In a time marked by uncertainty and distress, the VID Foundation for Photography inaugurated its first VID Grant. The aim was to provide photographers from the Balkans (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia) the opportunity to tell stories from their communities, undergoing significant political and economic convulsions in the last fifty years. 85 photographers submitted compelling proposals on pressing issues, including immigration and displacement, depopulation, war crimes, remembrance, climate change, gender rights, minority rights, and domestic violence. The formal qualities of the proposals varied between documentary, artistic, and archival. The winners will develop projects spanning family history within mythology, youth finding themselves in small towns, and forced assimilation policies.
Winner VID Grant Financial Prize:
Winners VID Grant Mentorship Prizes:
Ms. Marija Mandić’s project captured the imagination of the jurors, standing apart from the other entrants as her story, which mixes family history with mythology, exposes how women are often expunged from ancestral stories. There’s a poetic sense that emerges from Marija’s reconstruction of her own family record, offering a story that feels both personal and universal. We can’t wait to see how Marija develops this work.
As we looked through Mr. Matej Jurčević’s images, there was little doubt in our minds that we were dealing with a young but talented photographer. There’s a closeness between him and the people he captured in his work that’s undeniable, and we felt that a mentorship could only be beneficial for the development of Matej’s craft and storytelling.
Ms. Vera Hadzhiyska was an instant favorite for many of us. Her careful and yet so colorful aesthetics make for such a strong visual project – one that deals with a subject that remains taboo in the Balkan region. It is our hope that awarding Vera with this mentorship will not only help her develop the next instalment of this work, but also help her spread awareness of the forced name-change policies that have impacted Bulgaria’s Muslims for most of the 20th century.
All three winners of the 2021 VID Grant will work closely with a mentor in the coming seven months. After that the finalized projects will be presented on the VID Foundation for Photography website and social media.
VID Grant 2021 Jury Members:
Alessia Glaviano, Brand Visual Director, Vogue Italia
Anne Ruygt, FOMU Photography Museum, Antwerp, Belgium
Justyna Mielnikiewicz, MAPS Images, Independent documentary photographer, Georgia
Marko Drobnjakovic, Freelance Documentary Photographer, Serbia
Mohamed Somji, Director, Gulf Photo Plus, Dubai, UAE
Noelle Flores Théard, Senior Digital Photo Editor, The New Yorker, USA
Olivier Laurent, International Photo Editor, The Washington Post, USA
Sumeja Tulic, Writer and Photographer, Bosnia & Herzegovina/USA