Laurence Geai focuses on conflict, Adriana Loureiro Fernandez covers human rights issues in Venezuela and Mahé Elipe uses her work to examine people’s place in society.
Based on three different continents, these three female photojournalists may differ substantially in some respects. However, they have at least one thing in common.
Their work is being recognized by Reuters, the world’s largest multimedia provider, and each photojournalist - along with four male winners - will receive grants of $5,000, distribution on Reuters’ platforms and mentoring from the agency’s photo editors.
A self-taught photojournalist based in Paris, Geai began her journalism career after witnessing extreme poverty while on a humanitarian mission in the Philippines. Her work has taken her to Syria, the Central African Republic, Iraq and Gaza, where her project Troubled Waters examined water restrictions in the West Bank. She is currently revisiting people who she had photographed fleeing the Battle of Mosul.
Geai said in a statement that is it important for her, “to testify about what is happening during a war; the conflict, the consequences for civilians, but also daily life, in order to show the of civilians. The survival instinct is very powerful. My objective is to create a feeling, or a reaction. I want viewers to find a common point with the civilians who live far away - to show that we are all the same and war is not something distant.”
Loureiro Fernandez’s photography focuses on social conflict and youth culture, and her educational background is in investigative journalism. This year she was also selected by international magazine picture editors to receive the Visa Pour L’Image Remi Award for her piece on Venezuela, and she is currently working on a long-term personal project in Venezuela, Paraiso Perdido (paradise lost).
“I make a point within my work to constantly update the focus of my work and reframe the question of ‘what is Venezuela today?’ —a question that I’m sorting out in my mind constantly and which answer is never the same. In that sense, my biggest aspiration is to produce work that is dynamic and able to move with today’s world,” Loureiro Fernandez said in a statement. “In 2019 I made a point of focusing on women’s issues. In Venezuela, women have taken a central role in society and the country’s identity. I felt an obligation to look at them too. They are the ones burying husbands and children, they’re the ones queuing for food, the nucleus of family structures.”
A French photographer based in Mexico, Elipe is currently working on two parallel projects about femicides and missing people in Mexico, and she has previously documented female mine workers and a collective of women in Honduras living without men. Elipe’s work will be shown as part of Les Rencontres photographiques du 10ethis month in Paris.
Today we live in a connected world, access to information is easier. The culture of the image is everywhere in our societies. Nevertheless, information remains controlled. Photojournalism allows us to testify of the actuality of the world. The image can be a reflection of our societies.
For each grant recipient, the funds and additional training – including reporting and hostile environment training – is intended to help the photojournalists refine their craft and focus on new work.
I think these stories —the ones that allow us to take time, are the ones that help us evolve our creative understanding of the world and aesthetics. It allows us to envision and reflect on what we want to say and how we want to visually develop stories —in that sense, this grant will be a professional evolution.