For over four decades, the documentary photography course has forged a reputation as one of the UK’s leading photography teaching destinations. In fact, the very first photography class can be dated back even further to 1912, when it was introduced by the head of the school of art at Newport Technical Institute. The course, however, was set up in 1973 by Magnum photographer David Hurn as a 12-month Training Opportunities Scheme to ‘re-skill’ miners and steelworkers.
Fiona Rogers founded her online Firecracker platform to help showcase the best talent in female photography. What followed was a community of photographers all celebrating and sharing amazing work and it wasn’t long before the Firecracker grant was born. “It felt like the natural evolution was to be even more supportive. Something that went beyond showcasing work online. It started out pretty small: everybody contributed £10 to put into the pot and then we managed to flip that into a grant that was £1,000 and now it’s grown to £2,000.”
Since graduating from the documentary photography course at the University of South Wales last year, Lua Ribeira has gone from strength to strength. In addition to the Firecracker Grant, which she was awarded in 2015 while still a student, her work was recently selected by Susan Meiselas to appear in Raw View magazine’s Women Looking at Women issue. She is also making a name for herself commercially and with editorial clients such as Wired; her images have been shown at international festivals, including Photo España in 2014 and Gazebook Festival in 2015, and she has also been awarded a Jerwood Photoworks Grant for future projects in 2018. Thus far, Ribeira is best known for Noises in the Blood, an ongoing investigation into Jamaican dancehall culture,
The ten winners are: Carl Bigmore, Georgs Avetisjans, Kazuma Obara, Lua Ribeira, Martin Seeds, Matthew Broadhead, Michael Vince Kim, Monica Alcazar-Duarte, Sam Ivin and Sian Davey.
“Dancehall is often condemned for its dramatic, violent and sexual expressions, ignoring the political implications of some acts and its value as a cultural manifestation,” says Lua Ribeira, whose series exploring British dancehall rituals, Noises in the Blood is now on show at London’s Fishbar Gallery
Some 43 photographers have been shortlisted for the Gomma Grant this year: Alvaro Deprit, Antonio Faccilongo, Arko Datto, Baptiste Giroudon, Carla Kogelman, CJ Clarke, Damien Daufresne, David Favrod, David Molina, Demetris Koilalous, Dolezal Antone, Elena Anosova, Esa Ylijaasko, Gael Bonnefon, Geert Broertjes, Gianluca Abblasio, Harit Srikhao, Irina Popova, Irina Zadorozhnaia, Jean-Marc Caimi & Valentina Piccinni, Jessica Eve Rattner, John Feely, Julie Glassberg, Kaja Rata, Laura Thompson, Leafhopper Project David Simon Martret & Blanca Galindo, Lily Zoumpouli, Lua Ribeira, Luigi Cecconi, Marcus DeSieno, Marilisa Cosello, Marina Black, Matthew Arnold, Mikael Hellstrom, Michal Siarek, Nicola Zolin, Paul Thulin, Panos Kefalos, Piotr Zbierski, Qian zhao, Sarah Pabst, Yurian Quintanas Nobel and Zackary Canepari. The winners will be announced on 15 February, with the overall winner awarded a €1000 cash prize, second place €500 and third place €200, plus a host of other prizes. The grant has been running since 2014, and the two previous winners are Javier Arcenillas (2015) and Ksenia Yurkova (2014). The Gomma Grant jury this year included Matt Shonfeld, executive director of Institute; Michael Itkoff, cofounder of Daylight …
The emerging photographers each win £5000 to research a new project plus £5000 to develop it