Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – 11 December 2020

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – the 30th anniversary of the Alexia Grants is marked with the publication of The Alexia 30 Years: From Tragedy to Light. Plus the HERE I AM: Art by Great Women cultural arts festival in Canberra is now on.


The Alexia 30 Years: From Tragedy to Light

For over 30 years the Alexia Grants have supported the work of documentary photographers around the world, both professionals and students who are working for social change. To celebrate this milestone The Alexia has published a new book curated and designed by Bill Marr, former Creative Director of National Geographic – The Alexia 30 Years.

Mike Davis, Director of The Alexia, which is run out of Syracuse University (NY), says “Our goal in producing the book was to bring forward 30 years of dedication to powerful visual storytelling that touched the world. We hope it affects you as well.”

Thematically presented, the book canvasses important social issues ranging from violence against women and climate change to drug addiction and racial inequality.

“Alio Balde scrubs his body in front of the touffe, a place where bricks for the huts were originally made which had filled up with water. The end of the rainy season is the richest time of year when time to escape the daily chores is more readily available in the remote village of Dembel Jumpoa in the West African country of Guinea Bissau” (C) Ami Vitale
“March 29, 2014. A group of boys climb a tree on the Xingu River by the city of Altamira, Brazil. One third of the city will be permanently flooded by the nearby Belo Monte Dam” (C) Aaron Vincent Elkaim
“The substance of aluminium factory is very risky for the workers where they are completely exposed without any protecting gear. Shakil (12) covered with all the aluminium substance at the factory in Chittagong, Bangladesh,” (C) Md Shahnewaz Khan

“The Alexia promotes the power of photojournalism to give voice to social injustice, to respect history lest we forget it and to understand cultural difference as our strength – not our weakness. Through grants, scholarships and special projects, The Alexia supports photographers as agents for change.” This new book reaffirms the important work that photographers are undertaking around the world and why grants like The Alexia are so important in enabling these stories to be told.

Photographers featured in the book include Ami Vitale, Marcus Bleasdale, Stephanie Sinclair, Louie Palu, Farzana Hossen, Katie Orlinsky, Abir Adbullah and Matt Eich amongst others. 

“Melissa A. Ramon spent nine years in the US Air Force where she endured military sexual trauma at the hands of her training instructor and fellow airmen. “You see stripes and think it’s power and authority. I went along with it because it was my career if I’d have stopped. I had the rules and he didn’t. Whatever way he looked at it, it was his word against mine,” she said. Melissa suffers from Military Sexual Trauma and PTSD and has been homeless off and on since her discharge. She has sought help from the VA and several Veteran NGO’s. “They keep denying us, denying the claims and make us jump through hoops and even lose our paperwork. It’s like they are trying to kill us with what they put us through,” she said. Women’s shelters will not admit a young man over the age of twelve, so she and her 13-year-old son Sam, bounce from one drug-ridden motel to another outside Los Angeles in Pomona, Ca. Melissa cries in the relaxation room at the “4th Annual Heroes in the Shadows, San Gabriel Valley Veterans Stand Down” in Pomona, Ca. The purpose of a stand-down is to offer a safe retreat for homeless veterans.” (C) Mary F. Calvert
“My proposal for a photo project in furtherance of world harmony and understanding involves continuing my two-year effort to document prison conditions in the United States and abroad. Although I have photographed a prison in Chile, most of my work is done at prisons near my home in the Bay Area. For instance, I spent nine months photographing people in the AIDS ward at the state prison in Vacaville, CA, where even healthy but HIV-positive inmates are isolated from fellow prisoners – society’s most isolated members cast even further from the realm of human contact. With the United States recently overtaking the Soviet union and South Africa as the country with the greatest percentage of its population behind bars (one million prisoners), the need to chronicle American jails becomes even more important all the time, to continue doing so is my goal,” (C) Darcy Padilla

The book also includes a deeply moving dedication by Aphrodite Tsairis, The Alexia Foundation co-founder and the mother of Alexia for whom the Foundation was established. In 1988 Alexia was a student at Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University. That year, on 21 December, she was killed at the age of 20 in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

You can buy the book here.



HERE I AM: Art by Great Women is a summer-long cultural arts festival being held in Canberra at Kambri and aMBUSH Gallery, both located at the Australian National University (ANU). It is inspired by the National Gallery of Australia’s Know My Name initiative which both celebrates the contribution of Australian women artists to our cultural life, and calls for gender equity.

HERE I AM: Art by Great Women features a range of activities including the massive Kambri outdoor public art exhibition held along Exhibition Avenue which showcases the work of 24 contemporary artists on large cubes.

Over at aMBUSH Gallery the HERE I AM exhibition features more than 30 female artists, both established and emerging, including photographers Anna Maria Antoinette D’Addario and Claire Martin. There are some fabulous multi-disciplinary artworks on show also by Lucy O’Doherty, Amala Groom, Tracey Deep, Jane Gillings, 23rd Key, Minna Leunig, Bohie Paleck, Faith, Jenna Lee, Mafalda Vasconcelos, Bronte Leighton-Dore and Holly Greenwood, to name a few.

(C) Claire Martin
(C) Anna Maria Antoinette D’Addario
(C) Anna Maria Antoinette D’Addario

Until 28 February

aMBUSH Gallery, Cultural Centre Kambri, ANU Building 153 Level 2, Acton

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