Fine Art Photography Daily

Film Photo Award Visonary Finalists and Student Finalists: Sara Cwynar, Chance Deville, Lisa Elmaleh, Vikesh Kapoor, Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez, Joseph Bui, Tom Cronin, Teifi Davies, Drew Leventhal


©Sara Cwynar, Women, 2015

This week we were excited to present the recipients of the Film Photo Award from the Fall 2021 submission period. Today we are happy to share the finalists from both the Visionary Project and Student Project categories from the Spring 2022 Film Photo Award : Sara Cwynar, Chance Deville, Lisa Elmaleh, Vikesh Kapoor,  Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez and student finalists: Joseph Bui, Tom Cronin, Teifi Davies, Drew Leventhal as the level of excellence was so high that we wanted to shine a light on their work.

The Film Photo Award is open to all emerging, established, and student photographers worldwide. Each award period provides three distinct grants of Kodak Professional Film and complimentary film processing by Griffin Editions to photographers who demonstrate a serious commitment to the field and are motivated to continue the development of still, film-based photography in the 21st century.

Stay tuned for the Fall 2022 call for proposals that will open for submission toward the end of the summer of 2022. For the latest information, follow Film Photo Award on Instagram: @filmphotoaward

The Film Photo Award Spring 2022 Guest Juror, Barbara Tannenbaum, Chair of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs and Curator of Photography at the Cleveland Museum of art, shares some thoughts about this session’s selections:

Jurying offers the winners prizes and recognition. It also offers the jurors a reward:  a cross-sectional glimpse of that particular moment in photography.  The artists submitting to the Film Photo Award may constitute a limited and unscientific sample of the field. Nonetheless, seen as a whole, their work was of very high quality and, at the same time, reflected the impact of the pandemic and other events of the past few years. Recent traumas seem to have sparked a desire to use the practice of photography as a way to connect with other human beings and with the natural and socially constructed world. Understanding was valued over surface appearances; meaning and emotion over visual patterning and aesthetics; and subjective exploration over objective observation.

The recipients of the Film Photo Awards receive film and processing, as well as exposure for their work. While it may seem anachronistic in this digital age, photographing with film slows down the process, encourages deliberation and moderation, and may just be the perfect medium for this moment. The three winners—the two Visionary Award recipients, Kristina Knipe and Simon Murphy, and the Student Awardee, Saskia Baden—are engaged in long-term projects that seek to understand the people in a particular community and their relation to place. All three are involved with portraiture as a collaboration or exchange; they give their sitters primacy and agency. The resulting images are revealing without being intrusive, moving without being sentimental.

Shooting with film, especially with medium or large format cameras, reinforces—yes, even requires—a deeper engagement between sitter and photographer, and between sitter and the image, than digital cameras often afford. The fine details recorded on an emulsion encourage closer inspection. They impel and implore us to spend more time with an image and thus with its subject. A pixel is a translation of the real world, filtered through the digital realm. Film records the light bouncing off the real world. Its direct relationship to physical reality endows it with veracity, tactile authority, and intimacy. These traits of the medium were much appreciated by all those who applied for the award and especially exemplified the recipients and finalists.


©Sara Cwynar, Three Hands, 2015

Sara Cwynar’s films and photography have been described as building on the legacy of the 1980s Pictures Generation. The artist is interested in how design and popular images work on our psyches, in how visual strategies infiltrate our consciousness. She considers how familiar, often sentimental images smooth over unpleasant realities, to cover up “the systems of control embedded within our social, economic, and political lives.”

Sara Cwynar (Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1985) currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She holds an MFA from Yale University, New Haven, CT; a Bachelor of Design from York University, Toronto, ON, Canada; and studied English Literature at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Selected exhibitions include: “Source,” Remai Modern, Saskatoon, SK, Canada (solo) (2021); “Collection 1970s–Present: Search Engines,” MoMA, New York, NY (2020/21); “Sara Cwynar,” The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT (solo)(2019); “Image Model Muse,” Milwaukee Museum of Art, WI, and Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN (solo)(2018-2019); “Tracy,” Oakville Galleries, Oakville, ON, Canada (solo); 33rd Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (both 2018); “Soft Film,” MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany (solo); “Subjektiv,” Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (both 2017); and “Greater New York,” MoMA PS1, Queens, NY (2015-2016).

In 2021, Sara Cwynar presented a new commissioned work at Performa, New York. In 2019 MoMA New York commissioned Cwynar to make a series of films that stream on the museum’s website and social media platforms.

Cwynar’s works are in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum, New York; MoMA, New York; MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Minneapolis Institute of Art; Dallas Museum of Art; Milwaukee Art Museum; Fondazione Prada, Milan; Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco; Zabludowicz Collection, London; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; and FOAM Photography Museum, Amsterdam.

Follow Sara Cwynar on Instagram: @cwynars


©Sara Cwynar, Tracy (Grid), 2017

Chance Deville is a queer artist and poet born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. Their photographs and prose climb inside of trauma, queerness, and landscape where they search all of the nooks and crannies on their way out. Chance currently resides in Providence where they are teaching at Brown University.

Follow Chance Deville on Instagram @chancedeville

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©Chance Deville, Untitled, from the series Growing Tired of Calloused Knees, 2021


©Chance Deville, Untitled, from the series Growing Tired of Calloused Knees, 2021

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©Chance Deville, Untitled, from the series Growing Tired of Calloused Knees, 2021

Lisa Elmaleh is an American visual artist, educator, and documentarian based in Hampshire County, West Virginia. She specializes in large-format work in tintype, glass negative, and celluloid film. Since 2007, she has been traveling across the US documenting American landscapes, life, and culture.

Born in Miami, Florida (1984), Lisa completed a BFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2007, during which time she was awarded the Silas Rhodes Scholarship. Upon graduating, she received the prestigious Tierney Fellowship to work on a project that evolved into an in-depth visual documentation of the impact of climate change on the Everglades. The culmination of this project resulted in a book titled Everglades published in 2016 by Zatara Press.

Elmaleh’s work has been exhibited nationwide and recognized by the Aaron Siskind Foundation, Puffin Foundation, The Tierney Foundation, amongst others. Her work has been published by Harper’s Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, CNN, The New York Times, National Geographic, Oxford American, Garden & Gun, and NPR, amongst others.

In 2010, Lisa began to work on a long-term ongoing project documenting traditional Appalachian musicians through tintype portraiture as a historic documentation of American culture.

In 2012, while still living in New York, she worked on a one-year visual autobiography, where she made daily self-portraits with her 8×10 camera to give a raw inside look at her life as a female visual artist.

Since 2014, Lisa has lived in Paw Paw, West Virginia. Throughout the years, she has been documenting the landscape, culture, and community around her.

In 2017, Lisa began traveling from the Appalachian Mountains, across to the west coast of America, and down to the US-Mexico border to document the landscape, culture, people, and environment in a time of great political divide. This ongoing project combines portraiture, landscape, and documentary photography.

Lisa travels in truck containing her bed, and a portable wet plate darkroom. She has a traditional black and white darkroom where she prints in West Virginia.

Elmaleh is available for assignment, commission, and hire.

Follow Lisa Elmaleh on Instagram: @elmalayheehoo


©Lisa Elmaleh, Redwing Blackbirds, Progreso Lakes, Texas, from the series Promised Land, 2021


©Lisa Elmaleh, Moonrise Over Juárez, Mexico, from the series Promised Land, 2021


©Lisa Elmaleh, Samuel in Front of Monument Hill, Arizona, from the series Promised Land, 2021


©Lisa Elmaleh, Hermana Luz Elena, from the series Promised Land, 2021

Vikesh Kapoor is a multidisciplinary artist from Sunset Pines, Pennsylvania, whose work examines race, class and identity as a first-generation American.

His ongoing photo-based narrative, See You At Home, has received support from curators at the National Portrait Gallery, SFMoMA, LACMA, Tate Modern, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Andy Warhol Museum. Kapoor received The Joan Hohlt and Roger Wich Emerging Photographer Scholarship from Houston Center for Photography in 2021, The Hopper Prize in 2020, the PhotoNola Review Grand Prize in 2019, a Lensculture Art Photography Juror’s Pick Award in 2018 and CENTER’s Project Development Grant in 2018.

In 2020, he received 2nd place for the PHmuseum Mobile Photography Prize. He was also a finalist for the Documentary Essay Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and a finalist for the Portrait Award presented by Head On Photo Festival. In 2019, Kapoor was a semifinalist for the Outwin Boochever Award at National Portrait Gallery and shortlisted for the Grand Prix Images Vevey Award.

Kapoor’s first solo exhibitions for “See You at Home” will be on view at PhotoNOLA Festival (New Orleans) in December 2021 and Filter Space (Chicago) in February 2022. His photographs have exhibited at Aperture Foundation, Houston Center for Photography, SFCamerawork, Silver Eye Center for Photography, Photo Vogue Festival, among other venues. He was recently an artist-in-residence at Center of Photography at Woodstock in New York and will continue work on See You At Home at Latitude Chicago in 2021.

Kapoor is currently working on a commission for Leica x British Journal of Photography on his mother’s career. He resides in Los Angeles, California.

Follow Vikesh Kapoor on Instagram: @vikeshkapoor


©Vikesh Kapoor, Our Childhood Swimming Pool, from the series See You at Home, 2016


©Vikesh Kapoor, The Bouquet, from the series See You at Home, 2019

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©Vikesh Kapoor, On An Island, from the series See You at Home, 2016

Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez is an emerging photographer born in Bogota, Colombia, educated in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and living in Brooklyn, New York, who aptly navigates the disciplines of storytelling, editorial photography, and fine-art photography.

His work reflects the realist way he observes his environment, blending quietly with his surroundings and taking advantage of natural light to capture real colors. He enforces design rules and structure in his framing, while keeping a candid and organic feel—seeking a constant harmony in his work. Using poetic mediums, Ruiz Gonzalez explores the beauty of unassuming moments, often capturing harsh scenes with a delicate eye, and bringing new value to often-overlooked settings.

He is the co-founder of Antics Publications—an independent photography publisher based in Brooklyn and Bogotá, Colombia.

Follow Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez on Instagram: @mathewfg


©Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez, Tracy After Work, from the series Chilluns’ Croons, 2021


©Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez, Easts Side House, from the series Chilluns’ Croons, 2021


©Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez, Rattlesnake Old Tale, from the series Chilluns’ Croons, 2021



©Joseph Bui, Dad’s Haircut, from the series I Love You. I Miss You. Have A Good Day, 2022

Joseph Bui (he/him) is a Houston-based commercial and portrait photographer/artist. Identifying as Vietnamese-American and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, he developed an interest in storytelling on topics of relationships between people, community, identity, culture, and the theme of “home.”

As an active listener and observer, he explores the strengths and vulnerabilities of the topics he works with, as well as their relationship to the environment they exist in. His work is informed by discovering people’s personalities and perspectives, both on an individual level and through themes that connect them. This has led him to telling the stories of the Queer Community in Waterville, Maine, and most recently his own family in Houston, Texas through his photo book and series, “I Love You. I Miss You. Have A Good Day.”

Follow Joseph Bui on Instagram:


©Joseph Bui, Dad at Work, from the series I Love You. I Miss You. Have A Good Day, 2022


©Joseph Bui, Mom at Work, from the series I Love You. I Miss You. Have A Good Day, 2022

Tom Cronin has been pursuing a BA Documentary Photography degree at the University of South Wales. 

Follow Tom Cronin on Instagram: @tom_cronin_photo

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©Tom Cronin, Untitled, from the series: For we may be the prisoners, 2022

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©Tom Cronin, Untitled, from the series: For we may be the prisoners, 2022

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©Tom Cronin, Untitled, from the series: For we may be the prisoners, 2022

Teifi Davies has been pursuing a BA Documentary Photography degree at the University of South Wales. 

Follow Teifi Davies on Instagram: @teifidaviesphoto

Station to Station

©Teifi Davies, Untitled, from the series: Bargoed Boys, 2019

Station to Station

©Teifi Davies, Untitled, from the series: Bargoed Boys, 2019

Station to Station

©Teifi Davies, Untitled, from the series: Bargoed Boys, 2019

Drew Leventhal is a Brooklyn, NY based photographer. He was educated at Vassar College and the International Center of Photography. His work deals with themes of history and memory, evoking the cycles of life and death and the ever changing notion of the family.

His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States and Mexico.

Follow David Leventhal on Instagram: @drlphotos


©Drew Leventhal, Untitled, from the series: Mason & Dixon


©Drew Leventhal, Untitled, from the series: Mason & Dixon


©Drew Leventhal, Untitled, from the series: Mason & Dixon


©Drew Leventhal, Untitled, from the series: Mason & Dixon

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