Leica Camera USA Launches Initiative to Support Gender Diversity in Photography

Jul 22, 2019  By Richard Rejino

Leica Camera USA takes its longstanding appreciation of women in the photographic arts a step further with the announcement of the Leica Women Foto Project – a platform designed to support diversity and inclusion in photography through ongoing programs, events, and a new photography award dedicated to the Project that jointly serve to inspire narratives through the female perspective.  Leica recognizes that the shape of a story is reactive to the storyteller’s perspective, often leaving out those whose point of views are underrepresented. By amplifying the female perspective in photography, Leica aims to help provide a more dynamic and diverse view of the world around us.

 “This importance of diversity in visual storytelling strengthens the integrity of our collective story,” says Kiran Karnani, Director of Marketing for Leica Camera North America. “Visual expressions through myriad lenses challenge and embrace ideas that drive important conversations. We enable growth through an expansion of thought when we actively support inclusivity through the photographic medium. With the Leica Women Foto Project, we aim to embolden photographers to think outside one’s own point of view, support underrepresented voices to speak their visual languages, and celebrate new ways of seeing.”

As part of the ongoing Leica Women Foto Project, Leica Camera USA is launching the inaugural Leica Women Foto Project Award, which will award three photographers $10,000 each to help enable the pursuit of a personal project. Candidates based in the United States who display the highest quality of photography, dedication to the medium of photography, sophistication of project, as expressed through the female perspective with narratives that broaden perspectives, ideas and conversations on today’s social climate, will be selected as winners.

In addition to the financial award, each winner will receive a one-year loan of a Leica Q2. At the end of the term, the cameras will be passed on to the next three winners of the 2020 award to continue the legacy. A replacement Leica camera will be offered to the initial set of recipients to continue documenting their journey through the lens of a Leica.

Photo entries will be reviewed by a panel of renowned judges including:

  • Karin Kaufmann, Art Director & Chief Representative, Leica Galleries International
  • Maggie Steber, VII Agency photographer and Guggenheim fellow
  • Elizabeth Avedon, photography book and exhibition designer, independent curator and writer
  • Laura Roumanos, executive producer and co-founder, United Photo Industries
  • Deborah Willis, university professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and author of Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery

Candidates for the award must be legal US residents and are requested to submit a series of 10 images from a personal or long-term project, made on any digital or film camera of any make, model or brand, with at least 4 images created between 2018-19. Alongside the images, applicants are required to submit a 500 word proposal describing their personal project and its relevance in today’s social climate, including detail of how the funds will be allocated.

Each submission will be scored by each judge individually based on quality of photography, dedication to medium of photography and sophistication of project. The three entrants with the highest total scores from all five judges will be declared the winners of the Award.

Call for entries begins today and closes on August 29, 2019. Applications for the Leica Women Foto Project Award can be submitted through the online registration form found on http://bit.ly/Leica_Women. Leica Camera USA will announce the three winning photographers on October 16 via http://bit.ly/Leica_Women and @leicacamerausa on Facebook and Instagram.

About Leica Camera

Leica represents a union of craftsmanship, design and experience. It is a beautiful collision of art and engineering, and the future of form and functionality. Leica Camera, headquartered in Wetzlar, Germany, is an internationally operating, premium-segment manufacturer of cameras and sport optics products. The legendary status of the Leica brand is founded on a long tradition of excellence in the supreme quality and performance of cameras and lenses, and the iconic images that artists and photojournalists everywhere captured with them. For more information about Leica visit www.leicacamerausa.com, or follow the brand on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Press Contact

M Booth PR: Leica@mbooth.com / 212-481-7000

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited and outside US.  Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. (and DC) who are 21 yrs+ at entry. Contest is NOT open to individuals who have a formal affiliation or partnership with competitors of Sponsor. Contest begins at 9:00 AM ET on 7/22/19 and ends 11:59 PM ET on 8/29/19. To enter, complete the entry form at http://bit.ly/Leica_Women and upload 10 photos that tell a single story through a woman’s perspective, on a topic relevant to the current social or political climate. All photos must adhere to the Submission Guidelines. Entrants retain ownership rights in their submissions, subject to certain rights and licenses granted to Sponsor as set forth in the Official Rules. Prizes: 3 winners will each receive (i) $10,000; (ii) a 1-year loan of a Leica Q2 camera or equivalent; and (iii) a replacement camera at the end of the loan period. Restriction: During the 1-year loan period, winners may not enter into a formal affiliation or partnership with competitors of Sponsor. Total ARV of all prizes: $44,985. For complete rules and eligibility requirements, visit http://bit.ly/LeicaWomenFotoProjectRules. Sponsor: Leica Camera Inc.Copyright ©2019 Leica Camera Inc.  All rights reserved

Richard Rejino
Richard is the Executive Director of LHSA - The International Leica Society and a part-time professional photographer. He is also a classically trained pianist, writer and published author. His book, "What Music Means to Me" is available from Hal Leonard Corporation.

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