Leica Camera, on International Women’s Day, has announced the four recipients of the fourth annual Leica Women Foto Project Award. For the first time ever, entries were accepted from the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Canada in addition to the United States, aiming to expand diverse representation in the photography industry, whilst also encouraging the inclusion of all perspectives.
The Leica Women Foto Project remains an example of Leica’s ongoing commitment to elevating marginalized voices and empowering the female point of view through photography.
The winners were selected by a panel of notable judges ranging from award-winning photojournalists to renowned contributors to the world of photography. Each winner receives a Leica SL2-S camera, a Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70mm f/2.8 ASPH lens, and a cash prize of $10,000 (approximately £8,340 / AU$15,000).
Leica Women Foto Project Award winners
Mary Calvert – US
Concentrating on documenting social justice issues neglected by the media at large, photographer Mary F Calvert has focused her attention for the past nine years on documenting military sexual abuse (MST) in the United States Armed Forces.
Her previous work has been selected as a finalist in Feature Photography in the 2020 Pulitzer Prize and has won numerous awards, including the World Press Photo Contest and the Cliff Edom New America Award.
In her shattering project, 'Left Behind', Calvert draws attention to the impact of MST on victims and their families, as well as the scars of trauma that are left long after the events of sexual assault.
Eli Farinango – Canada
The first-ever winner from Canada, Eli explores the vastness and beauty of the healing journey through her documentary photography, exploring spaces to reclaim ancestral memory through image-making and collaborative processes.
Born in the Kichwa territory in Ecuador, and raised in the Algonquin territory in Canada, Farinango's winning project, 'Wilkay', traces the artist's experience of transformation and healing from abuse and mental illness, enabling her to reconnect with her roots, family, and ancestors in the process.
Greta Rico – Mexico
Inspired by the artist’s own family history, this Mexican documentary photographer's harrowing and illuminating project, 'Substitute Mother', tells the story of her cousin Siomara, who became a “substitute mother“ to her three-year-old niece following her mother’s murder.
This project shows how femicide does not end with murder, but has psychosocial impacts that cause trauma in orphaned children, mothers, sisters, grandmothers, and aunts who become substitute mothers due to violence.
Anna Filipova – UK
Choosing to explore unique environmental and scientific topics based in remote and inaccessible areas, UK-based visual journalist Anna Filipova uses captivating imagery and compelling stories to raise awareness for climate change.
Her winning project, 'Arctic: The Darkest Hours', explores Ny Ålesund, Svalbard, where the largest laboratory for modern Arctic research is housed, along with research scientists who make up most of the population.
This area has the cleanest air on Earth, but also receives circulated air from Europe and North America, allowing for extensive research on post-global warming conditions.
About the Leica Women's Foto Project
Since the inception of the Project in 2019, it has been a platform to support a diverse, inclusive community through photography. The award is a catalyst to reframe how we see, think, and express our visual narrative while encouraging photographers to demonstrate the importance and impact of a woman’s point of view.
To date, this initiative has fuelled diversity in visual storytelling through grants and sponsorships with Women Photograph, Black Women Photographers, Photoville, Las Fotos Project, and the ConnectHer Film Festival, while co-creating the Leica Women Foto Project Grant for the Leica Society International’s own philanthropic efforts.
"We were delighted to have the UK market join the fourth iteration of the Leica Women Foto Project and received a wide body of work from extremely talented photographers," said Lydia Beagelman, Head of Marketing and PR for Leica Camera UK.
"This award highlights the female perspective and identifies the importance of capturing moments that bear witness to how we see and interact with our world. With the prizes, we aim to advance the development of underrepresented visual storytellers and provide additional support for their future projects."
It's a wonderful thing to be able to celebrate and champion the photography of women on International Women's Day, and work like this from the Leica Women's Foto Project highlights the great and emerging talents from around the globe.
If this article has been of interest why not check out our review of the best Leica cameras or best Leica M lenses. You might also like to read our review on the Leica M11, or if film is your thing then check out our Leica M-A review. And if you just want the best point-and-shoot possible from Leica then your best bet is the Leica Q2.