Last week Leica Camera USA announced the winners of its inaugural photo grant program created specifically to support female photographers. Debi Cornwall, Yana Paskova and Eva Woolridge all received $10,000 and a Leica Q2 as part of the Leica Women Foto Project Award. The funds will support their personal projects for the next year. The new award received over 600 submissions from across the U.S. Here is what we know about the winners and the work that they intend to pursue in the next year.
Debi Cornwall’s series Necessary Fictions explores the staging and performative aspects of American power through military wargames. The photographer documents the mock Afghan and Iraqi villages that have been constructed on military bases across the United States that are used as immersive training spaces, intended to prepare troops before they deploy. Cornwall says that she intends to use the Leica Women Foto Project Award money to continue exploring how fiction and reality blur within these spaces.
Yana Paskova’s project Where Women Rule documents areas of the world where the cultural norms of gender have been removed. She does this by documenting all-female societies “where women gather for shelter or in matriarchy.” The Brooklyn-based photojournalist started this specific project in Varanasi, India with the help of a grant from Getty. The support from Leica will help her continue the narrative.
Eva Woolridge, a self-proclaimed African-American and Chinese-American queer woman, was selected for her project The Size of a Grapefruit is a highly-personal photo project about the artist’s traumatic experience following her diagnosis of a dermoid cyst, which eventually lead to the removal of her right ovary. In the series Woolridge explores how her case was handled, and her belief that her ovary might have been saved if doctors had acted faster. She intends to use the money from the award to bring more stories of black women and their experiences of racial bias to the forefront.
The work of these three women will be on view at the Leica Gallery in Boston starting in March 2020.