Judges on What They Expect from the PhMuseum 2021 Women Photographers Grant Submissions

Commitment, authenticity, and the ability to challenge and provoke are among the relevant aspects that judges Poulomi Basu (Multimedia Artist), Dilys Ng (TIME), Mirjam Kooiman (FOAM), and Damarice Amao (Centre Pompidou) will take into consideration at the moment of their review.

© Spandita Malik

Every year we at PhMuseum dedicate an extensive amount of time to research judges for our grants program. We aim to create a well-integrated panel with diverse backgrounds and experience, and able to review submissions from multiple angles, stimulating a constructive conversation during the final conference call where the awardees are defined. For this reason, we are proud of the professionals who joined this 5th edition, and we went to discuss with them their expectations for the PhMuseum 2021 Women Photographers Grant to give you some insight on their review criteria.

“What interests me in grant programs such as the one run by PhMuseum one is the opportunity of discovering and encouraging committed works, testifying to a genuine relationship of the photographer with the world, environment, stories or people embraced in their images,” says Damarice Amao, Associate Curator of Photography at Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art moderne in Paris. Multimedia Artist Poulomi Basu also stresses the importance of personal engagement as a vehicle to share your personal vision. “I’m looking for works that are personal but political – she says – and therefore coming from a place of authenticity. I am looking for a creative vision that is both genre-bending and a more expanded approach to documentary practice.”

© Eleonora Strano

On a similar line is Mirjam Kooiman, Curator at Foam Photography Museum in Amsterdam: “Every artist is free in their choice of subject or focus – she comments. Nevertheless, what I value the most is when artworks foster a deeper understanding of the current human condition, whether this stems from an individual, community, social or political point of view.” She also expands her thoughts with a reflection on the status of the medium: “I see photography as a technology that is subject to constant development. Therefore I have a particular interest in projects in which photography is not just a recording medium, but also an instrument for critical reflection. As photography is a way of framing reality, I hope to see works that critically engage with our perception of the world by adding new perspectives.” Considering the current evolution of the photographic language and the tendency to employ it to trigger reflections rather than just trying to document the events, we couldn’t agree more with her advice.

In this context, smart innovative approaches where the author is not afraid of experimenting and taking some risks are often considered a plus. “I always value photography that is unapologetic and deeply curious,” says Dilys Ng, currently working as Senior Photo Editor at TIME. “I’m hoping to see a breadth of work that questions, challenges and provokes perspectives.” On this subject, Damarice Amao further adds: “The narrative modes and the purely photographic choices should support the message conveyed by the author, in order to offer a visual and sensitive experience.”

In a historic moment where different points of view are much needed, and the opportunities offered by the visual language are wide and still to be explored, we encourage you to listen to this precious advice and to join the conversation with your work. The hope is to discover talents, help you generate new connections and sustain your work through funds, exhibitions, and educational opportunities meant to open up the way to a new generation of female and non-binary photographers.

The Judges of the PHmuseum 2021 Women Photographers Grant

The PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant is currently open for submssions. With no age limitations its aim is to empower the work and careers of female and non-binary professionals of all ages and from all countries working in diverse areas of photography. To learn more and apply, visit phmuseum.com/w21. Final Deadline: 7 October