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

sarah-blesener-the-guardian

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

sarah-blesener-photowings

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

Mary F. Calvert Named 2017 Guggenheim Fellow

US Army Pfc. Natasha Schuette, 21, was sexually assaulted by her drill sergeant during basic training and subsequently suffered harassment  by other drill sergeants after reporting the assault at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. While Staff Sgt. Louis Corral is serving just four years in prison for assaulting her and four other female trainees, Natasha suffers daily from PTSD because of the attack. She is now stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Photo by Mary F. Calvert

Mary F. Calvert has been named a 2017 Guggenheim Fellow for her longterm project, “The Battle Within: Sexual Assault in America’s Military.” The purpose of the fellowship is to provide Fellows with blocks of time to work with as much creative freedom as possible. Calvert has received a 12-month fellowship, which she will use to work on “Prisoners of War: Male-on-male Sexual Assault in America’s Military,” the current and fourth chapter of “The Battle Within.” 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

‘Alexia at 25′ Exhibit at LOOK3 Open June 13-19

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There are only a handful of days remaining before the opening of Alexia at 25 at LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph. Make plans to join us in Charlottesville, Va. June 13-19. Continue reading

Mary F. Calvert Wins World Press Photo First Prize, Long-Term Projects

From Mary F. Calvert's First Prize World Press project.

Mary F. Calvert has won First Prize in World Press Photo’s Long-Term Project category for her work “Sexual Assault in America’s Military.” The Alexia Foundation is proud to have been able to help fund this vital work through our Women’s Initiative Grant. Continue reading