Toronto, Canada-based photographer Aaron Vincent Elkaim has won the $20,000 Professional Grant from the Alexia Foundation, the organization announced this morning. Elkaim received the grant for his project “Where the River Runs Through,” which examines the consequences of Brazil’s major hydroelectric expansion on the ecosystems, communities and industries within the Amazon Rainforest.
The winner of the first place Student Grant is Ryerson University senior Nathaniel Brunt for his project “#Shaheed,” a study of the war in Kashmir, the men fighting in it, and the changing relationship between technology and the representation of conflict. His prize is a semester at Syracuse University to further his goal of earning a PhD and to produce his project into a book.
Finalists for the Professional Grant were Adriane Ohanesian for “The Last Lives, Rebel Darfur,” Brendan Hoffman for “Brotherland: War in Ukraine,” Krisanne Johnson for “Post Apartheid Youth,” and Asa Sjöström for “Moldove Silent Land.”
Alvaro Ybarra Zavala received a Judges Special Recognition award for his project “Colombia, The Parallel State,” which documents the reality of a civilian population who live in a hidden Colombia that only knows the reality of sixty years of war.
José Márquez of Brooks Institute, Gabriela Arp of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Sarah Blesener of The International Center of Photography, and Nick Wagner of Western Kentucky University have been awarded Student Award of Excellence Grants.
Judges for the 2016 competition included past Alexia Professional Grant recipients Teru Kuwayama, Darcy Padilla and Ami Vitale.
The mission of the Alexia Foundation is to promote photojournalism through scholarships and grants to bring attention to social injustice and to promote cross-cultural understanding. The foundation was established in 1991 by the family of Alexia Tsairis, a Syracuse University student who died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.