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Last Year Prize Recipients On The PhMuseum Photography Grant
Published30 Jan 2024
- Topics Awards
Tara Laure Claire Sood, András Ladocsi, Camille Lévêque and Joseph Ladron De Guevara reflect on the joy of seeing their practice grow and being able to connect with other people's work.
What did being a recipient mean for you, personally and professionally?
Camille: It is always reassuring and uplifting to have professionals in your field recognize the quality of your work. It is a form of validation that provides energy to carry on and is much needed from time to time as the industry is quite competitive to say the least.
Tara: The prize allowed me to bring to life the next chapter of my work. It was a sign to keep pursuing a bigger dream to give back to my community but also allow myself to explore outside it and realise that my work can live in more global spheres and reach further than expected. To be supported by an institution and a jury that I have immense respect for brought a lot to me personally and gave me an even bigger drive to continue my work.
András: Both professionally and personally it meant lot, it was great to get the feedback that doing this project makes sense to others as well, and to be able to present it to others in general was just a pleasure itself.
Joseph: When I sent my submission to the contest, I was going through a difficult time in my life. Being selected as a recipient meant a lot of motivation and refocusing my energies on my craft, and my career as a visual artist. In that sense, on a personal level it meant an answer to many questions and doubts that I had regarding the professional aspect of my relationship with the image, and it pushed me to dedicate myself to my visual work.
Looking back at that specific moment of your career, how did the prize help you pursuing your practice? How has it developed since then?
András: I am doing the same thing as before, continuing the work and follow what interests me and pushing myself further.
Tara: Winning the prize was a catalyst to building a level of credibility that I have always wanted to achieve for my community and for my work. To know that people are keen to hear more stories about India is a hopeful message that I hope future applicants can understand as an even bigger gift than the prize itself. As image makers isn’t the whole idea to reflect the times we live in and perhaps become a vessel for change even if only in the smallest degree possible? Let's be honest, we are not curing cancer so let our images at least make a difference and consider our important role in culture to help erase outdated mindsets and stay hopeful that we can foster deep change in the way we interact with each other. On a more aesthetic level, the prize has allowed me to bring my work into a new phase. I would hope that my current work shows a deeper, more refined understanding of how cultural narratives can live within both a staged and documentary capacity. I would describe it as a much needed ‘coming of age’.
Camille: It did not technically help me pursue my practice but rather encouraged me to keep working on this project. This work is still ongoing.
Joseph: Winning that award helped me a lot with my career in the sense that I was able to have more freedom and time to focus on my personal artistic projects, while also obtaining more equipment and material related to my projects. From that moment to now, my photography practice has evolved considerably, and my creative possibilities have greatly expanded.
What made you decide to apply in the first place, and why do you think it can be worthy?
Camille: I have been following PhMuseum for the beginning I think, and I enjoy the quality and variety of visual works they promote and support. I am also almost always interested in getting feedback for the professional they select for the jury.
Tara: It was a shot in the dark! But I believed that it was a story that needed to be seen because it brings India to an audience in a way that has not been depicted before - through a surrealist lens that can perhaps share a more romanticised, dreamlike vision that I would hope could begin to replace any notions and stereotypes that are still alive today. India is a country of incredibly talented artists and artisans - I believe the archival techniques should be celebrated as much as possible before they potentially disappear.
András: I was researching the previous project and I saw things I truly admire therefore I thought I would love to be part of that community.
Joseph: Before the PhMuseum Photography Grant, I had never participated in a contest of this type. Although I have been a follower of the contest for years, this was the first time I dared to submit a work. I was motivated to see that the nature of the selected works was closely related to my vision and my ideas about the visual. I think it is very worth it because that way you connect with many other works, and understand aspects of your own to work on, to improve the project. And if you are selected as a recipient, all the better! It's win or win.
Do you have any advice to share with future applicants?
Tara: Consider creating a body of work that shares a new perspective on a topic that adds to the world - and then ask yourself the real questions: Why am I choosing this as my subject? (especially if documentary). What am I trying to say here? And even bring into question your own integrity as an artist - Would I make the same work even if there was no audience to see it?
Camille: Don’t send something you are unsure of. You can always apply next year or to something else. Rushing an application will very probably expose you to rejection when it’s not a matter of quality but rather of “being ready”.
Joseph: I could only tell them to have great confidence in their work, and in the first motivation that led them to do it. Be transparent with your motivations and transfer this sincerity to your visual creation. Let them feel deeply what they narrate, so that those who see it feel it that way too. May you be one with your work, and grow with it, answering questions and learning things in the process.
András: Don’t hesitate to apply.
What are you working on right now?
Joseph: Right now I am working on turning my project into a photobook, since that was the intention with which I conceived it from the beginning. This is a slow process, and it is requiring help from people and new points of view. On the other hand, I am working on a new project in which I address another facet of my life, related to hip hop, especially breaking and graffiti, which are two disciplines that I have practiced for many years.
Camille: I am still working on the project I applied with (Tsavt Tanem), as well as the publication of a book for a previous project, and I am starting a research residency on the theme of refugees.
Tara: My newest series/book and a documentary film that will be released later this year brought mainly to life by the prize grant.
András: I am working on the book of this project I applied with and on some other moving image ideas. I applied for a residency opportunity as well so fingers crossed.
The PhMuseum Photography Grant has established itself as a leading prize in the industry over the last 12 years, renowned for recognising the importance of contemporary photography and for supporting emergent artists through cash prizes, exhibitions at international festivals, educational activities and exposure on online media. You are welcome to present your work before 15 February 2024 at 11.59 pm (GMT). Learn more and apply at phmuseum.com/g24