Winner Of W. Eugene Smith Award 1980
Over a period of ten years, Jane Evelyn Atwood entered the blind schools of France, Australia, Israel, Japan and the United States. The photographer, fascinated by the visual, has a passion for young blind people who can not see. She wanted to return their development in a sighted world. Jane Evelyn Atwood has succeeded in creating poignant black and white portraits as she met the blinds around the world.
Jane Evelyn Atwood received the W. Eugene Smith Award for this project initiated in the 1980s.
« The idea of photographing the blind came to me as a very personal curiosity for people who do not see, and yet must live in a sighted world. I wanted to know what that meant exactly, not to see, and how these people who do not see were coping. I have often been struck in the streets of Paris by how people had a perceptive look at the blind, with condescension, pity, horror, and even fear. I also noticed that the sighted often speak to the blind with a kind of contempt, as if they were idiots. Or they do not talk to them at all, as if being blind made them invisible.
Jane Evelyn Atwood
Jane Evelyn Atwood was born in New York and has been living in France since 1971. Ms. Atwood works primarily in the tradition of documentary photography, following individuals or groups of people (usually those on the fringes of society) for long periods of time. She is the author of ten books – two on French prostitutes in Paris and one on the French Foreign Legion. A fourth, on the blind, Extérieur Nuit, was published in the series, Photo Poche Société, Editions Nathan, in 1998. In February, 2000, Too Much Time, a ten-year photographic study of women in prison was published by Phaidon Press Ltd. in the United States, and Trop de Peines, Femmes en Prison, Editions Albin Michel, in France. In 2004 Le Seuil published Sentinelles de l’ombre, photos and texts about landmine victims in Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. Badate, an intimate story of the immigration phenomenon of Ukrainian women who care for the Italian elderly, is published by Editoriale Sylvana in 2005, three years of color work, Haiti, is published by Actes Sud in 2008, and in 2010, Atwood joins the prestigious PhotoPoche monography series, published by Actes Sud, with Jane Evelyn Atwood, PhotoPoche #125. In 2011, Editions Xavier Barral re-edits Atwood’s first story on French prostitutes, Rue Des Lombards, done in 1976.
Ms. Atwood has won many prestigious international prizes and was the first recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Award in 1980 for her work on the blind. In 1987 she won a World Press Prize for the subject, “Jean-Louis – Living and Dying with AIDS”, accompanying the man she was photographing until his death. In 1990 she was the recipient of the Paris Match Grand Prix du Photojournalism; the Canon Photo Essay Award, 1991; the Ernst Haas Award from the Maine Photographic Workshops, U.S.A., 1994; Leica’s Oskar Barnack Prize, 1997; an Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography by LIFE Magazine and Columbia University, 1998. Ms. Atwood is the recipient of two grants from the Hasselblad Foundation in Sweden. In 2005 Bard College (New York, U.S.A.) gave her the Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters.
Ms. Atwood’s photos have appeared in major publications such as Life, Stern, the New York Times Magazine, Das Magazine, Sette, Paris Match, Géo, Elle, Marie-Claire, VSD. Her photos may be found in private collections as well as museums and have been exhibited internationally. She is represented in France by the gallery, In Camera.