Join our mailing list]]>
The FotoVisura Grants aim to support personal photography projects and encourage the production and development of photography outside the commercial realm. The Grants are divided into two categories: The FotoVisura Grant for Outstanding Personal Project and The Spotlight Grant for Outstanding Student Project.
The FotoVisura Grant is eligible for projects not initiated by an assignment or commission.
The Spotlight Grant is open to individuals currently in an under graduate or graduate program, or a recent graduate, having graduated after January 1st 2010.
• The FotoVisura Grant for Outstanding Personal Photography Project
First prize: $2,000.00 + Prizes
• The Spotlight Grant for Outstanding Student Photography Project
First prize: $1,000.00 + Prizes
We are delighted to announce this year’s judges
Judges of the 2011 FotoVisura Grant: Claire O’Neill, Editor & Writer, NPR Picture Show; Patrick Witty, International Picture Editor, Time Magazine; James Estrin, New York Times Senior Staff Photography & co-editor of NY Times Lens Blog; Elizabeth Avedon, Curator; Adriana Teresa, Editor-in-chief, Visura Magazine.
Judges of the 2011 Spotlight Grant: Ariel Shanberg, Center for Photography at Woodstock; Sam Barzilay, Director & Founding Staff Member New York Photo Festival; Amber Terranova, Photo Editor, PDN Magazine; Nathalie Herschdorfer, Curator; Graham Letorney, Editor, Visura Spotlight, Guest Curator, NPR Picture Show.]]>
People have said that since America elected its first black president, we have transitioned into a post-racial society. They assume if he can succeed, then all people of color can do the same. This is not reality for those living in Chester, Pennsylvania. People there grew up in an environment where forces everywhere are against them. Gravity seems to be stronger there and less forgiving. It is a place where pollution alters cognitive development, violence and crime are commonplace, poverty is oppressive, and jobs are virtually non existent.
This project is an attempt to bring awareness to the issues that plague many inner city black communities, like Chester, throughout America. Most importantly, though, it’s an attempt to show the resilience present in these communities. I was besieged while witnessing the issues weighing heavily on the lives of the people in this community. In experimenting with multiple exposures, I attempt to speak to the complexities that are so tightly woven into their lives. I wanted to create images that had layers of understanding in them, where one could see more of the true complications of life in Chester.
If you walk these streets, you pass people in a trance, people who speak without being heard. You see children with shallow eyes, and deep scars. Ghosts are everywhere, fading from neglect. People are forced to carry this burden and thus required to be strong to withstand it. In the continuation of this work, I wish to thoroughly explore the dichotomy present in the community. The interrelated nature of both scarcity and the resulting development of strength required to overcome such a crises.
The political necessity of documenting the community for positive change is a driving force in my pursuit of this work, but the most significant reason lies in the deep attachments I formed over the years of working in this community. My investment in the welfare of these individuals is what keeps me returning. My only desire is that when this work is complete, it shows the care I have for these families who have embraced me as one of their own.
Justin Maxon’s FV Profile]]>
When embarking on my research I hoped to find images of black people that displayed a superficially impartial aesthetic, like those of Julia Margaret Cameron, and Fred Holland Day in the 19th century, but by black photographers. However, such images showing positive representations of black subjects were not evident in the British national archives.
I was astonished by this lack of visibility and could hardly believe that in Britain, unlike in the USA, representations of black people by black photographers, from the time of the invention of Photography onwards, did not exist.
My search for images relating to the construction of black identity, by non-black photographers, led me to the discovery that historic representations of the “other” do not record and reveal the authentic, but instead, are burdened by political circumstances and colonial conditioning. The images I encountered, like Louis Agassiz’s slave portraits presented uniformly negative (to our contemporary eyes) stereotypes that seem to have produced harmful constructions of black identity.
The title of my work ‘Study of Kin’, balances early photographic representation of the colonial “other” with the scientific, documentary nature of classification. It is based on the visual landscape that has been mapped and codified by other photographers, anthropologists, criminologists, biological racialists and eugenicists, who added to the competing discourses on race during the 19th and 20th centuries. The title refers to the study of man to which anthropological and ethnographical ways of seeing difference/other have often been associated, in this case, my family are the ones being looked at, hence the use of the term ‘Kin’.
Throughout the colonial and post-colonial period, photography was used as a powerful instrument for measurement and surveillance. Nudity was used as a visual marker of primitive and underdeveloped races – seen as akin to animals. This primitiveness was one the markers used against black-skinned peoples to prove their ‘inferiority”. This allowed the gaze of the white viewer to survey the bodies of the “other” not as individual people but as objects to examine, to use, and to own.
I have visualized the sitters, in particular in the portrait work, as carriers of that past. The bare back, a powerful symbol of the whipping of slaves, suggests the view of the black person as “something” to be controlled and managed. The semi-nude double portrait could reflect the attitude of the anthropologist’s need to look and document. The image in which the face is partially hidden employs the artistic yet emphatic view of the other. While at the same time it has a hidden political agenda, like in the images of Prince Alamayou by Julia Margaret Cameron. The showing of the shoulder hints at the colonial mode of power in which control of the body is central, denoting ownership.
I have chosen to use the formal, scientific, colonial style of image making, to emphasie the relationship of historical image representation to our contemporary lives. This involves use of the ‘studio type’ backdrop which (historically) transforms those photographed into specimens by dehumanizing them from subject to object. I have chosen to add an aesthetic intimacy and/or romanticism that shows not only familial connections but also a displacement of the ethnographic patronizing frame.