2020 has leveled hardships on so many individuals, families, and organizations around the world with many businesses unable to survive widespread lockdowns and other restrictions, forcing them to close their doors forever. In the world of philanthropy, cancellations of fundraising events, coupled with diminished corporate and private funding due to budget cuts, have left non-profit foundations of all kinds hit hard, including the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, which awards support in the field of documentary photography.
For more than 40 years, the Smith Fund has dedicated itself to providing documentary photographers around the world with financial grants and fellowships to help them complete their important projects. Since its founding in 1979, the Smith Fund has awarded more than $1 million in grants and fellowships to these visual storytellers. And, despite cancelled events and decreased corporate underwriting this year due to COVID, the Smith Fund still presented five documentary photographers each with $10,000 grants in October.
As future fundraising activities remain on hold indefinitely, who better to step in to help raise needed funds but the Smith Fund grant recipients, fellows and finalists, the very people who benefited from the Smith Fund’s efforts to financially support their projects. When asked, they were all-too-eager to help. Stephanie Sinclair, Robin Hammond, Ami Vitale, Moises Saman, Nanna Heitman, Bharat Choudhary, Mary Calvert, Laura El-Tantawy and Fawaz Oyedeji are only a few of the 57 renowned documentary photographers who have donated a photograph to be sold in the Fund’s first ever print sale. Every photographer who donated a print for the sale was a recipient of a Smith grant or fellowship, or was a finalist over the past 10 years. Included with the print collection is Eugene Smith’s famous “Pride Street” photograph, which was donated by Kevin Smith on behalf of W. Eugene Smith’s estate.
All prints are unsigned, open editions produced as 11×14-inch archival pigment prints on Hahnemühle paper and priced at $150.00 (U.S.) each. Prints will be shipped in late December from New York and will include a certificate of authenticity.
“We are excited to present our first ever online print sale, and deeply grateful to past Smith Fund awardees, fellows, and finalists for making this possible.,” said Phil Block, president of the W. Eugene Smith Fund. “This is an opportunity for photography, art lovers, collectors to purchase exceptional photographs from some of the world’s most renowned photojournalists and documentary photographers. This support will allow the Smith Fund to continue its mission to financially support documentary photographers worldwide and give them a platform to share their incredible stories.”
All proceeds from the sale of these prints will be used to underwrite the 2021 Smith Fund grants and fellowships.
You can view the entire collection of prints for sale by visiting SmithFund.org. The print sale will remain open through December 14.