The W. Eugene Smith Fund Announces Shortlist For 2019 Grants

NEW YORK, NY – July 23, 2019 – The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is pleased to announce the list of finalists in the 40th annual W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography. Finalists have also been named in the Smith Fund’s 2nd annual Student category and 23rd annual Howard Chapnick Grant, which is awarded to an individual for leadership in any field ancillary to photojournalism, such as picture editing, research, education and management. Since the Fund’s inception in 1979, it has awarded over $1 million to photographers whose past work and proposed projects follow the tradition of W. Eugene Smith’s career as a photographic essayist. 

Finalists were selected from 531 entries representing more than 50 countries across the globe. Each finalist is eligible for more than $55,000 in grants and fellowships, including the $40,000 Smith Grant.

The work from grant and fellowship finalists will be presented during the annual award ceremony at the SVA Theater in New York City on Thursday evening, October 17, 2019. Award recipients will be announced that evening. The event is open to the public and free to attend but RSVP is required.

“This year marks the largest number of entries submitted for our grants and fellowships since the Fund’s inception in 1979,” said Phillip Block, president of the W. Eugene Smith Fund. “But what is especially rewarding to us is that entries were submitted from the most diverse backgrounds and cultures in the history of the fund. Thanks to partnerships with international organizations that reach photographers in every corner of the world, we have been able to provide a platform for all photographers, near and far, to tell their stories.” 

The following is a list of finalists for the W. Eugene Smith Grant, Howard Chapnick Grant, and the Smith Fund Student grant. Recipients of each respective grant and fellowship will be announced during the annual awards presentations at the SVA Theater in New York City on Thursday evening, October 17.

2019 W. Eugene Smith Memorial Grant Finalists

Lalo de Almeida: “Amazonian Dystopia” (Brazil)

Mary F. Calvert: “Dying for Justice: Suicide & Military” (USA)

Alessandro Cinque: “Espinar, Broken Land” (Italy)

Nadia Shira Cohen: “God’s Honey” (Italy)

Debi Cornwall” “Necessary Fictions” (United States)

Sian Davey: “A Poverty State of Mind” (United Kingdom)

Matt Eich: “The Invisible Yoke” (United States)

Pierre Faure: “Peripheral France” (France)

Kirsten Luce: “As Above, So Below” (United States)

Yael Martinez: “The House That Bleeds” (Mexico)

Laura El Tantaway: “I’ll Die for You” (United Kingdom)

Ian Willms: “As Long as the Sun Shines” (Canada)


2019 Howard Chapnick Grant

Svetlana Bachevanova: “Foto Evidence” (United States)

Alicia Hansen: “NYC SALT” (United States)

Benjamin Petit: “Dysturb” (United States)


2019 W. Eugene Smith Student Grant Finalists

Manu Ferneini: “A Bigger Room” (Lebanon)

Maximilian Mann: “Lake Urmia” (Germany)

Fawaz Oyedji: “Yours in Arms” (Nigeria)

Markus Seibel: “Europe’s Fall” (Germany)


The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund is supported by generous contributions from The Incite Project, Herb Ritts Foundation, Canon USA, and The Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation.  Additional support is provided by Aperture, Brilliant Graphics, Center for Creative Photography (CCP), the International Center of Photography, MediaStorm, Photo District News (PDN), Pro Photo Daily, School of Visual Arts MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department, School of Visual Arts MPS Digital Photography, and Synergy Communications.


Media Contact:

Lou Desiderio

Synergy Communications, Inc.

Tel: 917-627-0912


Project descriptions and image portfolios from all entry finalists are available upon request.