Meet the winners of the Keep an Eye Photography Stipendium 2024

  • 28 June 2024
On Friday 28 June, three graduates of HKU Photography were awarded with the annual Keep an Eye Photography Stipendium. Noor van der Wal, Lucy Azatyan en Martha Olech each received the prize during the festive award ceremony at HKU location Oudenoord. The stipendium comes with a sum of 10,000 euros and is handed out to creators of remarkable graduation work to support their upcoming professional practice.

Meet the winners of the Keep an Eye Photography Stipendium 2024

The Keep an Eye Photography Stipendium was handed out for the fifth consecutive year. During HKU Exposure, the jury lauded the three new talented winners with words of praise. In their report, the jury (consisting of Isabelle van Hemert – chief image editor of The Correspondent, Jaya Pelupessy – artist and Guinevere Ras, curator of the Dutch Photography Museum in Rotterdam) had the following to say:

‘A global observation of the graduation works nominated this year, reveal a striking trend of investigative projects. We are very impressed by the professionalism of the works, both in terms of content and in editing, sometimes of high museum-level quality. We kept on seeing projects that drew inspiration from philosophy and other theoretical frames. We are thankful for the rich and inspiring contributions of all nominees and look in admiration to the future of these promising talents.’

Photo: Jonna Bruinsma

Analytic and poetic imagery

Noor van der Wal managed to instantly convince the jury with the execution and depth of her work: ‘We are impressed by the way in which this exploration is operating at multiple levels, balancing between process and result, with a permanent critical eye to itself. What stands out is that photography is not only utilised for its representative character, but also to investigate the medium itself and the tactility of the image. In this way, the work not only poses ecological questions, but also directly questions photography as a medium. In result, the work transcends the level of illustration and displays a characteristic imagery that is both analytic and poetic.'

See the graduation work of Noor van der Wal

Intimate depiction of universal themes

Lucy Azatyan surprised the jury with her unique visual and narrative style: ‘The work not only presents us with questions about identity and remembrance, but also with a thorough exploration of the experiences of nostalgia and of being uprooted. It transcends the traditional conventions by wielding a unique poetic imagery that is both aesthetic and emotional. This is further enhanced by the maker’s unique choices of perspectives and framings, creating an immersive visual experience. The strong choice for stillness in the image and its symbolic elements, lead to a work that needs no explanation. The images speak for themselves and provide an intimate and personal view of universal themes in which many of us will recognise themselves, each in our own way.'

See the graduation work of Lucy Azatyan

Sense of kinship

About the works of Martha Olech, the jury stated: ‘Photo projects about family relations – especially those between grandchildren and -parents – are abundant. But they seldomly make you contemplate such an immense question as what it means to live here on earth. About how everything that was, relates itself to everything that is. And how change is the only constant.

Despite the absence of memories, there still is a sense of kinship. Both with the family and the land of origin. In this project, the creator takes us along while exploring this sense. This research project allows the creator, after formulating a clear research question, to work intuitively and associatively. We were intrigued by the way in which this work fluently draws connections, through words and images, between then and now, the old and the new, and here and there. It makes the feeling of kinship with the maker’s grandmother relatable as something that is more universal than just the personal experience. The point is that nothing exists, or comes into being, in a vacuum.

See the graduation work of Martha Olech

The prize

The prize was awarded for the fifth year in a row, made possible by the Keep an Eye Foundation. This foundation supports starting talented artists by offering them a springboard or stage to reach the broader audience. The Keep An Eye Photography Stipendium consists of a 10,000 euro grant, which is partly is reserved for coaching. The main criterion for participating is that photography must be a considerable part of the graduation work.

More information about the partnership between HKU & Keep an Eye

Keep an Eye Foundation

The Keep an Eye Foundation supports starting artists, musicians, designers and other creatives. In cooperation with leading educational institutes and festivals, Keep an Eye puts these creators in the spotlights. Through its multi-year partnership with HKU, the foundation can support talent and thereby increase the quality of the professional field.

Website Keep an Eye Foundation