Now in its sixth year, Women Photograph awards seven recipients of the Women Photograph Project Grants $5,000 each, and one grant recipient of the The Women Photograph + Leica Grant $10,000.
This week, Women Photograph announced the recipients of their 2022 grants. The Women Photograph Project Grants of $5,000 have been awarded to Rehab Eldalil, Mahé Elipe, Jaimy Gail, Takako Kido, Barbara Peacock, Ana Elisa Sotelo, and Cansu Yildiran. Lastly, The Women Photograph + Leica Grant of $10,000 has been awarded to Greta Rico. In total, Women Photograph received 1,300 applications from women and nonbinary photographers around the world.
We caught up with Daniella Zalcman, Founder & Executive Director of Women Photograph to find our more about Women Photograph and the grants they offer.
what was your motivation/inspiration behind creating Women Photograph?
The photojournalism industry remains a woefully un-diverse space. I’ve always fundamentally understood that from so often being the only woman working in a crowd of photographers during my early years as a newspaper photographer in New York. In 2015 World Press Photo started publishing their State of the Industry Report and it numerically confirmed what we all knew: that roughly only about 15 percent of the workforce was made up of women. I decided to make a list, and the Women Photograph database was born. While our primary focus is obviously on gender diversity, we believe this work is intersectional — and we know that the visual media industry can’t hope to document our world with clarity, depth, and nuance until our workforce is as diverse as the communities we cover.
what has been the most rewarding part of creating Women Photograph?
While I’m extremely proud of all of the programming that we’ve developed as a team — in addition to the grants, we also have a year-long mentorship program, an annual skills-building workshop, and a team that collects data on hiring and publishing statistics in the industry — I think the best thing to come out of Women Photograph has been the community. It’s been incredible to see members in our private digital spaces sharing resources, information, and insights with each other. When I started out as an independent photojournalist, it definitely felt like we were collectively operating within a scarcity mindset: one person’s gain was another’s loss, so it was better to be secretive and hoard information. I feel so lucky to have watched the Women Photograph community (and so many other communities that have grown around our sibling affinity organizations like Diversify Photo, the Authority Collective, the Everyday Projects, Black Women Photographers, and more) work constantly to support each other and help us all grow together.
what is your hope and vision for these grants? What do you hope they do for folks?
Most of all, I hope the grants give photographers some small amount of time and freedom. Over the past decade my practice has shifted heavily to rely mostly on grant funding, and it allows me to really slow down and dig into the stories and projects that matter most to me. I hope that these grants give photographers at all stages of their careers some time to focus on their long term work and worry a little less about picking up assignments and paying their bills. Being able to immerse yourself in your passion projects is such a privilege, but it’s difficult without the right resources. I know these aren’t huge grants, but hopefully they make a small difference.
When did you start these grants?
These grants have been part of Women Photograph since we launched in 2017. It was one of my first goals when we launched in February and by April 1 we had announced our first open call. I can’t really believe it, but this is now our sixth cycle. We’ve had so many supporters who have funded these opportunities, and I’m grateful to all of them: Nikon, Getty, Adobe, Leica, ONA Bags, and the Pulitzer Center have helped us disburse nearly $250,000 since we started.
How did you hear about Picter?
We’ve been with Picter almost since the beginning! It’s the best platform I’ve ever come across for managing a photography-based open call and sharing content with a jury, and it’s hugely streamlined our judging process.
Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.