These weekend, we concluded the judging for The Alexia grant for the 27th time. As is tradition, co-founder Aphrodite Tsairis closed the competition with her thoughts on the process. We wanted to share her moving and perceptive remarks with you.
Now in our 27th year of The Alexia competition, here at Newhouse, once again, we have spanned the globe and felt the human drama unfold. In this place each year, we have celebrated the innumerable ways a picture can tell a story.
Each year we learn through this competition that photography is more than a means of expression; it is a different way of seeing, one that treats each moment as something irreplaceable.
Each photographer’s work we viewed today whether they were students or professionals – each one was, in the words of the great Alfred Eisenstaedt, struggling “to find and catch the storytelling moment.”
Once again, the judges of this competition have crystallized that quest for us. For their expertise, we are grateful.
We, of the Alexia Foundation have the desire to give voice to injustice, to give voice to history so that we remember it, to give voice to cultural differences so as to promote understanding.
Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and it can change a thousand lives. Mathew Brady’s portraits of the Civil War battlefields captured the horror of war. Jacob Riis’s pictures of turn-of-the-century New York City tenements inspired a host of reforms. Today, photojournalists continue to risk almost anything – often their lives – to take pictures that matter.
Photojournalists are our eyes in places we will never visit, never experience, never know. With their cameras, they take us everywhere.
As we searched today for those photographers who had vision and the creative energy to translate that vision to us with power, intensity and sensitivity, we were moved. What we searched for today was the photographer who urged us to look harder at our world, to see more and to feel more.
Today, the judges of this competition have crystallized the merits of our quest to award the stories that make a difference. To them, we say thank you.
We, here at the Alexia Foundation strive to find the images that will have a profound, socially significant impact – ones that will reinforce the power of photography to bring about change.
I think today we have come just a little bit closer to achieving that goal.
The winners of The Alexia 2017 grants will be announced on April 8 in a special ceremony in Miami. Learn more about that reception here.