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

AE Recipient José Marquéz on his Momenta Workshop

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Each year, winners of The Alexia student award of excellence grant are given $1500 to be used on an educational experience from a number of choices. 2016 student AE winner José Marquéz used his funding to attend The Momenta Project Los Angeles 2017, a five-day workshop where each attendee documents the mission of a local non-profit.

With the guidance of Momenta, José beautifully told the story of Under The Bridges and On The Streets, a non-profit serving the homeless in the Los Angeles County.

“I’m beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the Momenta Workshop. It was an incredible learning experience that pushed me to be the best I could physically and creatively be in a short period of time,” said José about the experience. Continue reading

Early Bird Pricing for Miami Seminar Ends April 1

Photo by Mauricio Lima, Winner of POYLatam 2015, provided by POYLatam.

Latin America: Stories That Drive Change is promising to be an inspiring and dynamic event. Taking place April 8 & 9 at the University of Miami School of Communication, the seminar will feature talks by the best in their fields, break-out sessions to go in-depth on areas of interest and project reviews to refine grant applications. Plus, we’ll are hosting a special reception on Saturday, April 8 where we will announce the winners of The Alexia 2017 grants.

Currently, the price to attend Latin America: Stories That Drive Change is $95. That price is only valid until this Saturday, March 25 at midnight. Register now to lock in this price. After Friday, the cost for the seminar will rise to $110. Continue reading

Mike Davis: Stories That Drive Change Speaker Highlight

Carlos Javier Ortiz, Sarah Leen, Mike Davis, Alexia Chair at Syracuse University, Julia Dolan, Aphrodite and Peter Tsairis at The Alexia 2015 judging.

Mike Davis is a legend and a genius. He is responsible for some of the most important photo editing of our time and has led some of the most important photography teams journalism has ever assembled.

Mike currently holds the Alexia Tsairis Chair for Documentary Photography at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He teaches advanced storytelling classes, runs the Alexia Foundation Grants competition and creates special initiatives while continuing to work with photographers the world over as a picture editor.

For Latin America: Stories That Drive Change, Mike will be explaining what grants are available and how to successfully apply for them based on his extensive experience administering The Alexia grants, as a jury member for a variety of grants and as a photo editor, who has guided numerous photographers to success. In his break-out session, he will be discussing how to select and sequence images for maximum impact, achieving the third effect that results from the successful interplay of two images.
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Ami Vitale: Stories That Drive Change Speaker Highlight

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The Alexia Foundation visual storytelling seminar Latin America: Stories That Drive Change takes place in exactly one month, on April 8 and 9 at The University of Miami. To celebrate that event, we are going to feature each of our speakers with a special post on our blog. The first presenter we would like to highlight is Ami Vitale, a National Geographic photographer, a Nikon Ambassador, and a two time recipient of The Alexia grant. Continue reading

“When the Spirit Moves” Wins World Press Photo First Prize

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Justin Maxon, with fellow cinematographer and director Jared Moossy, have been awarded first prize in the Long Form category of the 2017 World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest for “When the Spirit Moves,” his long-term project on gun violence in Chester, Pa., a small American city.

Maxon won The Alexia 2012 professional grant for “When the Spirit Moves.” He was also the recipient of The Alexia 2008 student runner-up grant. Continue reading

UPDATE: Mary F. Calvert’s “Missing in Action: Homeless Women Veterans”

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Today is the last day of Mary F. Calvert’s Alexia Foundation Instagram take over. All this past week, she has been sharing powerful images and the moving stories of women, whose brutal sexual assaults while in the U.S. Military resulted in their homelessness.

In this post, we talk about some of the recognition Calvert’s work has received, why her project is so important, and “Prisoners of War: Male on Male Rape in America’s Military,” the current stage of her long term work on Military Sexual Trauma. Continue reading

Matt Eich Launches Monograph, Takes Over Instagram

Ritchie Goins Jr. watches from the window of his parents' trailer as cinderblocks are brought in as the foundation for his grandmother's new trailer. Leetha Goins and her children Timmy, 25, Troy, 16, and grandson Will, for whom she cares, were displaced when a drunk driver swerved off the road and crashed into their trailer.  Matt Eich/Alexia Foundation

“This place is a microcosm of a story that plays out around our country and around the world. History repeats itself. Our collective memory favors the convenience of amnesia over acknowledging the damage that we continue to inflict upon ourselves. Photography is the antidote. This collection of images is my love song to Ohio.” -Matt Eich

Eight years ago, Matt Eich won the First Place Alexia Student Grant for “Carry Me Ohio.” Today, that project, which he worked on over the course of 10 years, is available as a monograph from Sturm & Drang books. 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