You might have heard of the Guggenheim fellowship for photographers, but have you heard of the too much chocolate grant? If not, that's probably because this is the first year it's been awarded. The online blogzine too much chocolate teamed up with Eastman Kodak to award 10 emerging photographers with a year's supply of film. The winners, announced on Tuesday, were chosen from more than 450 entrants.
Phil Jung, Boston. Jung's project, Windscreen, revisits the ideals of early automobiles — such as freedom and adventure — by examining the relationship between cars and their owners.
Magda Biernat, New York. Biernat's series, The Other in Me, explores cultural identity and home in a diaspora. With no strong attachment to either her native country, Poland, or her current life in New York, Biernat searches for a place to call home.
Andy Spyra, Hagen, Germany. Hagen's project is a story about the aftermath of the Bhopal disaster, the toxic gas leak from a Union Carbide pesticide plant that killed more than more than 20,000 people in Bhopal, India, in 1984.
Murray Ballard, Brighton, U.K. Ballard's project, The Prospect of Immortality, investigates the scientific technology of cryonics — or the practice of freezing dead people or animals, with the hope that future technology will be able to revive them.
Collin LaFleche, New York. LaFleche's untitled series shows freshmen from high schools around Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Leah Tepper Byrne, New York. Byrne's project, Still Lives, documents The Children's Village, a 150-year-old residential treatment center and alternative to incarceration.
Anna Beeke, Brooklyn, N.Y. Beeke's project, Amsterdam, New York, documents a town in decline, exploring both living and dead spaces, and how the inhabitants relate to those spaces.
Molly Landreth, Seattle. Landreth's series, Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America, is an exploration of how sexuality, religion, race, class, gender and geography affect one's outlook on life.
Caitlin Price, Washington, D.C. Price's project will comprise photographs of aging women.
Susan Worsham, Richmond, Va. Worsham's series, By the Grace of God, explores her home, the South.
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Jake Stangel, who runs the blogzine and spearheaded the grant contest, answered a few questions for The Picture Show.
Picture Show: Can you ever really have too much chocolate?
Jake Stangel: Oh, of course not. Here is the story behind the name: As I was brainstorming the site back in December, I had heard the Jack Johnson song "Banana Pancakes" on the radio, which got me in the mood to make some pancakes one morning.
I added bananas and thought some chocolate chips would be a good addition, so I poured a bunch in. Far too many. I basically made inedible melted chocolate disks. I couldn't eat them and thought to myself, "This is too much chocolate," and the site was born.
Read more after the jump!
What is your background? I'm a 23-year-old photographer who grew up in Maryland, went to college in New York City and felt the beck and call of the Northwest on two bicycle trips across America, which I did during the summers of 2007 and 2008. So after I graduated that year, I drove out to sunny Portland, Ore., the place I now call home, and started to pursue a living made strictly through photography. Believe it or not, starting a photo career is way harder than biking across country, especially in this economic and publishing climate!
What is your site all about? Well ... what too much chocolate started out as and what it has become are two different things. The site began as an attempt to help aspiring professional photographers like myself — especially those who live outside of the photo epicenters of New York City and L.A. — find some sense of togetherness and resource-sharing via the Internet. ... Over time, the site's audience grew to all sorts of photographers, from hobbyists to highly established pioneers, as well as industry folks. ... So the subject matter has expanded far beyond career talk and now delves into many different corners of editorial, fine art and commercial photography. It's a bit like a variety store; you'll find a bit of everything.
Can you talk a bit about the grant? How did this Kodak partnership come about? This partnership aims to recognize strong project ideas from talented and emerging photographers, allowing them to fully realize a body of work that may not have been achieved otherwise. ...
I realize that in most all photo markets, especially for recreational/amateur shooters, film has long been perceived as dead, but a large contingent of devoted hobbyists and professionals still prefer shooting on film. Film is a technology that's been refined for over a century and is this totally amazing, very faithful, colorful, charismatic way of preserving exactly what comes through your lens. ...
But there totally is a market out there, and Kodak has always produced such silky and consistent and sophisticated film, I know what to expect out of it every time. It was a no-brainer to approach those folks up in Rochester, and Kodak was onboard and enthusiastic about the concept from Day 1.
What is your goal for this grant? My primary hope is that this grant helps enable 10 very talented photographers to passionately document scenes, people, and ideas from around the world, then have these very beautiful images shared among millions of viewers in galleries, publications, and online venues. Then, hopefully, 10 careers really take off!