The 6Mois Photojournalism Award was created in 2020 thanks to synergy between Tancrède Besnard, patron of the arts, who wanted to support photography and photographers, and Léna Mauger, editor-in-chief of the magazines XXI and 6Mois, who wanted to produce photographic series. “From being editors, our usual role at the 6Mois magazine, we have become producers of stories,” says Léna Mauger. This award is open to all photographers, with no limit of age, nationality, or place of residence. It aims to support “photographers who love telling stories through images.” The 10,000 euro grant allows the award winners to develop an ongoing project. The 2020 prize went to Italian Marco Zorzanello for his series on climate tourism. This year, the jury, composed of figures in the world of photography (including Gilles Favier, Director of the ImageSingulières festival or Lars Lindemann, Director of Photography at Geo), brought together by director of photography at 6Mois, Martina Bacigalupo, have selected Fabiola Ferrero and Seif Kousmate. The two photographers offer insiders’ stories of their respective communities in Venezuela and Morocco, and, as Léna Mauger puts it, “are experimenting with new ways of writing.”
The guardian of those who have left
Trained as a journalist, the photographer Fabiola Ferrero was born in Caracas in 1991. In her series “I can’t hear the birds,” she combines photographs of Venezuelan families with local and national news. To tell the story of the fall of Venezuela, where, out of 28 million inhabitants, over 5 million have been forced into exile, she has adopted an intimate approach. Léna Mauger tells us that Ferrero is “the guardian of those who have left; she goes around locking the houses of those who are leaving, covering their beds, sofas, armchairs with sheets.” Ferrero, who watched her parents, brothers, and closest friends leave, decided to stay and document the country that is being deserted. She notes: “It is important to continue to document the impact of our crisis right now, because even though it is no longer in the headlines, the collapse continues, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the daily struggles of the citizens.”
The disappearance of oases
Founder of Koz, a collective of four Moroccan visual artists who seek to tell photographic stories in hybrid formats, Seif Kousmate reflects on climate change in his project Waha. Born in 1988 in Essaouira, he recounts the disappearance of Moroccan oases, two-thirds of which have been wiped off the map in recent decades as a result of environmental changes. “I was careful not to reproduce orientalist representations of oases, so that my work would more accurately convey the reality of the destruction I have observed,” writes Kousmate. “I have tried to experiment with new ways of embedding external, organic elements (such as dates, dead palm leaves, soil…) in my photographs — elements that are intimately connected to the sites I have chosen to photograph. I have also used acid and fire as symbols of destruction, to create a feedback loop between the present reality and the oncoming process of degradation.”
By Sabyl Ghoussoub
Born in Paris in 1988 into a Lebanese family, Sabyl Ghoussoub is a writer, columnist and curator. His second novel, Beyrouth entre parenthèses [Beirut in Parentheses] was released by Antilope editions in August 2020.