with those of the organisation. The Distribution Grant is explicitly outwardly focused. The grant rewards photographers who not only have created a relevant body of work, but who have displayed dedication as an advocate. This commitment is demonstrated in part by the photographer’s relationship with an organisation focusing on the issue. Marcus Bleasdale, for example, collaborated with Human Rights Watch to produce a travelling exhibition of his work on resource exploitation in the DRC, while Nina Berman worked with several US nonprofit organisations to present her work on wounded US soldiers to young audiences in areas where there is active military recruitment. The Distribution Grant calls on the photographer to have a strong sense of the work’s audience, and of how the work’s significance can be most effectively conveyed to that audience. Eric Gottesman’s work with children affected by HIV in Ethiopia is a particularly striking example: Gottesman worked with Ethiopian collaborators to produce a travelling exhibit modelled on
Above left: Eric Gottesman’s travelling exhibition, made in collaboration with children affected by Aids in Ethiopia Above: Viva Favela, a collaborative of photojournalists documenting life in favelas, were awarded a grant to exhibit their images in favelas throughout Rio. A resident hangs a portrait of Pavaõ Pavaõzinho by Kita Pedrosa © Peter Lucas
an Ethiopian coffee ceremony in which pictures made by the children and letters addressed to parents who had died from Aids drew attention to the psychological impact of the virus and sought to dispel the stigma surrounding talk about HIV. In many cases, photographers chosen for Moving Walls later submitted successful Distribution Grant proposals, and vice versa. Selections from Moving Walls have travelled to Jordan, Syria, the UAE, Bahrain and Lebanon, in exhibitions integrated with the work of local photographers, and in cooperation with local institutions. This effort echoes OSI’s efforts to work with Central and Eastern European photographers in
the mid-1990s. And, photographers represented in Moving Walls have participated in OSI forums about both the issues in which they are engaged and the relationship between documentary photography and advocacy. These two complementary OSI programmes offer, against the background of OSI’s goals, a way for photographers to cooperate with institutions – both the partner nonprofit bodies and OSI itself – in a sustained way. Support from a partner organisation provides legitimacy that is useful for making the work effective as an intervention. Institutional paths are carved out where there is no map except for a convergence of concerns and will. By supporting photographers who have already proven themselves, OSI is able to further the life of their work in a way that fully recognises the photographer’s own commitment. Leo Hsu
See www.soros.org for more information about the OSI Documentary Photography Project.