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Mark Peterson awarded 2018 W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Grant in Humanistic Photography

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The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund announced on Wednesday evening, Oct. 17, that Mark Peterson is the recipient of this year’s $35,000 Grant in Humanistic Photography for his project, The Past Is Never Dead. Selected from a talented group of nine finalists, Peterson looks at the organizations, political parties and candidates bringing the message of white supremacy to the halls of various state and local governments. The W. Eugene Smith Grant will help Peterson further explore the social life of the resurgent Confederacy, the removal of Confederate statues and names on schools and streets, and record the process of the long-term impact of these initiatives. Peterson’s project was selected from 314 entries from 53 countries, the most ever submitted to the Smith Grant since its inception in 1980.

The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Grant is presented annually to photographers whose work is judged by a panel of experts to be in the best tradition of the compassionate dedication exhibited by W. Eugene Smith during his 45-year career in photojournalism. The grant, as well as fellowships and other special awards, enables recipients to undertake and complete worthy photojournalistic projects.

“The judges were extremely impressed with the urgency of Mr. Peterson’s work, and his commitment and courage in revealing a difficult and enormously relevant subject in society today,” said Stephen Frailey,  W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund board member and the chair of this year’s Smith Grant adjudication committee. “Participating as a judge in this competition gave us tremendous insight to the range of narratives from around the world by so many remarkable photographers. The passion and intelligence each one brings to their respective picture stories is quite evident, and the strength and conviction of work submitted was inspirational.” Joining Frailey on the adjudication committee were Jody Quon, photography director at New York Magazine, and Azu Nwagbogu, founder and director of African Artists’ Foundations (AAF), based in Nigeria.

Photographer Sarah Blesener (U.S.) received a $5,000 Smith Fund Fellowship for her project, Beckon Us From Home, which looks at how the interplay of religion, love of country, and military-style training in youth education is being implemented at patriotic camps and clubs across the United States. Photographed in 12 different states, Beckon Us From Home is an ongoing photography project investigating how the United States instills patriotism and passes down traditions to new generations.

The judges also presented special awards to Monika Bulaj (Poland) and Enayat Asadi (Iran) for their projects, Broken Songlines || Three Manuscripts, and Rising From the Ashes of War, respectively. Sponsored by the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, the $2,500 awards are presented to Smith Grant finalists whose works the judges deemed as “exceptional and worthy of recognition.”

The W. Eugene Smith Student Grant was awarded to Marwan Bassiouni (Swiss/U.S./Egyptian), a recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (Netherlands), who received the $4,000 grant for New Dutch Views, a statement that challenges the idea that there is only one national identity and that Islam is separate from the Netherlands. By photographing the Dutch landscape from inside Dutch mosques, Bassiouni invites viewers to step inside the perspective of a Muslim person and rediscover his or her own landscape.

This year’s $5,000 Howard Chapnick Grant was presented to Pete Brook for his project, A History of Prison Photography, Written by Prisoners. The grant is awarded to an individual for leadership in any field ancillary to photojournalism, such as picture editing, research, education, and management. For more than a decade, Brook has written about and curated images of mass incarceration in the U.S. For this project, Brook is teaching the history of photography to 28 men in San Quentin State Prison in California.

The following photographers were recognized as finalists for this year’s W. Eugene Smith Grant:Mary Calvert: Defending the Forces: Reforming America’s Military Justice System (U.S.)Giancarlo Ceraudo: Destino Final: The History of Dictatorship in Argentina (Italy)Antonio Gibotta: Stuck in the Cold of Belgrade (Italy)Raffy Lerma: In the Midst of Violent Change: Covering the Philippine Drug War (Philippines)Stephanie Sinclair: Child Marriage in the United States (United States)

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The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is supported by generous contributions from the Incite Project, the Herb Ritts Foundation, Canon USA, the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, and Carla Shen.  Additional support is provided by Aperture, Brilliant Graphics, Center for Creative Photography (CCP), the International Center of Photography, MediaStorm, Photo District News (PDN), the School of Visual Arts MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department, the School of Visual Arts Master of Professional Studies in Digital Photography, and Synergy Communications.

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Confederate Memorial Day in Fredericksburg, Va., 2018. (Photograph by Mark Peterson/Redux Pictures)


White supremacist rally for the Confederate flag, South Carolina, 2015. (Photograph by Mark Peterson/Redux Pictures)


Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. (Photograph by Mark Peterson/Redux Pictures)


Lighting ceremony, National Socialist movement, Georgia 2018. (Photograph by Mark Peterson/Redux Pictures)


State police stand guard during the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. (Photograph by Mark Peterson/Redux Pictures)


Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. (Photograph by Mark Peterson/Redux Pictures)


White supremacist rally for the Confederate flag, South Carolina, 2015. (Photograph by Mark Peterson/Redux Pictures)


From left: Thomas Dillon, Kayla Wayman, and Julia Lair spend the evening at Mount Rushmore for a ceremony promoting two cadets in their unit, as well as to watch a patriotic film and lighting ceremony, in Keystone, S.D., July 13, 2017. Students from five states around the Midwest spend a week at the Civil Air Patrol Joint Dakota Encampment. The age range is from 12 to 18, with around 60 students in attendance. (Photograph by Sarah Blesener)


Jamison, Jade, Gregory, and Nick throw rocks at their friends swimming in the distance, celebrating the Fourth of July holiday on the Fort Berthold Reservation, July 3, 2017, in North Dakota. The group is saying goodbye to one of their friends, Logan, who leaves in two days for boot camp for the Marines. His grandpa inspired him, and he didn’t want to work in the oil fields. (Photograph by Sarah Blesener)


Elizabeth Nelson, 17, waits in the parking lot of Home Depot for her friends after watching their team in their first football game of the season, Aug. 25, 2017, Omaha. Nelson enlisted in the Army the summer before her senior year of high school and will ship out to boot camp three days after she graduates. “I feel like Omaha is not really the place for me. So, I definitely want to move out West if anything. I do kind of want to get the hell out of here.” (Photograph by Sarah Blesener)


Cemetery close to the Shia shrine, a target of the terrorist attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan, 2010. (Photograph by Monika Bulaj)


The secret ritual of the Ashura night, Shia Muslim (Hazara and some Pashtun) in Kabul, Afghanistan, 2010. (Photograph by Monika Bulaj)


Mother and daughter, refugees in Iran, have returned to their country and make their first visit to a Sufi saint in Mazar, Afghanistan, 2010. (Photograph by Monika Bulaj)


More than 5,000 Afghan and Pakistani refugees try to pass the eastern Iranian border to go to a place far from their homeland. Most of them will stay in Iran or will go to Turkey and Greece. From left: Farugh, 22, Nikmuhammad, 21, and Mohammad, 25, are in one the dormitories on their trip in Sistan and Baluchestan, Iran, August 2017. (Photograph by Enayat Asadi)


Refugees that are under age rest in a hidden place, an unknown hostel in Sistan and Baluchestan, Iran, August 2017. There is not enough food and clean water for them and nobody knows what future they will have. (Photograph by Enayat Asadi)


An Afghan refugee begs not to be arrested in Sistan and Baluchestan, Iran, August 2017. He hands over his knife, because refugees are not permitted to carry weapons. In entering Iran, refugees face multiple risks without a secure future, including abduction by robbers, demands for money from their families, and forced labor. (Photo: Enayat Asadi)


Composite photo of a Dutch mosque interior and the view seen from its window of the local surroundings, the Netherlands, 2018. (Photograph by Marwan Bassiouni)


Composite photo of a Dutch mosque interior and the view seen from its window of the local surroundings, the Netherlands, 2018. (Photograph by Marwan Bassiouni)


Composite photo of a Dutch mosque interior and the view seen from its window of the local surroundings, the Netherlands, 2018. (Photograph by Marwan Bassiouni)


A student of the Prison University Project works alone in an education building at San Quentin State Prison, California, November 2016. Image courtesy of the Prison University Project. (Photo: Prison University Project)


Students of the Prison University Project at work in one of the education buildings at San Quentin State Prison, California, November 2016. Image courtesy of the Prison University Project. (Photo: Prison University Project)


A student of the Prison University Project works alone in an education building at San Quentin State Prison, California, November 2016. Image courtesy of the Prison University Project. (Photo: Prison University Project)