Come See The Alexia Foundation at Photoville!

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The Alexia Foundation is thrilled to announce that, thanks to the generosity of our partner, PhotoWings, we will be presenting works by the recipients of The Alexia 2017 grants and discussing our grants and their history at Photoville, New York’s premiere photo festival. The festival takes place Sept. 13-Sept. 24. Our presentations will take place on Friday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 24 at 3 p.m. Continue reading

Alexia Celebrates 10th Year at Pingyao International Photography Festival

Attendees of the 2016 Pingyao International Photography Festival examine Mary F. Calvert's Alexia supported photography on homelessness among women veterans in the U.S.

For the 10th consecutive year, Alexia Foundation Executive Administrator James Dooley will be presenting the works of Alexia Grant Recipients at the Pingyao International Photography Festival in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the ancient walled city of Pingyao, China. He will be exhibiting the projects of The Alexia 2017 winners Sarah Blesener and Monica Jorge.

“Showing the Alexia student and professional winners each year gives the winners and the Alexia Foundation an opportunity to expose a large audience to the power and the importance of serious documentary photography,” explains Dooley. Continue reading

Alexia in New Zealand: Lectures, Discussions, Radio Shows, Exhibitions & More

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Last week, Alexia Foundation Executive Administrator James Dooley was a key participant in the the Auckland Festival of Photography, a city-wide contemporary art and cultural event which takes place in Auckland’s major galleries, project spaces, non-gallery venues and public sites during June annually. It is the largest festival of photography in New Zealand.

“My goal was to show the importance and depth of serious documentary work that needs to be done, needs to be shown and exposed, and these projects and many, many others were done with the support of The Alexia Foundation,” explained Dooley on the Auckland Festival was something he thought The Alexia Foundation should participate in. Continue reading

Columbia Journalism Review Discovers Nuance and Poetry in Toy Soldiers

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Today, Columbia Journalism Review published an article entitled “Photographer who captured youth patriotism in Russia turns lens to Trump’s America,” which discusses Toy Soldiers, from Sarah Blesener, winner of the The Alexia 2017 grant.

The article looks at how Blesener has approached the topic of patriotism in first Russia and, now, in the U.S. Blesener explains why and how she was able to go beyond basic imagery of guns to find the moments that reveal identity. Continue reading

“Toy Soldiers” in The Guardian & Sarah Blesener on Context

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Images taken in Russia from Sarah Blesener’s 2017 winning Alexia project Toy Soldiers were featured today by The Guardian. “Over 200,000 youth are enrolled in cadet clubs that offer a potent mix of patriotism and play fighting. Photographer Sarah Blesener captured the camaraderie among the students in her series,” The Guardian tells us.

According to Blesener, it was early reception to her published work from Russia that compelled her to turn her lens on the U.S.

“There’s nothing crazy that’s happening there that’s not happening here. It’s the same kind of dialogue… If we do it here, it’s just called patriotism. If they do it in Russia, it’s called nationalism,” Blesener explained in her recent PhotoWings interview. Continue reading

PhotoWings Speaks With Sarah Blesener on Toy Soldiers

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PhotoWings, a nonprofit organization dedicated to utilizing the power of photography to further deep thinking, communication, and action, was our esteemed partner in our recent seminar Latin America: Stories That Drive Change. In addition to providing financial support for the seminar, they also made sure that the event and members of the Alexia community who attended were documented.

The first videos they released from the event are from their extensive interview with Sarah Blesener, The Alexia 2017 professional winner. In the video we are sharing today, Blesener speaks with PhotoWings about how Toy Soldiers came to be and what she hopes the work conveys. Continue reading

Sarah Blesener Wins $30,000 CatchLight Fellowship

Students from School #18 perform a show at the local theater in Sergiyev Posad, Russia, 15 Dec 2016. The show promotes the cadet school at School #18. Sarah Blesener/Alexia Foundation

Sarah Blesener is one of three recipients of the inaugural $30,000 CatchLight Fellowship for Toy Soldiers, the same project for which she was just awarded The Alexia 2017 grant. The work explores rising nationalism among youth in the U.S. and Russia. Continue reading

Announcing the Recipients of The Alexia 2017 Grants

Students train in firearms at the Historical-War Camp, in Borodino, Russia. 24 July 2016. Borodino is famous for a battle fought on 7 Sep 1812 - the deadliest day of the Napoleonic Wars. 350 adolescents are in attendance, ranging in ages from 11 to 16. They are using air-soft guns for the practice and competition. The camp teaches information about the basic kinds of weapons, bases and firing rules,  sniper rifles, and different type of weapons. Sarah Blesener/Alexia Foundation

The Alexia Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of The Alexia 2017 grant competition. The recipient of The Alexia $20,000 professional grant is Sarah Blesener of New York for Toy Soldiers, which documents rising nationalism among youth in the U.S.

The recipient of The Alexia student grant is Monica Jorge of The International Center of Photography for My Grandfather’s Keeper, which documents the sacrifices of senior spouses unprepared for caretaking. The student award of excellence recipients are Camillo Pasquarelli, David Denil, Riel Sturchio and Joy Yi. Continue reading

UPDATE: Interview with Sarah Blesener on Documenting Adolescence and Belonging

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In April of 2016, Sarah Blesener was awarded an Alexia Award of Excellence Grant for Chavi. The work focuses on a surrogate family of fourteen-year old friends living in the projects in the southern Bronx. It explores issues of boyhood, adolescence, and belonging.

In this new interview, we speak with Blesener about working with these young men, what their futures hold and what winning an Alexia Grant meant to her. Continue reading