© Justyna Mielnikiewicz
We are thrilled to share the news that Justyna Mielnikiewicz, who leads our Tbilisi Unseen workshop, has been awarded the W. E. Smith Memorial Fund’s 2016 grant in humanistic photography for her complex work on the former Soviet Union republics.
The grant is awarded to photographers who show highest commitment, passion and perseverance in documenting human stories and report upon aspects of the contemporary world that are of significant importance, with special attention to those who are working against the fashions and economics of modern publishing.
This year, the award was given to Justyna Mielnikiewicz for A Diverging Frontier: Russia and its Neighbors, an ongoing project that explores the long-term social implications of the former Soviet Empire’s collapse in 1991 and the following shift of borders. In her project proposal to the W. E. Smith grant she wrote:
My project explores borders as ever-changing spheres of influence that overlap physical borders marked on the map. It documents life on the frontier of Europe, and delves into the symbolic meanings and reconstructed historical narratives of these borderlands, which contribute to the formation of national identity and shaping the images of the neighboring countries.
What is the most important, Justyna has been investigating this subject through everyday life and personal stories of individuals. The grant is meant to support the continuation of the project.
Justyna Mielnikiewicz is a self-taught photographer with over 15 years of professional experience ranging from news photography and classic reportage, to long term, in depth personal projects, to designing and publishing her own books. For her outstanding attitude, independence and passion in documenting the social and human issues in the former Soviet republics she has been also previously awarded The Aftermath Project Grant, Canon Female Photojournalist Prize and Open Society Documentary Photography Project Production Grant.