Set up 14 years ago, Getty Images’ Reportage Grant awards “front-line photojournalists from around the world for projects with a strong visual narrative”, aiming to help them pursue long-term documentary projects. This year, the three selected photographers have won with very different projects – Giulio Di Sturco with Aerotropolis, The Way We Will Live Next; Léonard Pongo with The Uncanny; and Rose Marie Cromwell with King of Fish.
Pongo has won the prize for his ongoing series The Uncanny, which is shot in The Congo. Born in Belgium in 1988 to a Belgian mother and a Congolese father, Pongo started the project as an attempt to reconnect with his Congolese heritage. He first visited the country in 2011, staying with his Congolese family – most of whom he had never met before – and arriving as the DRC held its second ever democratic elections, for both Presidential and Legislative positions. “I am conscious that photographing in the Congo, as a photographer educated in Europe, reveals my own limitations (in accessing and understanding the environment), bias, and stereotypes,” he says. “However, by turning to a more personal story and documenting my confrontation with my family, the country, and by relying on friends and siblings to introduce me to their visions of this environment, I hope to be able to overcome some of these limitations.