24 November 2020

Laura El-Tantawy claims the PHmuseum 2020 Women Photographers Grant 1st Prize

24 November 2020 - Written by PhMuseum

Her project I'll Die For You is a visual meditation on the bond between man and nature. See all the awarded project at!

From I'll Die For You © Laura El-Tantawy

An independent jury comprised of Adama Delphine Fawundu (Artist and co-founder of MFON), Mariama Attah (Curator at Open Eye Gallery Photography Museum in Liverpool), Magdalena Herrera (Director of Photography Geo France) and River Bullock(Curatorial Fellow, MoMA Department of Photography) has awarded the £5,000 PHmuseum 2020 Women Photographers Grant Main Prize to Egyptian photographer Laura El-Tantawy for her project I'll Die For You where she explores farming as a diminishing way of life as a consequence of persistent climatic variations, harsh physical and economic demands, its singular nature and a disposition towards urban living. Judge Magdalena Herrera explains the panel choice: “Even without reading the presentation Laura El-Tantawy's I'll Die For You immediately speaks of a topical, compelling subject. In all the images, the rich, evocative textures show that the earth is part of humanity, and humanity is part of the earth. We feel the work of time passing and the sadness of the loss.”

The £2,000 Second Prize was claimed by American photographer Dannielle Bowman for her project What Had Happened, a visual interpretation of the places where the photographers grew up in California in which she opens her own history to ask questions about the role location and landscape play in personal evolution. "In her work What Had Happened - explains judge Adama Delphine Fawundu - Dannielle Bowman used her creative photographic lens to interrogate the location and landscape within the Los Angeles neighborhoods that she grew up in. This personal narrative extends to a larger conversation and historicity as it relates to American history. Referencing the Great Migration, in which approximately 6 million Black People moved from the South to various cities and created new opportunities for themselves, Bowman uses the materiality of place, landscapes, framed bodies, and abstraction to speak about the complexity of place, memory, and history. She asks, how and where cultural artifacts of Black American Life and the great Migration exist today? Using the attentive process of large format 4 x5 film, Bowman successfully creates a series of black-and-white photographs that explore collective memory, displacement, family history and cultural signifiers and notions of home."

From Shipibo-Konibo: An Indigenous Community Resists With Medicinal Plants Against The Covid-19 @ Florence Goupil

The £1,000 Third Prize went to French-Peruvian photographer Florence Goupil for her work Shipibo-Konibo: An Indigenous Community Resists With Medicinal Plants Against The Covid-19 Virus where she documents how link between the indigenous community indigenous and the natural environment is at risk also due to the pandemic. "Florence Goupil sensitively documents the Shipibo-Konibo people, an indigenous community in the Peruvian Amazon, as they fight for their lives against the COVID-19 virus using traditional plant based medicines - comments judge River Encalada Bullock. Isolated and largely abandoned by the Peruvian government, the Shipibo-Konibo face genocide by negligence; as Goupil recounts, in July alone there were more than 2,000 deaths killing many indigenous leaders and the knowledge they carried with them. Poignant portraits of healers, patients, and nurses in relationship with plants: Boains, Rue, Ginger, Matico or “Rocaroca Noi Rao,'' gesture toward Shipibo-Konibo cosmology that place plants and humans in protective and intimate relation. Goupil conveys with urgency the precarity of individual lives by pairing images with detailed captions that together clearly demonstrate the community's agency and resilience in self-organizing forms of collective care amidst crisis. Goupil’s project is essential work in helping us acknowledge the people and knowledges put at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic."

The Main Prize Honorable Mentions were assigned respectively to Eleonora Strano (Ex Materia), Gabriella N. Báez (Ojalá Nos Encontremos En El Mar), Mehbuba Mahzabeen Hasan (Lost In Transition), Naomieh Jovin (Gwo Fanm), Sofia Lopez Mañan (Nature Is Dead), and Spandita Malik (Nā́rī)

From "It Is Well": An Ode To Karabo © Lebo Thoka

The £2,000 New Generation Prize, aimed at supporting a photographer under 30 years of age, was claimed by South African photographer Lebo Thoka who applied with the project "It Is Well": An Ode To Karabo, which aims to document the stories of South African women across economic backgrounds, ethnicities and races who have fallen victim to the scourge of femicide in South Africa. Judge Mariama Attah motivates the panel choice: “Lebo Thoka draws on the long history of studio portraiture and uses the very current source material of domestic violence in South Africa to create a body of work that is resounding, compelling, and provocative. In It Is Well: An Ode To Karabo Thoka appears as the specter of the Black Virgin Mary upon which the violence, abuse, and repression of femicide are played out. Here, photography has been engaged to communicate a painful, present, and pressing issue in a way that doesn’t diminish the severity of the issue. Each portrait, accompanied by a title detailing their senseless deaths, is an intimate and startling look into the last brutal moments of these women and positions them in a state of peace and power.”

Charmaine Poh (How They Love), Nanna Heitmann (Inside Russia’s Surreal Battle Against The Pandemic) and Valeria Arendar (Two Times Mary) were awarded an Honorable Mention in the New Generation category.

Some Kind Of Heavenly Fire © Maria Lax

A solo show at PHmuseum Lab was granted to Finnish photographer Maria Lax, who will showcase her project Some Kind Of Heavenly Fire in May 2021 in Bologna, Italy. PHmuseum's Director Giuseppe Oliverio and Curator Rocco Venezia commented: "In a moment where instability and fake news are part of our everyday life, Maria's project represents an important and meaningful metaphor of the insecurity intrinsic in human nature. Beyond the technological improvements, scientific evidence, and all the progress that characterized the past century, her evocative images both sinister and spectacular depicts Northern Finland in a transitional moment and makes us reflect on our own fears and hopes, and who we are as a community."

The photography department of Vogue Italia, which is supporting the open call since the very first day, selected three projects that will be featured on the magazine in 2021. Respectively Lost In Transition by Mehbuba Mahzabeen Hasan (selected by the Brand Visual Director Alessia Glaviano), Nature Is Dead by Sofia Lopez Mañan (selected by Photo Editor Chiara Bardelli Nonino), and A Sensitive Education by Francesca Todde (selected by Photo Editor Francesca Marani). Flat Space by Su Ji Lee, Votive Figure by Marta Zgierska, and Los Hijos De Pariacaca by Prin Rodriguez will instead be featured on YET Magazine.

Last but not least, photographers Andrea Selene Morales Ugalde, Eleonora Agostini, Farren Van Wyk It's Still Dark, Juexin Kong, Orly Morgenstern, Sophie Gabrielle, Stephanie Braun, and Teva Cosic will benefit of a 60-min free portfolio review with a mentor of their choice from the PHmuseum Education Program.

A warm thank you goes to all the applicants and supporters of this 4th edition. We'll work hard to promote many projects on our channels in the coming months and to give life to the following edition. Our next call open calls are Intersection Vol.1 (currently open for submissions) and the PHmuseum 2021 Photography Grant (opening in January). Stay tuned and see all the awarded projects at

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