Stare: African American woman close up

Leica Women Foto Project

27 Aug 2020 Brooklyn
Widow in India poses for portrait
Photo by Yana Paskova

LOCATION: Brooklyn Bridge Park – New Dock Street | Get Directions


Explore the works of the 2019 recipients from the inaugural Leica Women Foto Project Award. The exhibiting artists include Debi Cornwall, Yana Paskova, and Eva Woolridge, whose work highlight today’s social and political climate through the female perspective. Selected from a pool of over 600 applicants, the unique series by Debi, Yana, and Eva give a voice to those underrepresented in society, bringing to light stories left untold.

The mission of the Leica Women Foto Project is to encourage and empower photographers to demonstrate the importance and impact of a female’s point of view. The award serves as a catalyst to re-frame how we see, how we think, and how we express our visual narrative. Learn how you can apply to the 2nd annual Leica Women Foto Project Award here.

Featuring: Debi Cornwall, Yana Paskova, and Eva Woolridge


Debi Cornwall presents Necessary Fictions, which explores the staging and performance of American power in immersive, realistic military war games. In this project, Cornwall photographs the mysterious country of Atropia. Though fictional, Atropia actually exists: mock Afghan and Iraqi villages have been constructed on military bases across the United States to host immersive, realistic military training exercises for troops preparing to deploy. On ten such sites around the country, Cornwall documents these mock villages, battle scenarios, and cultural role-players, with the goal of examining how fictions are deployed and embraced, and to invite critical inquiry among military and civilian viewers alike, about a society in which war has become the rule, rather than the exception.

Yana Paskova is a Bulgaria-born, Chicago-bred, Brooklyn-based, photojournalist and writer, who uses her experience as a political asylum immigrant to find a way to bridge human understanding of each other in her series, Where Women Rule. She describes the project as “a visual and sociological look at what happens when cultural norms of gender are amended or removed—via the all-female societies across the world, where women gather for shelter or in matriarchy—leaving us with new notions of femininity and masculinity, human bonds, family, and the fluid boundaries of identity.”

As told through her lens as a self-proclaimed African-American and Chinese-American queer woman, Eva Woolridge‘s personal experiences come to life in her project The Size of a Grapefruit. The series is an artistic interpretation of Woolridge’s medically traumatic experiences following her diagnosis of a dermoid cyst–the size of a grapefruit–and consequential removal of her right ovary, which she believes could have been saved, had medical professionals taken swifter action following their early; Art history.



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The shape of a story is reactive to the storyteller’s perspective, developing a narrative that too often is reflective of individual truths. These narratives influence thoughts, conversations and actions of individuals and communities alike, indicative of the urgent need to expand opportunities to amplify underrepresented voices in photography. The Leica Women Foto Project, a platform created by Leica Camera USA, encourages diversity and inclusion in visual storytelling, bringing to light the breadth of shapes formed by a single story.

The mission of the Leica Women Foto Project is to encourage photographers to demonstrate the importance and impact of the female point of view. The award serves as a catalyst to reframe how we see, how we think, and how we express our visual narrative.

Leica Women Foto Project Award will grant three photographers $10,000 each to help complete an in-progress, personal photo project, expressed through the female point of view. In addition to the financial award, each winner will receive a Leica Q2, to further support the completion of the personal project. Applications will be reviewed by a jury of nine renowned figures in the world of photography, including: Karin Rehn-Kaufmann, Elizabeth Avedon, Sheila Pree Bright, Amanda de Cadenet, Lynn Johnson, Elizabeth Krist, Laura Roumanos, Maggie Steber and Sandra Stevenson, and judged on the quality of photography, sophistication of project, and a dedication to the medium of photography.

Candidates for the award must be legal U.S. residents and are requested to submit a series of ten images, four of which must have been made between the years 2019 and 2020, from an in-progress project expressed through the female perspective. The submission can be made through any digital or film camera of any make, model, or brand. The work in progress must cover a topic related to current cultural and social conversations. Alongside the images, applicants are required to submit a written statement about the personal project, its relevance in today’s cultural climate, project timeline, and a detail of how the funds will be used.

Submissions for the Leica Women Foto Project Award will be accepted from August 26, 2020 to October 8, 2020. Winners will be announced on January 18, 2021. Application and full Terms & Conditions can be found here.