PROJECT LAUNCH: Juror's Statement

JUROR MAURO BEDONI, Photo Editor, COLORS magazine

The Project Launch grant submissions included many different kinds of art and documentary projects, mainly journalistic reportage, landscapes, portraits, fine art, architecture and still-life dealing with social, political, environmental and global issues, but also local and private moments. They were shot in many countries, although most in the US, and through different perspectives. But only a few projects advanced to my shortlist.

I judged the strength of the imagery first, but I also cared how the artist's statement described and supported the project with words that images could not speak. In the final round, I elevated little-covered contemporary topics, excellently executed and formally consistent.

I appreciate that this grant selection process gives feedback to the photographers by letting them know how far they advanced in the rounds. For those who did not make the final selection, I invite you to carefully review the winning projects along with the juror's statements to provide insights and guidance for your process of self-critique.

Every award has a specific purpose. The purpose of this one is to support the pursuit of a project and to give a project exposure and dissemination. I kept this premise in mind while making selections, encouraging promising talent and the photographers who chose topics that need to be explored more deeply, and who did so in experimental, intriguing and meaningful ways. At the end of the day, this is the challenge that contemporary photography has to meet in order to engage an audience.

JUROR VERNA CURTIS Curator of Photography, The Library of Congress

With the daunting task of scrolling through and digesting 12,000 images submitted by 601 entrants, I turned to the photographers' statements before looking at their slides. The result was that I was evaluating how well their intentions visually communicated to me. I was asking: how relevant or vital was the idea they intended to put across; did I understand from the images what they were trying to say; and were those images compelling to look at? The entries ranged across the spectrum of what photographs can communicate from the documentation of human or economic struggle to disappearing cultures or lost ones. There were personal explorations -- of one's identity, of situations, of positions one can find oneself in, and of life's ambiguities. Others took on the challenge to evoke memory or to have us question what is real. While there were many worthy projects on key contemporary subjects, which gave them credence, those which focused in equal measure on their subject and its most effective presentation won my votes.

I found myself drawn to the photographers who took on the greatest challenges, who observed with the most critical eye, who were able to touch in me an emotional chord, and who sought strength and found compassion. I would like to encourage many who submitted their work for their commitment and their sincerity. While tough to give so few photographers CENTER's recognition in the Project Launch grant, it was a pleasure to join all of them in the adventure.

PROJECT LAUNCH: Juror's Statement

JUROR CHRISTOPHER MCCALL, Director, Pier 24 Photography

At the beginning of this process, the pool of submissions reached just about 600, with portfolios from almost every corner of the world. I was both intrigued and challenged by the task of reviewing so much work exclusively in a digital format, the first year this jurying process has functioned in this manner. As I scrolled between various applicants, it quickly became clear which work I responded to most strongly. These projects not only combined clear, technical savvy, but were also informed by a distinct and fully developed concept, where aesthetics and meaning coalesced. While they may have reconsidered familiar subjects or terrain, the approach taken was so completely different that what could have been staid and unremarkable was instead rendered fresh and innovative. It was those portfolios that were advancing the medium in some clear and exciting way. Thoughtful editing, engaging sequencing and installation shots to complete the vision often set these submissions apart as well. While I did consider the artists’ statements in this process, it was the photographs that ultimately guided my final decision.

This year’s grant recipient, David Favrod, best embodied the attributes outlined above. While issues of identity have a long history within the medium of photography, the staging of the photographs in Gaijin and Favrod’s deliberate integration of Japanese traditions and symbols resulted in a compelling narrative. This story, however, remains open-ended, allowing almost any viewer a point of entry. His presentation and decisions regarding scale, layering and sequencing demonstrated a clear vision that considered and advanced the lineage within which he was working.

I selected Laia Abril and her project Thinspiration for my Juror’s Choice. Abril tackles a challenging subject that is often overlooked in contemporary culture through an unexpected and potent gaze. Although the topic has been explored by her photographic predecessors, Abril’s use of the computer monitor – with its banding, smudges and stains across the screen – render her subjects through a lens inherent to the technology and social media prevalent in society today. The photographs are challenging and haunting, staying with you beyond your initial viewing.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with CENTER on this project, an organization I have followed and admired for many years.


Mauro Bedoni
Photo Editor, COLORS magazine

Juror Statement

Verna Curtis
Curator of Photography, The Library of Congress

Juror Statement

Chris McCall
Director, Pier 24 Photography

Juror Statement


David Favrod

Jurors' Choice:


Winner: David Favrod

Artist Statement: Gaijin

from the project GAIJIN, Autoportrait en poulpe; 48x60cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Sadako; 80x100cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Kobé; 40x50cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Raid B29 sur Kobé le 18 juin 1945; 80x100cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Le Dôme; 116x145cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Vent divin; 116x145cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Baoummm; 150x187.5cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Mishiko; 150x187.5cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Son magnifique champ de fleurs; 116x145cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Fanny, mon père, ma mère et moi; 40x50cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Bombardement; 150x187.5cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Installation view, Sans titre; 250x200cm + 40x50cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Sans titre; 116x145cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Le départ; 30x40cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Autoportrait; 64x80cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Le tombeau des lucioles; 80x100cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Pour Sadako; 64x80cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Catogne vs Himeji; 116x145cm 

from the project GAIJIN, Installation view 

from the project GAIJIN, installation view 

GAIJIN is a japanese word meaning «the foreigner»

«For a Swiss, I am a Japanese and for a Japanese I am a Swiss or rather a gaijin.»

My name is David «Takashi» Favrod. I was born on the 2nd of July 1982 in Kobe, Japan, of a Japanese mother and a Swiss father. When I was 6 months old, my parents decided to come and live in Switzerland, more precisely in Vionnaz, a little village in lower Valais. As my father had to travel for his work a lot, I was mainly brought up by my mother who taught me her principles and her culture.

When I was 18, I asked for double nationality at the Japanese embassy, but they refused, because it is only given to Japanese women who wish to obtain their husband’s nationality.

It is from this feeling of rejection and also from a desire to prove that I am as Japanese as I am Swiss that this work was created. “Gaijin” is a fictional narrative, a tool for my quest for identity, where self-portraits imply an intimate and solitary relationship that I have with myself. The mirror image is frozen in a figurative alter ego that serves as an anchor point.

The aim of this work is to create “my own Japan”, in Switzerland, from memories of my journeys when I was small, my mother’s stories, popular and traditional culture and my grandparents war narratives.

The image of the window with the paper birds is about the woman Sadako who at her home close to Ground Zero when the atom bomb was dropped in Hiroshima in 1945. Years later, she developed leukemia and was hospitalized in 1955 and given a year to live. She died in 1955 aged 12. During a hospital visit Sadako’s best friend folds an origami crane as an old Japanese story says that who folds 1,000 origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. As Sadako didn’t manage to fold all 1,000 cranes, her friends folded the remaining ones and buried them with her. With this image I want to speak about the war, the memory and the atomic bomb.

1945, my grandparents were 17 years old and lived at Kobé. The Bombing of Kobe in World War II on March 16 and 17, 1945 was part of the strategic bombing campaign waged by the United States of America against military and civilian targets and population centers during the Japan home islands campaign in the closing stages of World War II.

Mishiko was the sister of my grandfather. She fell ill during the second war, doctors diagnosed him a poor hydration. In Japan, watermelon is a fruit very popular and holds much water. So his parents gave him regularly. But the diagnosis was wrong and it was a salt deficiency and she died shortly after.

The sound is a very important part of the war memories of my grandparents (the explosions, the holings, the sound of the B-29,...) Baoummm is the onomatopoeia of an explosion. The onomatopoeias are painted on the print.