Miraj Patel Wins 1st Prize in PhMuseum Photography Fellowship 2022

Exploring his Native American identity, photographer Miraj Patel receives prestigious recognition for his work that questions the archetypes of both cultures. Learn more about all the awarded projects and discover the motivations of the jury.

Do you see what I see, when I look at myself? © Miraj Patel 1st prize winner

For the 10th edition of our annual scholarship, an independent jury composed of Shoair Mavlian (director, Photoworks), Alejandro Cartagena (visual artist), Joanna Milter (director of photography The New Yorker), Thomas Sauvin (collector and artist) awarded the sum of €5,000 PhMuseum Photography Fellowship 2022 Great price at Miraj Patel for his project Do you see what I see, when I look at myself?

His work is a sophisticated fictional narrative in which Patel rethinks his experience as a first-generation American Indian, Alejandro Cartagena explains the choice on behalf of the panel: “Looking at photography is something that fascinates me. The opportunity to see all these projects and ideas was a great opportunity to take the pulse of the photographic language of the 21st century. Judging for this award was difficult and engaging. All of the winners showed qualities that made them worthy of the awards. To me, the winner finally showed things that made me support him: humor, experimentation, self-questioning and aesthetic experimentation.

The second prize of €2,000 was claimed by a Polish photographer Weronika Gesicka who presented the project suspense, where she reworks archive images to ironically capture our daily fears. The choice is explained by judge Thomas Sauvin on behalf of the jury: “With her Cliffhanger series, Weronika Gesicka revisits archive images from the last century, these black and white photos that we have seen a thousand times and which never exist only to inspire beauty, success and happiness. This familiarity blinds us at first, but very quickly things degenerate and the dream turns into a nightmare. Gesicka’s interventions humorously inject a good dose of anxiety into images that were meant to be perfect.”

Cliffhanger © Weronika Gesicka 2nd prize winner

The third prize of €1,000 was awarded instead to the American photographer Maggie Shannon For his work Extreme pain, but also extreme joy where she portrays a midwife and what it means to carry a life during the pandemic. Judge Joanna Milter explains the panel’s decision: “These intimate and carefully viewed photographs immerse us in the world of midwives who provide medical and emotional support to women giving birth at home or in birthing centers, during the Covid lockdown periods in western Michigan and the Los Angeles area. These are not wispy, soft images of motherhood; black and white flash processing depicts hard work, physical discomfort and the mess of work. But Shannon’s camera also captures moments of contact and connection that illuminate the shared effort needed to bring forth new life.”

Extreme pain, but also extreme joy © Maggie Shannon 3rd prize winner

The New Generation Prize endowed with €2,000 was awarded to a Togolese-German photographer Delali Ayivi for a project that documents and empowers the Togolese creative youth scene. Judge Shoair Mavlian explains the reason for the judge’s choice: “Togo Yeye, founded by creative duo Delali Ayivi and Malaika Nabillah shines a light on the wider artistic community in Togo. Combining traditional portraiture with experimental fashion, abstraction and color, these images stand out and demand attention.. Using the street, studio space and natural landscapes, the work celebrates creativity.”

Further away Songs of asphodel by Mathias Benguigui, Let it be by Cristiano Volk and Pasaco, 1996 by Luis Corzo were thoroughly scrutinized by the judges and ultimately awarded with an honorable mention. Same for Resident foreigners by Guanyu Xu and Three colors that I know in this world by Kincső Bede in the New Generation Award category.

Togoyeye © Delali Ayivi

The PhEST team granted a personal exhibition at the next edition of the Italian festival to Sarah Hodges by High Marcel. Giovanni Troilo (PhEST Artistic Director) and Arianna Rinaldo (PhEST Photography Curator) explain how they selected the work to be exhibited in Monopoli, Italy this summer: “The collateral effects of mass government surveillance are far to be completely discovered and known. One is certainly the control of our actions and the potential restriction of our freedom of expression. Marcel Top with his project Sarah Hodges confronts these concerns in an original way by playing the game of the system. He succeeds in use the tools of the system to create an identity that collects the features (of the face but also the mood and preferences) of the perfect American citizen. This digital human, expertly sculpted also as a physical mask that can be shared and used to break the system, represents an original attempt to reveal the global concern for a technology that has invaded our daily lives. With a simple yet sophisticated concept, Marcel constructs an impactful 2D and 3D presence, which interrogates the state of the mass following we are subjected to in a direct and understandable way.

Sarah Hodges © Marcel Top

The Getxo Photo Festival exhibition was awarded instead Juarez Archives by Alexander Morales. The festival’s artistic director, Jon Uriarte, comments on the decision to bring the project to the Basque Country in June: “The project presents itself as a strange and at the same time familiar album of a city traditionally represented by violent images. watch images generated by a global mapping platform, Archivo Juarez explores how forms of networked production and circulation condition the representation of personal memories and daily life in Morales’ hometown.

Juárez Archive © Alejandro Morales

german artist John Husser will travel to Landskrona this fall to produce works informed by the Swedish city and its surroundings thanks to the residency grant offered by Landskrona Foto. Their artistic director, Jenny Nordquist, commented: “With a strong attention to form and light, Johann Hussers’ black and white photographs of urban architecture raise questions about home and belonging. He also uses new digital technologies to deconstruct his images to raise questions about how we shape our cities and for whom we develop them, and this approach makes his work very appealing to our residency. Landskrona has an interesting architectural history and is currently being redeveloped, so I believe Johann Husser will find inspiration and opportunity here to expand his ongoing work.”

City proposal © Johann Husser

Additionally, Faysal Zaman, J Houston, J Nicolas Bernal, Morthou, Imane Djamil, and Linta Butt have all been offered to work with a mentor from the PhMuseum Education program.

Congratulations to all participants, judges and all the organizations that supported this 10th anniversary edition. We hope to continue working together to share, support and enjoy the visual language in the years to come.

While waiting for our next annual call for applications, after last year’s great success, the PhMuseum Days, our International Photo Festival is back for its second edition. The theme is Today is yesterday’s tomorrow and thanks to its open call, we will select a minimum of 3 works for individual exhibitions, plus 40 images for a collective installation to be held in Bologna, Italy, from September 23 to October 2. Find out more and apply at phmuseum.com/d22.


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