The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund named the winners of this year’s W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, W. Eugene Smith Fellowship Grant, and Howard Chapnick Grant for the Advancement of Photojournalism at a ceremony at the HBO Theater in New York Wednesday evening.
Sydney, Australia-based photographer Stephen Dupont of Contact Press Images took the top award for his project, “Narcostan: The Perils of Freedom.” Dupont, the recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, will use his $30,000 grant to document the lives of drug addicts in Afghanistan.
Dupont has made several self-funded trips to the country over the past 15 years and plans to return to Afghanistan twice more to work on his project. He will document Afghanistan’s drug epidemic through portraiture, street, and landscape photography.
Stefano De Luigi of Milan, Italy and Seamus Murphy of London, England were both recipients of the W. Eugene Smith Fellowship Grant and will share the $5,000 award. De Luigi will use the grant to continue his work photographing blindness around the world by documenting efforts to assist the blind and to prevent the condition from occurring. Murphy will use his portion of the grant to continue documenting the lives of Americans, focusing on the role of religion and belief in the lives of Americans as well as what lies down the road for the country’s future.
The grant recipients were selected from 128 entries representing 23 countries. Finalists for the grant included Giorgia Fiorio of Venice, Italy; Danny Wilcox Frazier of Iowa City, IA; Ed Kashi of Montclair, NJ; Andy Levin of New Orleans, LA; Mary Ellen Mark of New York, NY; Anderson Schneider of Brasilia, Brazil; and Mikhael Subotzky of Cape Town, South Africa.
The 2007 Howard Chapnick Grant, also administered by the W. Eugene Smith Fund was awarded to the “Bridge Project,” an effort to bring photographic education to poorer communities in New York City. The $5,000 award was presented to Jocelyne Benzakin Fellows Miguel Anaya, Lyric Cabral, Mark Nevers, Danny Peralta, and Bashira Webb.
The group will use the grant to help provide photographic education by conducting workshops in digital technology and portraiture in New York City communities in an effort to help individuals gain the photographic skills they need to develop photo essays of their own lives.