With Leica Ambassador & photographer Holly-Marie Cato and in partnership with WePresent by WeTransfer, Leica Camera UK selects three grantees to receive funding. Last month, applicants were invited to apply to the open call hosted on Picer.
First prize was awarded to Tamibe Bourdanne who will receive a £5,000 grant. Bourdanne, who resides in London but is originally from West Africa, will use this grant to continue his ongoing project on the Celestial Church Of Christ which seeks to increase awareness of African Culture and religion.
“For this project I was drawn to explore the Celestial Church Of Christ. I organised this shoot to display some of their ceremonial practises. The use of fruits, perfume, incense, and candles is primordial to their ceremonies. The use of songs and worship are also part to the ceremonies. Being in Water or close to it is also part of their location of choice. It really unlocked a new world for me and I felt this experience to be needed to witness for all of us hence why I strongly want to push for this project to go further. This was the beginning of an ongoing project which I believe could have an impact of awareness of African Culture and religion to the world.”
Tamibe’s work gripped us all. Beyond capturing white garment churches found in Nigeria with great intensity, we were all moved by his reportage skills documenting communities across Chad, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. We anticipate Tamibe’s work to continue to uncover origin stories for the Black diaspora, with this grant and mentorshipHolly-Marie Cato, photographer and curator and Leica UK’s Black History Month
Two photographers were selected as runner-ups, both receiving £2,500 grants to finish ongoing projects. Runner-up Dola Posh will use her award to support her project on motherhood and the relationship between a mother and their child, documenting this in her birth country of Nigeria.
It’s vital that the world sees Black mothers’ joys and for Black women to feel represented and seenDola Posh, 2022 Leica Camera UK Black History Month Grantee
“Due to the lockdown and Isolation, I suffered from postpartum depression, which is typical for new mothers, especially those who didn’t have help and were isolated from the world. My anxiety grew due to fear of being unable to make a living from my work after having a child. Statistically, many Black women do not seek or get help during this phase. The postpartum depression confused my self-identity. However, it has now passed as photography and documenting my feelings have taken me into a creative, happy place. It’s vital that the world sees Black mothers’ joys and for Black women to feel represented and seen.”—Dola Posh
“Dola’s photo series had an almost religious quality to it, borrowing from iconography to create work that is deeply personal and reflective of her own journey and struggles. It felt intimate, honest and unflinching, and the fact that she wants to use her own experience to connect with other new mothers to create not just work, but also community, is inspiring.” – Holly Fraser
Myah Jeffers will receive the second £2,500 grant, to develop her personal photography project, which documents Black body builders and seeks to explore themes of body memory, migration, diaspora, and the construction of identities.
“For “Returning to Soil” I photographed a number of family members’ funerals throughout the year. Interestingly, although the implicit subject of this series is the deceased, it felt imperative to document those who are still here, honouring their transition by gathering to celebrate their life. This series explores the quiet moments of solitude, the acts of ritualised service and the moments of connection within the Black Caribbean tradition of funerals – all moments that best reflect Black interiority; a state of deep reflection and an uncovering of one’s inner spirit.”—Myah Jeffers
Myah’s work captures identity in a way that feels rare and moving.Holly Fraser, Editor in Chief of WePresent by WeTransfer
“Myah’s work captures identity in a way that feels rare and moving. She was able to connect emotionally with her subjects, and bring that to life through her art in order to allow the viewer to share their experience, even in moments that are deeply personal. She approaches the complexity of identity with the care and nuance that it deserves and I look forward to seeing what she does next.” – Holly Fraser