Awards and mentions were handed out to 13 photographers, but the Italian scooped the main prize with a ten-year project on his difficult childhood and subsequent recovery
“The work represents my experience in recovering and understanding my parents, their life and their relationship towards myself,” says Marco Marzocchi of his series Oyster. “I never knew them well because they split when I was 6 years old, and they both died young.
“Drugs, addictions, jail, and dysfunctional environment, these were constant elements. This work is focused on dealing and replacing all the doubts and the fears that I had. Exorcising the pain and the searching for love.”
A bold mix of colour, black-and-white, contemporary and archive images, presented with hand-written text, Marzocchi’s series has scooped first prize in the 2017 Gomma Grant. Marzocchi has worked on the project for a decade, honing down on the editing last year with distinguished photographers JH Engstrom and Margot Wallard at the celebrated Atelier Smedsby workshop.
The Gomma Grant’s Second Prize Winner is Vladmir Vasilev, whose documentary series T(h)races explores contemporary Bulgaria through glimpses into its citizens’ daily lives – people who are friends, family or strangers to the photographer. As the country undergoes dramatic change, emerging from a Communist past into a European future, Vasilev turns his lens on a country he says he now hardly recognises.
Third Prize was awarded to Theo Elias’ Smoke & Morkret, a personal project focused on Iceland. Shot in striking black-and-white, the images unfold like a visual diary, showing the relationships the Swedish photographer forged in Iceland, and its formidable landscapes.
Honorable Mentions go to Terje Abusdal for his series Slash and Burn, and to Alvaro Deprit for his project Fiesta. Awarded exclusively by the Gomma Editorial staff, the new Gomma Grant Prize went to Mihai Barabancea and his project Overriding Sequences.
Filippo Venturi’s Korean Dream was awarded the Best Color Documentary work, while the winner of the Best Black-and-White Documentary work was Antoine Bruy for his series The White’s Man Hole, exploring the mining town of Coober Pedy in South Australia. Best Daily Life Story was awarded to Kirill Golovchenko for Bitter Honeydew; Best Colour Picture to Werner Christian’s Rubble and Delusion; and Best Black-and-White Picture to Stavros Stamation’s A Raven’s Dream.
The Best Rising Talent award went to Anna Miroshnichenko for her work on anorexia nervosa (Ana loves you), and to Simone Sapienza and his series Charlie surfs on Lotus Flowers, which depicts a contemporary Vietnam strung between capitalism and Communist control.
The Gomma Grant has been going since 2014, and has picked up a reputation for finding cutting-edge and emerging work. The judging panel this year included: Caroline Hunter, picture editor at The Guardian; Diane Smyth, digital editor of the British Journal of Photography; Enrico Stefanelli, founder of PhotoLux Festival; Joao Linneu, founder and curator of VOID; Luca Desienna, mentor at Gomma; Peggy Sue Amison, artistic director of East Wing; and Stephane Charpenter, curator of TempsZero.
For more information visit the Gomma Grant site www.gommagrant.com