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Thursday, October 20, 2011

KrisanneJohnson Named 2011 Recipient of $30,000 W. EugeneSmith Grant in Humanistic Photography for "I Love You Real Fast,"Documenting Young Women Comi

DominicBracco Receives Smith Fellowship for

"Lifeand Death in The Northern Pass"

RyanLibre is Recipient of Howard Chapnick Grant for "Documentary Arts Asia," a Program to Advance Visual Literacy andSupport Artists There

NEWYORK, NY -- October 20, 2011 – The Board of Trustees ofthe W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund announced that New York-based photographerKrisanne Johnson is the recipient of the prestigious 2011 W. Eugene Smith Grantfor Humanistic Photography for I Love YouReal Fast, a five-year project documenting young women coming of ageamidst the H.I.V./AIDS epidemic in Swaziland. The project earned her a$30,000 grant to continue her ongoing work to explore the struggles andtriumphs of women in Swazilandand other parts of the world. The Grant recipients were selected from 291entries from 40 countries.

The announcement was madeduring a reception last night at the Asia Society in New York. Sebastian Junger, theinternationally acclaimed best-selling author of The Perfect Storm and War,director (with Tim Hetherington) of the Academy Award-nominated documentary Restrepo, and contributor for Vanity Fair, gave the keynotepresentation.

"I am truly honored to receive a Grant from an organization bearing W. Eugene Smith's name,"says Krisanne Johnson. "This recognition will help share thestruggles of young women in Swazilandand bring greater attention to a problem that must be addressed. TheSmith Grant will also allow me to continue to focus on this and other storiesaround the world without the restrictions associated with lack offunding."

In addition, DominicBracco received a $5,000 W. Eugene Smith Fellowship for his documentary, Life and Death in the Northern Pass. Focusing on Ciudad Juarez, quitepossibly the most violent city in the world, Bracco explores how societyhas become so ingrained in a tradition of violence that there is no immediateway out.

The Howard Chapnick Grantwas presented to Ryan Libre in Chiang Mai, Thailand, who will use the funds to build adocumentary arts library and gallery as part ofDocumentary Arts Asia's missionto promote visual literacy.

"The work that isbeing produced and the stories being told by documentary photographers all overthe world are both inspiring and encouraging," explains Whitney Johnson,Director of Photography of The New Yorker,and one of this year's judges. "Ms. Johnson's essay takes aninsightful and sensitive look at issues facing young women in Swaziland. Similarly, Mr.Bracco took an enormous risk to tell a story of violence that seems to bespreading across large and small cities. Both are extraordinary bodies ofwork, Johnson continued. "Each year the decision process seems toget more and more difficult as photographers explore aspects of life with apassion and commitment to excellence."

"What immediately struck us about both Krisanne Johnson's andDominic Bracco's bodies of work was how both of these photographers took thetopics that have been addressed by countless photographers, and depicted themin a completely fresh and unique way," explains Rick Smolan, President& CEO of Against All Odds Productions andthe head of this year's jury.

"Krisanne Johnson's images of Swazi girls, just coming into theprime of their lives, brought these young women to life. There is a humantendency to close down when we witness suffering and so often, the approach tocovering AIDS is to bombard the viewer with the horror, the hopelessness, thesuffering. By showing us their joy as cheerleaders while possibly losingtheir friends or family members to AIDS; their playfulness on dates with theirboyfriends while dealing with an AIDS epidemic; and the complications of livingin a society where the modern world meets polygamy, make us relate and deeplycare about these women as individuals."

The adjudication panel forthe W. Eugene Smith Grant included Rick Smolan (President & CEO, Against All Odds Productions, and Chair,2011 W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography), Marloes Krijnen (Director,FOAM Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam),and Whitney Johnson (Director of Photography, The New Yorker).

The 2011 panel of judges for the Howard Chapnick Grant was drawn fromthe W.Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Board of Trustees including, Rich Clarkson (co-founderof the Howard Chapnick Grant), Helen Marcus (Honorary Emeriti of the W. EugeneSmith Fund), Robert Pledge (Past President of the W. Eugene Smith Fund), andMarcel Saba (President of the Smith Fund).

Additional Finalists:

ChristophBangert (Germany)"Fukushima"

MichaelChristopher Brown (USA)"I Am a Man, Libya"

WilliamDaniels (France)"Lenin's Ethnic Time Bomb"

JonLowenstein (Germany/USA) "Shadow Lives USA"

FernandoMoleres (Spain)"Juveniles Behind Bars in Africa"

StephanieSinclair (USA)"Too Young to Wed: The Secret World of Child Brides"

JosephSywenkyj (USA/Ukraine) "Verses"

Now in its 32nd year, thecontinued interest and demand for photographic grants is a great testament toW. Eugene Smith, a true pioneer in exploring the human condition and exposingthe truth with his camera. Established in 1979, its primary purpose wasto support and encourage photographers producing humanistic photo stories inthe style of the legendary American photojournalist who sought to expose thetruth about issues affecting and afflicting humankind.

The W. Eugene Smith MemorialFund is sponsored by the generous support of American Society of MediaPhotographers (ASMP), Open Society Foundations, Asia Society, Blurb, Inc.,MediaStorm, and Photo District News.The Howard Chapnick Grant is co-sponsored by NYC FOTO WORKS.


Images from I Love You Real Fast and Life andDeath in the Northern Pass are available upon request.

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