Luminous Landscape Endowment

11 March, 2008

In August 2007The Luminous Landscape Inc., created a fund designed to provide financial assistance to photographers to help finance worthwhile photographic projects. A call for submissions was made, with a deadline of Feb 11, 2008.

This fund was financed by readers like you through purchases of our download video tutorials, and also by individual donors and corporate sponsors. In all $20,000 was raised during our initial funding period. (You can read about the program and application processhere.)

More than 200 applications were received, and our panel of judges found selecting just a handful of photographers and their projects a most difficult task. The applications selected were, in each case, put forward by at least two of the judges.


The Winners

Below are the eight winners of our 2007-2008 Endowment. Between them they will be sharing more than US $20,000. Following are brief excerpts from the winners applications.


Produce a small, intimate, high-quality book of B&W portraits of breast cancer survivors accompanied by the survivor’s comment. Through the quality of the photography, reproduction, materials, and design, we will elevate the item to a work of art.

The survivors will be of wide diversity and reflect the self-confidence they muster to participate in the 1st person fight against breast cancer. Susan G. Komen (SGK) has agreed to endorse and support the project. Borders Books has agreed to sell the book in 23+ stores in the MD/DC area. And to provide in-store promos: banners, posters, product placement and also to host a “launch party”.

Distribution is through existing channels of SGK at events and Borders stores. It will be offered for sale at a very reasonable price ($5-$10) with all profits going to SGK. SGK can use as a give-away at events.

We request a grant amount of $5000. Timing & location: project is in process: casting near complete, portraits to begin within 10 days in the MD/DC area. Outcome: to support the battle against breast cancer. To spur new sources of support through this elegant, intimate and personal work of art to which people can identify, feel a sense of solidarity with, and draw strength and hope from. To use my passion of fine art B&W portraiture for good against evil (insert chuckle here).

Book specs: 7”x7” about 50 pages. First print run 25,000 units. SGK is confident printing will be donated. The other hard cost is delivery. The grant would fund transporting books to stores. Geographic neutrality allows scalability to regional and national levels.

Daniel Magus Baltimore, MD USA


Richard Sobol – $4,675

Imagine if the world never learned how to hate

Far from civilization, a truly civilized world exists.

Deep in the bush in Eastern Uganda, lives a secret brotherhood. Three tribes – one Christian, one Muslim and the other Jewish – who have embraced one another not as enemies, but as brothers and sisters. For the past century, they have survived, struggled, and thrived together – most recently establishing and operating a cooperative venture to grow and sell fair trade coffee.

In a world that has seen centuries of bloodshed, intolerance and xenophobia between the three great Mosaic religions, this is the story of people who never learned how to hate. They live today not merely in tolerance, but in harmony, creating a unique community they call Mirembe Kawomera – “delicious peace”.

I will continue to photograph these three peoples, each of whom have a unique identity and a unique set of beliefs. When contrasted to the current fighting among religions, and the tribal warfare’s of Kenya and Sudan, what could be more delicious than the photographs of a community of Muslims, Christians and Jews, living in harmony deep in Africa?

With the funds from this endowment I will journey again to Uganda, into the villages of this community to follow men, women and children as they live apart and work together during the next coffee harvest cycle in 2008. Each tribe will share their music, dance, culture and the rituals of their religions. The photographs and interviews will be edited for an interactive website which will invite visitors to share their thoughts and reflections on coexistence. A photographic book and exhibition planned for the Smithsonian Institution will bring these photographs to a wide audience. The photographs submitted in support of this application are from my initial visit to the Mirembe Kawomera community in 2006.

Richard Sobol Lexington Mass USA


Peter van Agtmael – $4,600

American Wars – Proposal

For the past two years I have photographed war in Iraq and Afghanistan, trying to show the public the conflicting barbarity and humanity I have witnessed. But war’s legacy extends far beyond the battlefield, and with the grant I will be able to document Americans coping with life after conflict.

Across America, a new generation of disabled soldiers struggles to begin life in a profoundly altered reality. Last year at Walter Reed Hospital, I met Raymond Hubbard, who was hit by a mortar round on July 4, 2006. He lost his left leg and spent the next month in a coma. Like many soldiers, he endured dozens of surgeries resulting in only incremental gains, and his sense of hope is threatened by setbacks, including the recent reduction of his stump following a bone infection. I started photographing Raymond’s recovery in October, 2007, but have been unable to continue due to financial constraints.

I would also use the grant to photograph Bernard Hill as he copes with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I was embedded with Major Hill’s unit in 2006, in one of Baghdad’s most violent neighborhoods. A year of combat and the loss of several men took its toll, and Hill has struggled to move on. Eight months after returning, he still can’t sleep through the night, and his wife recently filed for divorce. Many soldiers consider PTSD a form of weakness and refuse to accept its unseen devastation. By documenting an accomplished soldier who nevertheless has been deeply distressed by his experiences in wartime, I hope to help de-stigmatize perceptions towards PTSD.

It is said that war is man’s nature and lessons of history are fleeting. Yet the past century has seen huge shifts in conflict when waged by the western world. By bearing relentless witness, journalists have helped end conflicts and changed the way wars are waged. For over two years I have tried to do my part to record these formative moments of my generation, and I would like to continue this task. Good pictures tell us something recognizable and deeply felt about ourselves, and it is in that recognition that lies the antidote to war.

Peter van Agtmael Bethesda, MD USA


Scott Davis – $1,695

Overview:I have been a working field biologist and naturalist for nearly 20 years. For even longer, I’ve been an enthusiastic admirer, student, and self-taught practitioner of the photographic arts. While some might argue this chosen career path is lacking in “financial rewards”, I strongly believe the personal fulfillment from being a student and teacher of science and nature far outweighs any monetary deprivation. As a wildlife field biologist, I’ve been fortunate enough to have witnessed the raw beauty of nature in its myriad forms. One rewarding aspect of my work is the ability to combine my love of photography with my knowledge of and access to wildlife in the form of research, education and conservation. Because images are often more effective than simply words alone, my photographic services are routinely requested by my project managers. The images are used for scientific illustration, documentation, as well as for public awareness and fund raising campaigns by various conservation organizations. The many organizations I donate to are very appreciative, however as a student of photography, I am always striving to perfect my skills.

Until recently, I shot mainly slide film but digital photography has opened up a whole new world for creative expression and image quality. I finally made the digital switch a year ago. Although many of the same rules of photography apply, there is an entirely new skill set associated with the digital realm. Specifically, I am most interested in learning advanced techniques in post production and printing, Photoshop and image workflow as it applies to my style of photography. I am teaching myself the basics through numerous books and forums but feel these methods can elevate my work only so far. It’s my belief that the addition of in-depth professional instruction within a classroom setting will help me achieve a much higher level of quality and competence. This will benefit not only myself but also the institutions that are recipients of my work.

Funding: Funding will be used to cover the class tuition of a 7 day intensive Photoshop, Printing and Digital Workflow Course.
The class is being held in Pennsylvania by professional photographers Joe and Mary Ann McDonald along with Photoshop instructors Rick Holt and Ellen Anon. The class is scheduled to begin in August of 2008.

Expected Outcome. After extensively researching many options, it is my belief that this course offers one of the best opportunities and within a relatively short time frame to significantly improve my post production skill set. Along with the personal satisfaction of seeing a high quality end product, better quality images will also benefit the many conservation organizations and research institutes I am associated with and donate my services to.

Scott F. Davis Moss Landing, Ca. USA


Adam Schallau – $1,595

A photographic exploration of Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park located in west Texas. The exploration will focus on the intrinsic beauty and solitude of this remote canyon of the Rio Grande River. The trip will require using local river guide services to safely navigate the waters of the Rio Grande from the put-in point near Lajitas to the take-out point 5-miles upstream of Castolon. The trip will cover a distance of 20 river miles over three days.

This project would best be accomplished between late fall and early to mid-spring due to flash-flood and temperature concerns. Five days will be required to complete the project with 2 days spent traveling and 3 days on location.

The anticipated outcome is to create 20+ fine art quality photographs representing the journey of the river through the desert canyon environment. These images will be usedto create a limited-edition portfolio and book with a print run limited to 25 of each.

Adam Schallau Ranchos de Taos, NM USA


Richard Lohmann – $1,000

I am asking for support to cover the cost framing materials for an exhibition of my photographs to be located at the Ave 25 Gallery in Sam Mateo California. This exhibit will feature my new images that were shot in China, at a public, non-profit gallery space near San Francisco. The exhibit has been arranged and scheduled for next year.

(Exhibits are typically scheduled well ahead of the six months to one-year time frame of the grant deadline, but the work will be done—images printed and framing done this summer, when my classes are not in session.)

My photographs were done in China’s Yellow mountains in Huangshan. The trip was a great success and I have made big prints, in some cases 45 inches in width. The Ave 25 Gallery space has the room to accommodate these large prints.

Exhibiting my work in a public space is important to me ––both as a photographer and as an educator. Public exhibits reinforce a strong sense of community that many photographic educators try to foster within their communities.

Richard Lohmann La Honda, CA USA


Doug Vinez – $1,000

I am requesting $1,000 to cover the cost of printing, matting and framing my photographs from this summer’s trip to Mwandi, Zambia (July 1-19). This will be my third trip to Mwandi with a team which will work with AIDS orphans & the homeless, do medical and veterinary work, construct a maternity ward, repair computers, and teach, although you never really know the details until you arrive!

After the 2006 trip, my photographs of Mwandi & Botswana were exhibited and sold, allowing me, after expenses of $700, to send $1200 to the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Center (OVC) in Mwandi.

Led by a remarkable Australian, Fiona Dixon-Thompson, and a dedicated staff of Zambians, the OVC feeds 200 orphans daily, with about 1/3 being HIV positive. In addition to nourishment, the orphans are given love, proper medical attention, including anti-retroviral drugs, counseling and a safe place to play. The OVC has its own garden, a profitable bakery, a new counseling center for grieving and sexually abused children, and will soon open a sewing center. It is truly an amazing place.

I plan to exhibit and sell my work again after this year’s trip. I anticipate that the exhibition will be held in March, 2009. Your grant will enable me to prepare even more photographs for exhibition and send 100% of the gross receipts to the OVC. With your help, I hope to send more than I was able to last year!

Doug Vinez Mooresville, NC USA


Jeremy Stephenson – $1,000

I wish to produce a sample book to market my personalised photo-book offering, and launch my professional career. Through contacts in the safari industry I will accompany clients on safari through Tanzania’s national parks, documenting their once-in-a-lifetime journey to create a unique momento of their African experience. I will be mixing documentary style shots of the clients on safari with artistic landscapes, natural abstracts, and Tanzania’s magnificent wildlife. If the opportunity arises I will also accompany and photograph clients on Kilimanjaro or other Tanzanian peaks.

I would like to pursue this project within the second quarter of 2008, within Tanzania.

I am applying for a $1000 grant. Funds will be used towards travel expenses within Tanzania, National Park entry fees, accommodation on safari, and book printing costs. The anticipated outcome is a sample book for use in launching my photographic career in the Safari industry.

Jeremy Stephenson Arusha, Tanzania



Congratulations to all eight grant recipients. Also a special word of thanks to the judges who had to literally read hundreds of proposals and make hard decisions, as so many were from excellent photographers and for worthy projects.

Thanks as well to you – our readers. Your purchases of ourdownload videoshelped make this year’s endowment possible. We hope to continue this program by funding future endowments with a percentage of our revenues.

A special thanks as well to our individual and corporate donors.

Michael Reichmann – March, 2008