At the end of each quarter the shortlisted projects will be listed here along with the ability to vote for your favourite.

Q1 2023

So many of you applied for our 1st community grant this year and whittling the entries down to a shortlist for you to vote on was tough work. There are so many worthy projects out there.

These are the projects that have been shortlisted for this quarter. Please read through them all before casting your vote.

Asian Representation in Hollywood - Marcus Ubungen - The goal of this project is to seek out other Asian Americans in the film and entertainment industry. I direct commercials now, but started my career as a still photographer and camera operator. On many production sets, I was the only Asian person in the crew and over the years it began to bother me. So I am setting out to find more like-minded people who look like me my creative field, and capture them in a black and white timeless portrait. As a companion piece to each portrait, there will be an interview about how their journey into their current role, struggles faced along the way, and words to motivate the next generation of Asian filmmakers and creators.

The London Rollerskating Scene - India Mae Alby  - I am photographing rollerskaters in London as a new member of the skating community. Since February, I have deeply embedded myself in a South London-based skating community called Rolling Distance and through my friendships with its members, I am discovering more of London in humble car parks, indoor rinks, outdoor sports grounds and in the streets. Learning to skate has brought me immense joy and enabled me to connect with other Black British people who dominate the rollerskating scene with music, fashion, joy and rhythm, creating a distinctive London style of skating.

The project is special because the people are special. They are deeply talented, committed and under served by a lack of dedicated spaces for rollerskating. They simply make the best of London's limited resources and carve out their own space to shine. By receiving support for this project, I will be able to broadcast the scene's existence by using photography to tell a visual story and hopefully use the images to ask councils to help create intentional spaces for skaters. I am using a film camera to unobtrusively capture skaters in their element and deepen connections with new friends. These skaters deserve to be recognised for their skill and I want to use my photographic abilities to document them.

Black Women Rising UK - Noam Friedman - Black Women Rising UK, is a powerful project led by The Leanne Pero Foundation (reg number 1182365), with the goal of addressing the gaps in care for women of color going through cancer as well as empowering cancer survivors to share their stories through candid black and white portraits, shot entirely on film. As part of the process of taking time and getting to know the women participating in the project, and their stories, the images were shot with analog cameras.

Since its launch in 2018, Black Women Rising has grown, supporting hundreds of BAME community members, providing regular access to a tailored support system for cancer patients and survivors.
Our exhibitions have been shown in various locations in the UK, including the SouthBank Center and The Copeland Gallery, as well as part of a breast cancer awareness billboard campaign, obtaining nationwide media coverage. We have documented over twenty women in previous collaborative projects, and are now working on the next step.
"One Hundred Women - The Book'' will capture the journeys and stories of 100 cancer warriors and will be launched at a major London event during Black History Month, in October 2023.

The Woman: Veiled - Jason and Amanda Ray - The history of the veil, especially when it pertains to the covering of women's faces, has a long history steeped in mysticism, religion, and tradition. From brides on their wedding day to burqas in Islam to sheer coverings on the faces and bodies of the dead, veils will be worn by most women at some point in their lives.

But what is the true meaning of a veil, and what do these enigmatic face coverings symbolize? What effect has veil tradition had on women, and does the continuation of this tradition perpetuate subjugation? It is an unfortunate truth that the veil has harmed women's rights in countless ways. As the president of France recently pointed out, "The burqa is not a religious sign it's a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement. It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic." Do quotes like this show a transition away from veil culture?

The purpose of this project (and grant request) is to visually explore veil culture and the tradition's effect on women. This will be completed utilizing traditional film techniques, most notably medium format.

Don't Touch My... (DTM) -  Zai - DTM... Is a photo exploration and short story collection that highlights personal hair journeys in the black community consisting of my friends, loved ones, intimate partners, and myself. A natural hair journey in the black community equates to a number of things; self discovery, turning a new chapter, and a breath of fresh air. Through this process you build an intimate relationship with your hair much like two lovebirds in college. The more time you spend tending to your scalp the better you begin to understand its personality, preferred products, how long a style will last, and even preferred weather conditions. To an outsider of the community it's hard to fathom such a connection because what people fail to realize is that our hair contains our spirit, our heart, our love, our identity, and our trauma. For example, we all understand that 400 years ago black men and women were stripped of basic human rights as basic as the ability to read and write, so naturally we became innovative. In our efforts to escape black men and women with longer hair would have escape routes braided into their scalps, hence the style cornrows. Fast Forward to the 1964 Harlem [New York] Riots, James Brown who was known for his luscious hair, shaved his head and grew an afro in order to unify African Americans in a non violent protest. The versatility that our hair is capable of is appreciated by the masses. Oftentimes when in public we [Black men and women] find ourselves dodging hands after hearing "Can I touch your hair?" from a nearby stranger. A large percentage of those individuals are not from the culture, furthermore a large percentage of those individuals do not understand the story, research, patience, and the love that goes into our hair. So to answer their question, 'no! you're not touching my hair, you're not touching my spirit, you're not touching my peace, and you're most certainly not touching my crown.'
I believe Ilford Photo and its vast community should support this project for a number of beautiful reasons. This project can provide representation that ultimately resonates and inspires the youth of the black and brown community to embrace their hair in its entirety. This project has the ability to inform members outside of the black and brown community of hair culture which can lead to understanding of the culture and the people around them. Lastly, this project allows me to create a language for those who have yet to feel seen or even heard. Photography has given me a space to communicate freely even when I can't muster the courage to verbally communicate my emotions. I believe this project has the ability to reach the masses which include the ones who are struggling, lost, hurt and neglected by the world.


Earlier awards

Our Q4 2022 Winner was SAM BATLEY with his project 'One Day at a time boys'.

His prize shipped in January and we are looking forward to catching up with him later in the year to see how his project working with a community of men form a recovery centre in Liverpool is getting on.

The other projects that you voted on for the 2nd award were:-

Dogs from Darkness - Ted Smith

Cost of Living Crisis - Kieran Doherty

Queering Rural Spaces - Sarah Stellino

The resistance of native corn in rural Mexico City - Diego Hernadez

Untie the Knot - Clare Park

Our Q3 2022 Winner was ANDILE BHALA with his project 'Related to the Pavement'.

We shipped his prize to him in November and are looking forward to catching up with him in the new year to see how his project capturing faces of Soweto/JOZI is progressing.

The other projects that you voted on for the 1st award were:-

Tragically beautiful - Anna Melnykova

f.64 - Savannah McCauley

Accessible Landscapes - John Emery

Just Sitting - Kasia Murfet

A Role Model for Me - Molly Kate