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Four Exceptional Women Photographers Honored for Their Work in Social Justice, Environmentalism, and More

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Leica Camera USA has announced the winners of its fourth annual Leica Women Foto Project Award, in collaboration with Women Photograph and Photoville. This year, the award expanded its reach to include submissions from the UK, Canada, Mexico, and the US, with the goal of amplifying marginalized voices and empowering the female point of view through photography.

The Leica Women Foto Project is an initiative that seeks to create a diverse and inclusive community through the power of photography. The award is a catalyst for reframing visual narratives and encouraging photographers to showcase the importance of a woman’s perspective. It has evolved to include grants and awards in service to Las Fotos Project, Black Women Photographers, Women Photograph, the Leica Society International Grant for Women in Photography, VII Agency, and more.

Out of a highly competitive pool of applicants, four women photographers were chosen as the 2023 winners. Each awardee will receive a cash prize of $10,000 USD, a Leica SL2-S camera, and a Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70mm f/2.8 ASPH. Lens. The panel of notable judges evaluated each submission based on the quality of photography, sophistication of the project, and dedication to the medium of photography.

Documenting social justice issues, Mary F. Calvert, the US-based photographer, has focused her attention for the past nine years on military sexual abuse (MST) in the US Armed Forces. Her shattering project, Left Behind, draws attention to the impact of MST on victims and their families, as well as the scars of trauma that are left long after events of sexual assault.

Greta Rico, a Mexican documentary photographer, shares the story of her cousin Siomara in her project, Substitute Mother. After Siomara’s mother was murdered, she became a “Substitute Mother” to her 3-year-old niece, shedding light on the psychosocial impacts that cause trauma in those who become substitute mothers due to violence in Mexico.

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Eli Farinango, a Canadian photographer, explores the healing journey through her documentary photography, highlighting the spaces to reclaim ancestral memory through image-making and collaborative processes. Her winning project, Wilkay, traces the artist’s experience of transformation and healing from abuse and mental illness, allowing her to reconnect with her roots, family, and ancestors in the process.

Anna Filipova, a UK-based visual journalist, focuses on unique environmental and scientific topics based in remote and inaccessible areas. Her winning project, ARCTIC: THE DARKEST HOURS, explores Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, where the largest laboratory for modern Arctic research is housed. The project sheds light on the research scientists who make up most of the population and the extensive research of post-global warming conditions.

Women’s photography has played an essential role in shaping our visual culture, yet it is often overlooked and underrepresented in mainstream media. The Leica Women Foto Project Award is an effort to bring attention to the important work of women photographers and to amplify their voices. Through initiatives like this, we can create a more equitable and inclusive world.

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