Leica Announces the Second Annual Women Foto Project Award Winners

Leica Announces the Second Annual Women Foto Project Award Winners

Leica Camera USA has announced the recipients of the annual competition, which saw winners receive $10,000, the iconic Leica Q2, and invaluable professional mentorship from Leica. Take a look at the winners' projects!

In honor of the recent International Women's Day, Leica revealed the three winners of its second annual Leica Women Foto Project Award. The three finalists, Matika Wilbur, Karen Zusman, and Anna Boyiazis, were selected by a diverse panel of photography experts, which included award-winning photojournalists and renowned photography industry contributors. The judges panel consisted of:

  • Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, Art Director and Chief Representative, Leica Galleries International
  • Amanda de Cadenet, Entrepreneur, journalist, author, photographer, activist, and founder of Girlgaze and The Conversation​
  • Laura Roumanos, Executive producer and co-founder, United Photo Industries and Photoville
  • Sheila Pree Bright, Fine art photographer and visual cultural producer
  • Elizabeth Avedon, Independent curator, photo consultant, designer, and writer
  • Elizabeth Krist, National Geographic photo editor and founding member of the Visual Thinking Collective
  • Lynn Johnson, Photographer and National Geographic contributor
  • Maggie Steber, VII Agency photographer and Guggenheim Grant Fellow
  • Sandra Stevenson, Assistant Editor in the photography department at The New York Times

The three winners will each be awarded a cash prize of $10,000, which is to be used towards the completion of their submitted project. Additionally, they will also be gifted the iconic Leica Q2, which is a fixed-lens camera with a rangefinder-style electronic viewfinder. The awarded photographers will also receive a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in Leica Gallery exhibitions and Leica Akademie workshops, in addition to mentorship and professional guidance from notable photographers to further elevate their careers.

A Native American couple posing outdoors.

Photo by Matika Wilbur. Welana Fields Queton (Osage, Muscogee, Cherokee) & P'haw Ah Tahlee Queton

One of the winners, Matika Wilbur, an acclaimed Tulalip and Swinomish Pacific Northwest photographer and social documentarian, has produced a stunning visual narrative of Tribal sovereignties in the US, "Project 562," to “change the way we see Native America.” Wilbur has visited over 400 Tribal Nations in all 50 states by car, RV, plane, train, boat, horseback, and on foot. Matika honors her ancestors by portraying the richness and diversity of lived experiences of Indian Country with bold and inspired creativity.

A young boy holding sand in his hands.

Photo by Karen Zusman. Kris, age 8, lives in Sheepshead Bay with his two brothers, mother and stepfather.

The second finalist, New York-based photographer Karen Zusman, began her journalism career documenting human trafficking in Malaysia and over the past several years has made over 20 trips to Cuba for a photo book project. When travel came to a stop during the pandemic, Zusman was spending more time in New York and the inspiration for her winning project, "The Super Power of Me," was born. With the assistance of the Leica Women Foto Project Award, Zusman plans to expand the project to an outdoor exhibit and workshops that foster creativity and self-esteem building for children to express, protect, and expand their vision of who they are.

Young women learning to swim on their backs.

Photo by Anna Boyiazis. Kijini Primary School students learn to float, swim, and perform rescues on Oct. 25, 2016 in the Indian Ocean off of Muyuni, Zanzibar. From the long-term project, "Finding Freedom in the Water."

The third award winner is Anna Boyiazis, a documentary photographer whose areas of focus include human rights, public health, and women's and girls’ issues. Boyiazis has been working on her project, "Finding Freedom in the Water," since 2016. The winning series bears witness to women and girls in Zanzibar who are learning to swim, which she describes as “an act of emancipation in an ultraconservative region where such an act conflicts with patriarchal, religious norms.”

Kiran Karnani, Director of Marketing for Leica Camera North America, explains that "with the Award and the overarching initiative, we aim to empower, inspire and amplify underrepresented voices in photography." This second annual award remains committed to highlighting diversity in visual storytelling. To further spread the brand's campaign, Leica Camera will also be holding a virtual Summit in April 2021. It will be open to the public and those who submitted for the Leica Women Foto Project Award will have access to exclusive programming, including panels, opportunities to meet with photographers, and more.

You can read more about the award and the winning projects and their authors here.

Images used with the permission of Leica Camera USA.

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3 Comments

Pan daBear's picture

Sorry, Anete. All the usual trolls who would flood this comments section with “wHy iz THerE a cOnTEst jUst 4 gUrlz?!” Are busy excusing white supremacy and arguing about the provenance of racist hand gestures over on Wasim’s article. I’m sure they’ll get here soon!

Anete Lusina's picture

As always, I prepare for the worst :-))

Jakub Szwed's picture

Is it just me or the strong halation is noticeable in most of those pictures?