Jim Brandenburg joins Photocrati Fund juror panel

Photocrati is proud to announce that esteemed wildlife photographer Jim Brandenburg has joined the 2011 Photocrati Fund judging panel along with Steve McCurry and Michael “Nick” Nichols. We are honored and excited to work with these masters of the craft!

Now Announcing the 2011 Photocrati Fund Competition

Powerful imagery awes, inspires and engages people in the world; it incites dialogue and often encourages action. Great photography brings humanity to statistics, faces to tragedy, connections to cultures far away, and life to dying species. Incredible images tell stories that we need to hear. But those stories are expensive and time-consuming to produce.

The Photocrati Fund bridges the gap for one pro or emerging photographer each year by providing a $5,000 photography grant to focus on a month-long environmental or humanitarian photography project. At the completion of the project, the grant winner’s images will be displayed as a photo essay on Photocrati.com.

We hope to invest in photographers who will have a long-term positive impact. Our goal is to identify outstanding, photographers and to provide the resources necessary to pursue projects that will have a tangible and positive effect on the world.

The 2011 Photocrati Fund competition officially opened in November 2010 and will run through April 1, 2011. The 2011 Photocrati Fund award will be announced at the Look3 Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville, Virginia in June 2011. The grantee becomes a Photocrati Fellow for the calendar year from the announcement of their award until the announcement of the following year’s award.

Award decisions will be made by the Photocrati Fund Board, a prestigious panel that includes some of the world’s best-known environmental and cultural photographers. The 2011 Photocrati Fund judges include: Steve McCurry, Jim Brandenburg and Michael “Nick” Nichols.

Check out the Photocrati Fund page for more details about how to apply for this exciting grant. To view information on Mark J. Davis, the 2010 Photocrati Fund Fellow, and top finalists, please visit the 2010 Photocrati Fund Winner link.

Announcing the 2010 Photocrati Fund Fellow and Top Finalists

We’re just getting back into the swing of things here at Photocrati after an incredible weekend at the LookBetween Festival in White Hall, Virginia. What an amazing experience! Two full days of interacting with industry leaders and top-notch emerging photographers was just fantastic.

We’d like to extend a very special thanks to our three judges who are all committed to giving back to the photography community – Steve McCurry, Michael “Nick” Nichols and Art Wolfe.

We’d also like to thank the organizers and sponsors of the LookBetween Festival: Michael “Nick” Nichols, the LookBetween Board and staff, Jessica Nagel (host at Deep Rock Farm), National Geographic and BD, for including us in this year’s event. It really was an honor.

And now, the Photocrati Fund Board and staff are pleased to announce the results of the first-ever Photocrati Fund competition.

The 2010 Photocrati Fund Fellow: Mark J. Davis

Project Title: Fishing For Leftovers

Mark will receive a $5,000 grant to pursue his on-going, environmentally-focused project Fishing For Leftovers, which highlights the impact of commercial over-fishing on small-scale subsistence fishermen in Southern Chile.

About Mark’s project:

A 2006 study by an international group of ecologists and economists projected the collapse of the world’s fishing stocks by the year 2048—due mainly to overfishing. While consumers will be the last to feel the effects –there are tens of millions of people worldwide who live in small fishing communities that depend on the sea for subsistence who are already reaping the consequences.

This project documents life in one such community in Southern Chile where due to a lack of other opportunities, small-scale fishing operations are the main source of income. Recent increases in large-scale commercial fishing enterprises that use controversial fishing practices have led to both the depletion of the fishing stock and the destruction of much marine habitat. Mark hopes that this project highlights the disparity between the lives of the subsistence fishermen and those who operate large-scale fishing operations.

© Mark J. Davis

© Mark J. Davis

© Mark J. Davis

“I am honored and am extremely grateful that through this grant I will be able to continue to tell this important story,” Mark says.

Mark’s project was selected from a competitive pool of more than 400 applicants by our prestigious panel that included some of the world’s best-known environmental and cultural photographers. The judges had a very difficult task—we (happily) received a large number of outstanding and meaningful project proposals by some very talented emerging photographers.

To that end, we would like to recognize the top finalists.

Second Place: Bharat Choudhary

Title: IS THIS HOME?

Location: Mizoram, India

This project seeks to document the humanitarian concerns of Burmese Chin refugees and asylum seekers in India. Around 85,000 Burmese Chin refugees live in India, mainly in India’s northeastern state of Mizoram – at the India-Burma border. They live in cramped, unhygienic, unsafe neighborhoods, and earn as little as $35 (US) a month. They are reduced to scouring the garbage left at the night market for food. This project aims to strengthen the existing advocacy efforts for human rights of the Burmese Chin refugees.

Third Place: Anna Beeke

Title: UNTANGLING THREADS

Location: Morocco

The photojournalism project, Untangling Threads: Female Artisans in Morocco’s Rug Weaving Industry, seeks to document the environment and culture of female weavers who have recently begun to participate in local and global markets. The project also plans to track the rural-to-urban journey of the carpets that are produced. While the carpets are generally sold for high-dollar amounts, the female artisans receive a very small percentage of the profits – which perpetuates the cycle of poverty and child labor in rural Morocco. This project aims to highlight the faces behind the production and the market forces that bring these products to the world.

Fourth Place: Malin Fezehai

Title: VANISHING NATION

Location: Kiribati

Due to global climate change, the small, but highly-populated island – home to roughly 100,000 people – is in danger of disappearing beneath the rising waves of the sea levels. Mass evacuation is now in the initial stages. Malin’s project seeks to document how the rising sea levels are affecting daily life of these “climate refugees” – an entire nation forced to migrate.

Fifth Place: Anna Maria Barry-Jester

Title: BORN INTO A SAFE PLACE

Location: India

India has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, just behind war torn African countries like the Sudan. Two thirds of women do not give birth at a health facility; aside from the danger to the mother, there is a greatly increased risk of complications and mortality for the infant. Most home births are overseen by untrained birth attendants, with limited ability to recognize problems early enough to seek proper treatment or to get to a facility in time. This project seeks to raise awareness about the complications and dangers related to giving birth in unsanitary conditions and to improve access to services and outreach offered by the Indian government. Trained in both photography and Public Health, Anna Maria Barry-Jester uses her lens to help develop important health outreach and education campaigns.

Other top finishers:

Oliver Michael Edwards (sensory impairment), Laura El-Tantawy (suicide among male Indian farmers), Andrew Cullen (winter disaster in Mongolia), David Belluz (self immolation in Afghanistan), and Ryan Gauvin (depleted uranium/Balkan states).

Congratulations!

Congratulations to Mark J. Davis and to all of our finalists. We’re looking forward to following your work and we can’t wait to feature a photo essay from Mark’s project next summer.

Announcing the 2010 Photocrati Fund Winner at LookBetween

A contingent from Photocrati will traveling to Virginia this weekend to attend LookBetween, and awesome event for some of the world’s most promising emerging photographers.

We’ll be taking the occasion to announce the winner of the 2010 Photocrati Fund competition! We had over 400 applications for this year’s competition, the first ever. There were a lot of great photographers, amazing images, and innovative projects. We want to thank Steve McCurry, Nick Nichols, and Art Wolfe for their time reviewing and voting over the last two months. We’ll be announcing the winner on Saturday night at LookBetween, and we’ll post an announcement here early next week!

For those who have not heard of it, LookBetween promises to be an amazing event. It’s a spin-off of LOOK3: Festival of the Photograph. LOOK3 is hosting an experimental two night event to present the work of 90 innovative photographers on a farm 30 minutes west of Charlottesville. The 90 artists showing work were asked to participate by experts in this field such as PDN, Burn Magazine, Humble Arts, Getty Images, VII, and others. This initiative is designed to showcase early-career talent and engage the presenting artists with media professionals on practices and trends influencing the direction of photography today.

Each night will feature outdoor projections of work by the invited emerging photographers in attendance. Showcasing the work of these talented photographers is a main focus of the weekend. However, LOOKbetween is also designed to create networking opportunities and be a forum for the exchange of ideas between professionals and those early in their career. Saturday daytime will be devoted to discussion about important issues in photography. Thank you to BD and National Geographic for supporting LOOKbetween.