FIRE CRACKER _ horizontal logov2

supporting women photographers

Firecracker Photographic Grant


The Firecracker Photographic Grant is an annual award providing funding for a female photographer to aid with the completion of a documentary photographic project.


Through a combination of self-initiated fundraising and with the generous support of Genesis Imaging, the Grant fund is a minimum financial contribution of £2,000 plus credit of professional printing, mounting and framing services from Genesis Imaging.


Applications are open to women photographers born or residing in Europe and submissions are judged by an independent panel of industry specialists from a cross section of disciplines and sectors, including picture editors, commissioners, art buyers and gallerists.


Submissions are subject to a £10 application fee, with all funding contributing to the Grant total.


Applications are now open for 2017!






2017 Grant Judges



Fariba Farshad, Director Candlestar & Co-Founder, Photo London


Fariba Farshad was born in Iran and moved to Paris in 1983 and subsequently to London in 1986. Her 12 years at the London Institute, now the University of the Arts London started in 1991 when she took up the post of Principal Lecturer in computer design. In 1997 she spearheaded the development of the IT Research and Development Unit, the centre for research in the application of technology in the arts and art education. As a curator and pioneer of creative education, she has been responsible for developing ground-breaking projects which established the Unit as of centre of excellence for the innovative use of digital media which brought her many awards including a Bafta nomination, during a key period at the University of the Arts.


She is renowned as a champion of the work of contemporary Iranian artists. Her 2008 show Whispered Secrets, Murmuring Dreams introduced many young contemporary Iranian to a Western audience. Her ground-breaking exhibition, Masques of Shahrazad (2009), showcased the work of three generations of Iranian women artists and toured internationally. Her most recent exhibition, Burnt Generation, showcased life in Iran through the lens of eight major photographers, which opened at Somerset House in 2014, and is currently touring globally. She led the development of the Conde Nast College of Fashion & Design, which opened in London in 2013. She is co-Founder with Michael Benson of Candlestar, a company that specialises in the creation and development of major new international cultural initiatives including the Gulf Art Fair (now Art Dubai) and the Prix Pictet. She is co-founder and co-Director of Photo London.


Emma Lewis, assistant curator at Tate Modern and photography specialist


Emma began her career in the photographs department of Phillips auction house, going on to manage the Terence Donovan Archive and work as assistant editor at Art/Books before joining the museum in 2013. There she organises acquisitions, displays and exhibitions, most recently Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017.


Outside of her day job, Emma regularly works on independent curatorial projects; takes part in panel discussions and portfolio reviews; and contributes to photography magazines and artist catalogues. She curated Modern Italian Photography 1930s–1970s for the European Month of Photography 2016, and her book Understanding Photography was published by Bloomsbury earlier this year.


Emma is especially interested in ‘expanded’ approaches to documentary practice; digital media; and photography and installation.


Tristan Lund, art consultant and dealer


Tristan is collection curator of The Incite Project, a UK based collection of photojournalism and documentary photography and he represents a select group of emerging photographic artists including the 2015 Magnum nominee Max Pinckers. For the 2017 edition of Photo London Tristan was curator of the Discovery section dedicated to young galleries.


He is a trusted advisor to private collectors of photography internationally, sourcing works from artists, galleries and auction houses and navigating the art market on their behalf, both in buying and selling. With experience in the field of vintage photography he is a member of the Frieze Masters vetting committee and as the Director of Michael Hoppen Contemporary from 2010-2014 he is in a position to advise and support emerging and established photographic artists.


Johanna Neurath, Design Director and a Commissioning Editor at Thames & Hudson


Johanna has worked in illustrated book publishing for 30 years as a picture editor, designer, art director and commissioning editor with a special interest in photography titles. Some of her commissions include the anthologies Street Photography Now, Photographers’ Sketchbooks and Family Photography Now, as well as various monographs.

When not making books (or helping others to do the same) she is an active member of the photography community: a regular portfolio reviewer at various international photo festivals; she is a founder member of PhotoMeet: the London-based organisation of photo-editors, educators and photographers providing advice and education for emerging photographers and students.

A book of her own street photography, Columbia Road was published by Hoxton Mini-Press in 2015.


Fiona Shields, Picture Editor, The Guardian and Head of Photography, Guardian News & Media


Fiona Shields has over twenty years’ picture editing experience across a range of newspaper titles and has been picture editor of the Guardian for the last nine, having recently taken up the role of Head of Photography for the Guardian News and Media Group.


Throughout her career she has been involved in the coverage of some of the most historic news stories of our time including the events surrounding 9/11 and the subsequent terror attacks in London and across Europe, conflicts around the world from Bosnia to Iraq and Afghanistan, the revolution of the Arab spring and the continuing violence in the middle east, large scale natural disasters such as the earthquakes in Haiti, tsunamis in southern Asia, famine in Sub-Saharan Africa and the humanitarian crises resulting from the growing refugee numbers across the globe. Also a good few UK general elections and political change and upheaval worldwide.


Fiona has delivered talks at photo festivals and to students of photojournalism and have judged the Sony World Photography Awards, the UK Picture Editors Guild Awards and this year a nominator for the Prix Pictet and she is joining the jury of The Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize.



Grant History


The inaugural Firecracker Photographic Grant was awarded in September 2012 to British photographer Jo Metson Scott for her project 'The Grey Line', a sensitive documentation of 'conscientious objectors'; American and British soldiers speaking out against the Iraq war. The book has since been highly commended and voted one of the best photo books of 2013 by Time, The Observer, The Telegraph and Empire.


"Receiving the Firecracker grant was a huge endorsement for me and for a piece of work I'd been struggling to find the right platform for. The award gave the work great visibility and the grant itself, as well as the support from Genesis, was instrumental in the final stages of bringing the work together as a book. Beyond being a grant, Firecracker connected me to a supportive group of photography professionals, who gave me the confidence to pull together a project I'd been working on alone for 5 years."










The 2013 Firecracker Grant was awarded to Nadia Sablin, a Russian photographer living between Brooklyn and St. Petersburg, was chosen for her documentary project ‘Two Sisters’, a story of the photographer’s unmarried aunts who live a traditional and ancestral life in rural northwest Russia, tied to the land and to each other. The project allows us insight into their lives, relationship, identity and the place they call home; each photo offering quiet contemplation on time, aging and family relationships. Since then, Sablin has been awarded a fellowship by the New York Foundation for the Arts and exhibited the project at the Bellevue College in Washington State.


The judges also chose to Highly Commend the work of two additional photographers,  Italian Myriam Meloni, nominated for her work on Moldova’s economic orphans, ‘Behind the Absence’ and German photographer Regine Petersen was selected for her constructive narrative about meteorite showers, ‘Fragments’. Each photographer was provided with a bursary of £500, mentoring from industry professionals and a contribution of Trolley publications.










In 2014 Armenian/American photographer Diana Markosian was awarded the Grant for her highly acclaimed project 'Inventing My Father', the photographers personal attempt to reconnect with her absent parent. By combining her own visual storytelling ability alongside archival and found photography, Markosian delivers a truly authentic and moving account, resulting in her viewer’s total absorption in, and commitment to, the story. The judges also commended British photographer Sian Davy for work exploring the artist's daughter, 'Looking for Alice'.










In 2015 Spanish photographer Lua Ribeira was awarded the Grant for her visually stimulating exploration of British dancehall culture. Her project, Noises in the Blood, explores the celebration of a ritual, embracing consciously the exotic stereotype towards a different culture looking at the immediate differences between photographer and the subject, opening a dialogue about the English Jamaican women and their manners within a shared context.










In 2016 Belgium photographer Sanne De Wilde won the Grant for 'Island of the Colourblind', an incredible visualisation of the true story of the residents of Pingelap, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean, who have been affected by the hereditary condition of colourblindness.




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