Launched in 2014, the Gomma Photography Grant has developed a reputation for providing a platform for new and emerging talent with its international panel of judges
“We strongly believe that exposure means jobs for photographers, and also it means new awards and recognitions,” says Luca Desienna, the editor of Gomma Books and founder of the Gomma Photography Grant, which is open for submissions until 31 October – with cheaper rates for early birds for the next 24 hours.
The grant, which is in its fourth year, prides itself on promoting new photography talent as well as encouraging established names, and offers a top prize of €1000 plus other cash awards. It is open to photographers at any stage of their career, but each entry must contain a minimum of six images. According to Desienna, this allows for a creative mix of talents to come together.
“What we notice with most photography contests is that they tend to copy one another somehow,” he says. “Few photo contests dare to award unknown photographers. Instead they follow the steps of what has already been awarded. There is this feeling that if someone has won an award, then it will not be a mistake if they are awarded again.
“But unfortunately selecting this way does not highlight fresh gems and talents. It just creates trends, but not excitement and new-comers. We at Gomma are not afraid to award unknown photographers; we do this regularly.”
The Gomma Grant boasts an international panel of judges, this year comprised of: Caroline Hunter, the picture editor of The Guardian Weekend magazine; Enrico Stefanelli, the founder and art director of PhotoLux Festival; Joao Linneu, the founder and curator of VOID; and BJP’s digital editor, Diane Smyth.
Past winners have included: Ksenia Yurkova, who has since published her first photobook, Letters for Two, and No-one Else; Javier Arcenillas, who has also been the recipient of a grant from Getty Images; and Esa Ylijassko, who has had a solo exhibition at Foto Leggendo. Other notable entries who have gone on to further success include: Thai photographer, Harit Srikhao, who will publish his first photobook soon; Arko Datto, who has since exhibited his work at Arle’s respected Voies Off fringe; and Japanese photographer Hajime Kimura, whose work has since featured in TIME, Newsweek and Le Monde.
The Gomma Grant is open for submissions until 31 October, costing €25, but entries made before 1 September at 11am (BST) will be eligible for the early bird rate of €10.