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  • Championing talented female photographers: Introducing the Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award 2019

  • This year, Nikon is the proud sponsor of the award celebrating talented female photographers and the difference they are making in the world. The Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award, facilitated by FotoDocument, grants the winner £2,000 to support the completion of a documentary photo essay that not only shines a light on important issues effecting the world today, but also showcases positive solutions.

    Readdressing the gender balance in photojournalism

    In 2017, and at the sprightly age of 91, pioneering female photographer Marilyn Stafford set up the Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award. Having experienced first-hand the pressures faced by professional female photographers, she wanted to help support other women who are trying to build a career in the traditionally male dominated industry of photojournalism.

    Marilyn Stafford with the Z 7 © Nina Emett on the Nikon D850
    Marilyn Stafford with the Z 7 © Nina Emett on the Nikon D850

    “I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunities to build a successful career. However, I felt there must be wonderful women out there who could benefit from more funding to carry on their work.”

    – Marilyn Stafford.

    Marilyn is now supporting fellow female photojournalists with her own award.  Read about her fascinating story below, along with submission details for the Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award and its prize of £2,000.

    Marilyn Stafford is one of photojournalism’s pioneering female photographers. Her career has taken her across the globe, photographing refugees in Algeria, slum children in Paris and some of the 20th century’s most illustrious figures, including Albert Einstein, Edith Piaf and the first and only female prime minister of India, Indra Gandhi.

    Making a difference one award at a time

    To date, entries have raised awareness of social, environmental, economic and cultural challenges, at both a local and global level. Here, we share the winning project and the runner up in 2018.

    I Am Beautiful - But My Destiny... © Ozge Sebzeci on the Nikon
    I Am Beautiful – But My Destiny… © Ozge Sebzeci

    Özge Sebzeci won the award in 2018 with her photo essay entitled “I Am Beautiful – But My Destiny…”. The arresting image series looks at the current Migrant Crisis and the impact on underage Syrian refugee girls in Turkey, one of the most vulnerable groups effected by the war in Syria. Özge used her project to raise awareness of the issue of child marriage amongst Syrian refuges within the wider community, as well as to build bridges between the refugee girls. Özge delivered letters written by the girls to one another with the aim of empowering them by creating an atmosphere of dialogue and solidarity.

    Dispossessed © Mary Turner on the Nikon D750
    Dispossessed © Mary Turner on the Nikon D750

    The 2018 runner up, Mary Turner chose to raise awareness of the socio-cultural challenges faced by towns in the North East of England, following the collapse of the coal industry in the region. Her image series, shot on the Nikon D750 and entitled ‘Dispossessed’, explores modern day deprivation in the once booming coal mining town of Easington Colliery, while highlighting how the strength of love and family is shining a light within the struggling community.

    Enjoy more images and stories below by Özge Sebzeci.

    Hiyam, 15, is from Aleppo and is engaged to 19-year-old Khosay. She lived with her mother, Werda, and two siblings in a refugee camp for four years before moving to Kayseri. Her mother says she was a child bride herself, so she never wanted Hiyam to get married early but the war and the death of her husband and oldest son left her with no other choice but to marry her daughter off.
    A neighbourhood in Gaziantep where Syrians and Turks live together. Since the war in Syria started, nearly 500,000 Syrians have fled to Gaziantep. Seven years on, tensions between the Turkish and Syrian communities have risen as Turks say that Syrians have overstayed their welcome.
    Female photographers
    Fatma, 16, with her best friend and namesake, Fatma, 13.

    Calling all passionate female documentary photographers

    Are you an aspiring female photographer?

    The award is open to female photographers at any stage in their career. Entrants must be over 18 but can be based anywhere in the world.

    Primarily I am looking for excellent quality photography but also the ability to visually tell a story through an immersive and authentic project. The winning project will allow the story to unfold and take the time to get to know the subject and the people. I’m looking for passion and I want to know the motivation driving the photographers who enter.”

    – Marilyn Stafford

    The overall winner will receive the Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award of £2,000 towards the completion of their project. Submissions are open until Friday 15th November and the winner will be announced in December.

    To apply, please visit the FotoDocument website where you can download a submissions form.

    We wish you the best of luck!