders: what is outside of them? What is hidden in this part of Siberia? The visual power of this work is relentless and unites photography with graphics, ink painting, and animé."

© Karim El Maktafi (New Generation Prize winner), from the series, Hayati

The New Generation Prize of £1,000 - assigned to a photographer under 25 years of age - was awarded to Italian-Moroccan photographer Karim El Maktafi by a jury featuring Kate Bubacz (BuzzFeed News), Fiona Rogers (Magnum Photos), Poulomi Basu (Photographer and Founder of JAPF) and Alejandro Kirchuk (PHmuseum). His project, Hayati, investigates and reflects upon the identities of "second generations" - children of immigrants, born and raised in Italy, who balance two realities that at first sight might seemincompatible. Fiona Rogers said of Karim’s work “Hayati is an excellent example of the hybridity of contemporary documentary. Highly personal, yet with undertones of photojournalism, he weaves an intriguing story which seamlessly mixes his photography with archival images, treading a thin line between reality and fiction."

© Sandra Mehl (Winner of the Cortona OTM prize), from the series, Ilona and Maddelena

The Cortona On The Move prize, which grants a solo exhibition at the upcoming edition of the festival, was assigned by Cortona’s Artistic Director Arianna Rinaldo to Sandra Mehl’s project Ilona and Maddalena. Rinaldoexplained her choice, saying "Sandra Mehl’s voice is realistic, ironic, sweet and sour at the same time. The story is simple: 2 young sisters living in the South of France, in a low-income family. They are young girls, from a working class neighbourhood. Sandra's natural gaze is non-invasive but quite intimate, non-pietistic but slightly melancholic. It is as if the girls are speaking to us in their spontaneous words, offering a glimpse into their life that breathes of desires and dreams, of hopes and fear. An ordinary story, poetically moving, that speaks a universal language, and reveals the warmness and fragility of life."

The juries also awarded six honorable mentions in the Main Prize category, namely War of a forgotten nation (Emilien Urbano), Kajnikaj (Kaja Rata), The Hunter (Alvaro Laiz), Let us now fall asleep (David Denil), Heaven’sgain (Justin Maxon) and Every night temo ser la dinner (Sofia Ayarzagotia)

Vinny and David (Isadora Kosofsky), Thanks Maggie (David Severn) and Wireless (Luke Withers) received honorable mentions in the New Generation Prize category.


To learn more and see the awarded works, go to

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