Inaugural $30K CatchLight Photography Fellowships Go to Sarah Blesener, Brian Frank and Tomas van Houtryve

Posted by on Tuesday April 25, 2017 | Awards/Contests/Grants

© Tomas van Houtryve. CatchLight fellows receive financial and media support to pursue innovative stories that bring awareness to social issues.

The inaugural CatchLight Fellowships were awarded to Sarah Blesener, Brian Frank and Tomas van Houtryve, the organization announced today. Fellowship winners receive $30,000 to use to create a body of work. In addition, winners are paired with media partners that will work with them to publish their project.

CatchLight is a nonprofit photography organization that strives to marshal resources to help amplify the work of photographers who are doing innovative work. According to a CatchLight statement, the fellowships recognize “demonstrated excellence in the novel use of photography to bring awareness to challenging social issues.”

Blesener will work with Reveal, a publication of The Center for Investigative Reporting, on a project investigating nationalism among American youth. Frank will work with The Marshall Project, a nonprofit journalism organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system, on a story about organizations offering alternatives to incarceration. And Tomas van Houtryve will work with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting on a story about the U.S. border with Mexico and the use of photography as surveillance and as a weapon.

The CatchLight Fellows were chosen from a pool of more than 300 applicants. Jurors for the inaugural fellowship cycle were Lacy Austin, Director of Community Programs, International Center of Photography; Photographer and VII Photo Agency member Ed Kashi; photojournalist and writer Shahidul Alam; London College of Communication Director Paul Lowe; Lekgetho Makola, of the The Market Photo Workshops in South Africa; National Geographic Senior Photo Editor Jamie Wellford; and photo editor Amy Yenkin. Carroll Bogert of The Marshall Project; Robert Rosenthal, from The Center for Investigative Reporting, and Jon Sawyer of The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting represented the media partners in the judging.

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