FotoDocument and Nikon announced that the Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award 2020
winner is Nicky Quamina-Woo. Honourable Mentions have been awarded to Solmaz Daryani (runner up), Fabiola Ferrero, Emily Garthwaite, Ana Caroline de Lima, Emilienne Malfatto, Nadège Mazars and Valentina Sinis.
Nicky Quamina-Woo is an American documentary photographer who divides her time between Africa & New York. Her fascination with the tenacity of the human spirit deeply influences her approach to image making. As a Black woman her work has been centered on exploring the transmogrified effects of trauma within communities. The winning work raises awareness for solutions and development around climate change in Senegal.
The global competition, supported by Nikon and facilitated by FotoDocument, a not-for-profit photography organisation, celebrates female photographers and highlights the positive power of photojournalism to reveal and explore the most important issues facing our people and planet.
The winning project is As The Water Comes. Africa, with its abundant natural resources, is often overlooked when it comes to environmental issues though it suffers heightened effects of desertification, soil erosion, and insect infestations. One such issue is in northern Senegal, where hundreds of families have been evacuated as their houses have been destroyed by the rising sea levels and inhabitants forced to move to tent cities when their homes are no longer habitable. Efforts to deal with these problems are often ignored or severely handicapped by a failure to understand their nature and act on possible remedies that incorporate residents' needs. One such area, Doun Baba Dieye, had to be abandoned as the village was completely submerged in 2009 after authorities dug a channel through a small peninsula that initially protected the residents against the ocean's surge. The hope is that with a larger spotlight pointed at the government through these works, it will start to shift its response to climate change, which needs more public participation and an integration of local knowledge particularly as it relates to key economic activities like fishing and agriculture.
Honourable mentions for projects from the following artists have also been awarded:
Solmaz Daryani, Iran (runner up)
Fabiola Ferrero, Venezuela
Emily Garthwaite, UK
Ana Caroline de Lima, Brazil
Emilienne Malfatto, France
Nadège Mazars, France & Colombia
Valentina Sinis, Italy & China
The work ranges from series documenting the effects of climate change in Afghanistan; the psychological effects of the crisis in Venezuela; Arbaeen, the largest yet little reported Muslim pilgrimage in Iraq; the Rikbaktsa tribal peoples of the Amazon facing the pandemic; the loss, trauma and memories of the Yezidis of Sinjar in north-western Iraq; the security abuses of young people in the fight against gang violence in El Salvador; and the story of women in Iraqi Kurdistan who have tried to escape domestic violence by setting themselves on fire. (Please find an image and description of these projects attached)
The FotoAward, now in its fourth year, and previously won by esteemed photojournalists such as Anna Filipova (2019), Özge Sebzeci (2018) and Rebecca Conway (2017), is designed to recognise women documentary photographers working on projects which aim to bring about real change on contemporary issues, and which may be unreported or under-reported. Nicky Woo-Quamina will receive £2000 towards the completion of her project As The Water Comes and in an unprecedented decision, the judges have awarded a small grant of £250 to runner up, Solmaz Daryani, towards the completion of her project Afghanistan: Between Climate and Conflict along with issuing the six other Honourable Mentions.
Nicky Quamina-Woo commented, We can be so isolated as documentarians, putting days, weeks, or months into the work, endeavoring to share stories - often independently with no concrete idea if our creative and storytelling efforts will resonate with others. This award is especially heart-warming for me, as the judges chose work highlighting climate change in Africa, with its abundant natural resources, which is so often overlooked when it comes to environmental issues, though it suffers heightened effects of things like desertification and erosion.
Esteemed US born and UK-based photographer, Marilyn Stafford set up the FotoAward in 2017 to help support photojournalisms new generation of women. Stafford herself shot to international acclaim after her work documenting Algerian refugees in Tunisia famously made the front page of The Observer in 1958, bringing their plight to the attention of the world.
Marilyn Stafford said, It was with great difficulty that the judges made their selections and we would have given a prize to everyone were that possible. My heartfelt congratulations go to Nicky Quamina Woo, our 2020 FotoAward winner, and to Solmaz Daryani as runner up, for their beautiful photography and the sensitive way they approach their subjects. May your projects see a most successful completion and reception. We are proud to have played a part in them along the way.
In recognition of the work women documentary photographers do to highlight important global issues, Nikon have supported the Award since 2019.
Rebecca Newton, PR & Social Media Manager, Nikon added, Nikon feels incredibly privileged to support the Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award for a second consecutive year. The submissions this year were overwhelming - so much talent and so many crucial projects. It was a tough decision but ultimately, Nicky Quamina Woos combination of stunning composition and awareness for solutions and development around climate change in Senegal proved a unanimous favourite