2021 Bob Lynn Awards

MARY CALVERT

Zoe Beard, 4, holds a rock she picked up while walking with her mother, Samantha Beard, and brother Merrick Beard, 2, outside their home on the Navajo Nation near mine A&B No. 3.

Bob and Millie Lynn announce NPPF 2021 Bob Lynn Grant recipients

Veteran photojournalist Mary Calvert and photo student Nathan Posner are winners of this year’s Bob Lynn Grant, which promotes coverage of important social issues and under-reported stories.  Each will receive $4,000 to help fund their projects.

Calvert is renowned for images that go to the heart of social justice issues.

In 2020, she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in the feature photography category for her project on male sexual assault survivors in the armed forces. She has put a spotlight on “Missing in Action: Homeless Women Veterans” and the sexual abuse of women in the military.

The grant will help fund her project, “Uranium Contamination on the Navajo Nation.”  “While Covid comes and goes, the devastating impact of uranium contamination will continue to afflict the Navajo people for generations,” said Calvert.

She described Bob Lynn as “a fantastic editor who ran one of the best photo staffs on one of the best newspapers for photography in our business.”  For 17 years, Lynn was assistant managing editor/graphics at the Virginian-Pilot.

Georgetown University student Nathan Posner won for his project, “Behind the Ballot – An intimate portrait of those who drive Georgia’s election process.” His entry caught the eye of judges at a time when voting rights, especially in Georgia, have become a crucial national issue.

Posner plans to begin work this summer and take the fall 2022 semester off to cover events around Georgia leading up to election day. “I am especially looking forward to the advice and mentoring offered by the grant’s founder, Bob Lynn,” he said.

Lynn created this annual grant to encourage photojournalists to pursue stories that expose the side of American society that tends to be under-covered or ignored.  It underlines his firm belief that “Our profession has a long history of helping to make a difference,” a mark of his stellar journalism career.

In this era of shrinking newsrooms, Calvert sees organizations like NPPF taking on greater importance. “Journalists provide a service that is vital to our democracy. I believe that we have a duty to shine a light into the deepest recesses of the human experience and provide a mirror for society to examine itself.

“I became a photojournalist because I wanted to give voice to the voiceless, and the NPPF is making sure that more important stories can be told,” said Calvert, two-time winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award that honors work on human rights.

NATHAN POSNER

A volunteer helps a woman fill out a provisional ballot on election day, January 5th, 2021, in Atlanta, Georgia at the Fox Theatre.

2020 Bob Lynn Awards

Mark Felix

The winners of the Bob Lynn Grant for In-Depth Documentary Photojournalism has been announced by the NPPF board of directors. They are Michael Blackshire, Western Kentucky University photojournalism major, and Mark Felix, Houston, Texas, a freelance documentary photographer. 

This is the first year for the Bob Lynn Grant. The judges chose to award two grants the first year. Bob Lynn, Bill Tiernan, Karen Kasmauski, Lawrence Jackson and Beth Bergman Nakamura were the grant judges.

Blackshire was awarded one of the grants for his proposal to document the Mississippi Delta, an area that is predominantly African-American. He says, “I want to see the dynamic of African-Americans in the region in 2020; a region rich in culture  and scars of prejudice from the past. I want to discover the current prejudice in Mississippi and hopefully interview an elderly person who was a Ku Klux Klan member.”

Felix was awarded one of the grants for his proposal to do a story on the erosion of the Louisiana coastline due to climate warming. He says, “More than a football field of wetland is lost every 1000 minutes and over 2000 square miles of the coastline have already disappeared.  Scientists fear that one of the greatest ecological and economic disasters in U.S. history could strike the heart of Cajun country.”

Read about Bob Lynn at https://nppf.org/bob-lynn-grant/

 

Michael Blackshire