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Winners of the Gomma Photography Grant 2022

Posted on March 28, 2023 - By The Gomma Grant
Winners of the Gomma Photography Grant 2022
Winners of the Gomma Photography Grant 2022
The Gomma Photography Grant is a grant contest tailored to fund and support photographers working in various genre. Begun in 2014, the Gomma Grant has quickly acquired a reputation for being ethical and quality-focused, with an eye for spotting fresh talent and encouraging those already in the spotlight. Photographers that are recognized through the Gomma Grant are known to have grown their career to a higher level, both professionally and artistically. The Gomma Grant is open to everyone: any nationality, any background, and working with different medium (black & white or colour, analogue or digital). Gomma's juror and editors are looking for consistency, personality, and courage.

A bit of history... Gomma has come a long way since the first Gomma Magazine came out in 2004. Throughout the years, Gomma has been actively promoting photographers and their work. Gomma worked with internationally renowned artists, such as Roger Ballen, Anders Petersen, Michael Ackerman, Momo Okabe, Keizo Kitajima, Araki and Daido Moriyama. And helped kick-start the career of emerging talents such as Marco Marzocchi, Theo Elias, Harit Srikhao, Igor Pisuk, Marie Tomanova and Isik Kaya to name just a few.

First Prize Winner:
Simon Murphy: Govanhill

Simon Murphy

Govanhill © Simon Murphy

'This captivating body of work impressed the whole jury, as it very intimately, yet artistically captures the essence of a multicultural area of Glasgow and its residents: Govanhill. The ongoing project shows the trust and bond a photographer and his ''models'' must form to create moving and expressive pictures. Black and white portraits are a sensitive subject to capture without it looking staged or over the top and Simon managed to execute it brilliantly; the lives and struggles of Govanhills people have stories to tell and these photographs introduce them in a beautiful and timeless way.' Gomma

''Govanhill is an area in Glasgow's southside that is the constituency of Scotland's first minster, Nicola Sturgeon. Simon Murphy has been documenting the area for several years with the resulting images forming a Portrait of the Place, aiming to give an insight into one of Scotland's most diverse but deprived areas. Govanhill has gained a bad reputation over the years but much of this can be attributed to fear and lack of understanding of different cultures. Due to cheap accommodation, Govanhill has traditionally been a place where immigrants arrive in Glasgow and eventually move on from. It is estimated that 88 languages are spoken in the densely populated area of only 0.33 square miles. It's a mixing pot of cultures and ethnicities. These differences have contributed to tension within the community but also make Govanhill one of the most diverse and exciting places in the city. Simon's project consists mainly of street portraiture, individuals who live and pass through the area.'' Simon Murphy

Second Prize Winner:
Uta Genilke: Rauhnacht

Uta Genilke

RAUHNACHT © Uta Genilke

'This work skillfully unites the struggles of a frost biting winter and the inner turmoil of a depressed mind. Bold jet abstract pictures paint a feeling of the overwhelming harshness of living, the struggle and the fight while simultaneously give the mind space to breathe in vast landscapes of snow. To unite the two in mixed black and white and color pictures and to transport this choking feeling of being thrown into life deserves to be awarded'. Gomma

''When I was 21 I almost developed a depression, it was after the death of my lover. I lay in bed for half a year, could hardly get up, had nightmares every night. I was able to overcome it, but now, decades later, these episodes return to me from time to time.Winter is hard. I live in a small town in the North, the cold creeps through the cracks into the old house, which I rarely leave. Who crawls out of his hole and sneaks around in front of my door at night? Wild animals? Hairy demons? Evil spirits? I make up stories and find joy in them, my dreams are wild and colourful. But sometimes I wake up and can hardly breathe or swallow, I have a big lump in my throat. RAUHNACHT is a series of 58 pictures about my winter depression and my life in a hostile and maybe dangerous environment. All photos are snapshots, not staged, taken in the winters from 2017 to 2022.'' Uta Genilke

Third Prize Winner:
Andrea Graziosi: Animas

Andrea Graziosi

Animas © Andrea Graziosi

A strange and ancient power gets unleashed behind our masks, whether we put on a costume or take off the one we wear everyday is unclear. This work explores the hidden urges that humanity suppresses until freed in occult choreographs, the rawness and animal-like core of us, that lays dormant while we wear suits and ties'. Gomma

''In the center of Sardinia, in different villages of the territory of Barbagia, strange and archaic traditions live well anchored.Practiced by the inhabitants, ancient cults represent an intense and brutal relationship that man maintains with the wild and carry a mystical, spiritual and sacred value, with a cathartic and liberating goal. These costumes belong to a time that does not belong to us, to hide is a destiny, the hyphen of a disturbing relationship between the being-animal and the divinity; to wear a mask means to metamorphose into the form of another entity. The threatening and disturbing that these masks produce does not have the function of frightening the other, but it is to provoke a relationship with the other. The inhabitants of this region use the expression Animas to define something that has neither time nor body, once disturbing, wild, is what is specifically non-human and serves to live an experience.'' Andrea Graziosi

Honorable Mentions:
Valeria Arendar: Two Times Maria

Valeria Arendar

Two Times Maria © Valeria Arendar

The invisible heartstrings that only a family member can pull on, are the most poignant impacts on our beings. This work beautifully visualizes that, which cannot be seen or touched, that lies behind the words, that forms over time. Every image is a metaphor, delicately and bold and universally understood'. Gomma

''The starting point is July 21st of 1976, the night the armed forces broke into my maternal grandparents' house in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The message was clear: if they found my mother they were going to kill her, so she was forced to go alone into exile at the age of 21. Uruguay was the first stop, then Brazil and finally, she arrived in Mexico. Time tends to deceive us. But it happens the exact opposite if we assimilate and study the past as a time we need to rummage and put in front of us. Walter Benjamin once wrote that it's the ones before us who invokes us to make justice. But the question is who can and should grant it? This project retrieves corporal and emotional memory from what detonated that night with my family. Some kind of -micro- sociology of absences. A process in which I try to transform impossible objects into possible objects, absent objects into present objects, and repressed stories in told and known stories.'' Valeria Arendar

Oskar Alvarado: Where Fireflies Unfold

Oskar Alvarado

Where Fireflies Unfold © Oskar Alvarado

'The land that we grow up on fundamentally shapes who we become and in return, we shape the ground, generation after generation. This work captivates with beautiful color pallets that instantly set a mood, minimalistic objects veiled in powerful lighting compose a work that leaves its impression long after the observer left'. Gomma

''Deleitosa is my village. It is located in the province of Cáceres, in the region of Extremadura in Spain. Here my parents, grandparents, great grandparents and other ancestors were born, going back through centuries of family genealogy. Deleitosa was the village that Eugene Smith chose to realize his essay ''Spanish Village'' that was published in Life Magazine on 1951. Far from showing the perceptible appearance of Deleitosa or some of the visual references linked to what was a photographic icon of the social and economic backwardness in Spanish rural society, my gaze has some subjective nuances linked to a series of experiences, places and personal memories. Reminiscences that have endured as apparitions in my memory. Images that intermingle episodes that float in the my imaginary with the new realities that coexist in the village. There is an emotional need to reflect on the territory of which we are part. To explore our identity in the echo of the places that still speak to us, or in the absence-presence of the people and beings that inhabit them. To form a visual interpretation that evokes the mystery that manifests itself in everyday rhythms, in the poetic condition that underlies the strange.'' Oskar Alvarado

Documentary Award:
Louie Palu: Distant Early Warning

Louie Palu

Distant Early Warning © Louie Palu

'Truly perfectly captured images of one of earth last frontiers being dismantled. The bright and vivid colors in contrast with their content instantly make a strong and lasting impression. This subject, often under-represented due to more pressing global issues is as fascinating as it is important and the artistry and skill applied to this work elevate it above a simple documentation; a one of a kind treasure'. Gomma

''The project Distant Early Warning is a documentary photography project which examines the evolving state of the militarization of the Arctic. The geopolitical changes in the region have been exacerbated by the warming of the planet. Part of the security narrative is driven by the imagined idea that once the polar ice cap melts due to climate change, once inaccessible natural resources such as oil, gas, mining, and new shipping routes will become part of a new Arctic economy. The result is that many countries that desire new economic opportunities want to stake new claims in the polar region. For me, as a Canadian who's country sits mostly in the sub and high Arctic, the polar region is about our imaginations. It's often understood in the South through a map, cliché images of icebergs, animals, outdated stereotypes of indigenous people or scientific statistics that are unrelatable. But it can also be a blank slate for invented narratives that suit people's fantasies of what they want the Arctic to be including one where the military is used to seize and control territory.'' Louie Palu

Black and White award:
Ingebord Everaerd: Life of Steen

Ingebord Everaerd

Life of Steen © Ingebord Everaerd

'The soul, yearning to be free, against all odds and struggles – only to be confined by the limitations of an ageing body… This story unrolls in bold and strikingly humble pictures the story of a nomad who's wings are cut by circumstance, jet his will remains defiant. An intimate and sincere portrait with insight to the fragile core of an independent soul in beautiful honesty with the woman who portraits his final bloom.' Gomma

''This is a story about a man who chose to be a nomad for life. When I met Steen in 2019, he was still living on his ship. He had moored his ship for the weekend at a dock in Amsterdam where I live. I felt immediately intrigued by his characteristic appearance and the feeling of freedom that showed in his eyes. We became friends and Steen started to tell me about his life full of adventure and freedom, mooring his ship wherever he felt at home. Steen had made his ship completely self supported and sustainable so he was not dependent on anyone and could go wherever he wanted to be. A year later he had to give up this lifestyle. Due to his poor health, old age and lack of money, he had to sell his ship. This was his home for 43 years. Always afraid of a life ashore, he now lives in an old campervan on a piece of land without running water and electricity. Here he tries to build a new selfsupporting life and tries to feel at home. But there isn't a day that goes by that he doesn't long for his old life.'' Ingeborg Everaerd

Gomma New Flavour:
Andrés Mario de Varona: Trials

Andrés Mario de Varona

TRIALS © Andrés Mario de Varona

'What power does the human mind wield over its temporary vessels? This work manifests the invisible strings that bind the corsets of our interactions in an immanently comprehensive way. The strange compositions convey a deeply humbling, delicate truth about being human. Beautifully gruff and with harsh contrasts the pictures manage to poignantly distinct the complicated entanglements of human interactions in powerful and bold monochrome.' Gomma

''There's a sense of struggle and pain in life which is integral to existence; of what I call, being up against yourself. TRIALS' embodies human existence and the experiences associated with it. Of suffering and mortal fear, relief and ordeal, directness and brutality, a liberation with no winners. In other words, it's about acknowledging ourselves as a living memorial, about people becoming testimonies to events that happened but are no longer there. These photographs aim at encapsulating the frictions of reality, wounds from survivors, and the ambiguity of human conflict.'' Andrés Mario de Varona

Runner up GNF:
Serena Dzenis: 2021 ± II: Utopia Broadcasting

Serena Dzenis

2021 ± II: Utopia Broadcasting © Serena Dzenis

'This work instantly struck a chord with us as it is as unique as it is expertly executed. The geometry of man-made structures, fragile, almost two dimensional, immersed in pastel lights become artificial looking paintings, trick the mind with perspective, size and blur the line between reality and fantasy. The calming surreality encapsulates the alien nature of human accomplishments on this merely borrowed planet.' Gomma

''Do you think that the first space colony created by mankind will happen during your lifetime? Technology has advanced so quickly over the past few years. In the overall scheme of things, we're just a flash in the pan and yet we've done so much to change our planet. Humankind is leaving a profound legacy on Earth, exploiting its resources to turn it into the sanctuary that we want it to be or perhaps farewelling a paradise that we've already lost. ‘2021 ± II: Utopia Broadcasting' encapsulates everything about human construction, sheer curiosity, consumerism, as well as the wonders and dangers associated with science. The overall aim of this project is to utilise existing structures within the Icelandic landscape to transport the viewer's imagination to another world that exists outside of time. In doing so, the hope is to invoke conversation around themes of futurism and dreams for a better life amidst the darker side of human ideals.'' Serena Dzenis

Descriptions by Laura Barmwoldt of Gomma Editorial.
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