Imagely Announces Dmitri Beliakov as the 2016 Imagely Fund Fellow

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Imagely, a leading provider of WordPress products and services for photographers, announces the winner of Imagely Fund’s $5,000 grant for an environmental or humanitarian photography project.

“The lives of Donbass residents are becoming more difficult with each passing month ... I applied for the Imagely Fund grant to give them voice," Dmitri Beliakov.

The Imagely team is excited to announce award-winning, humanitarian photojournalist Dmitri Beliakov as the 2016 Imagely Fund Fellow. Beliakov has spent more than two years working to bring a human face to the ongoing war in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.

“Wars are rarely fought for the interests of ordinary people, and the residents on both sides of the war in the Donbass know this too well,” Beliakov says. “The lives of Donbass residents are becoming more difficult with each passing month,” Beliakov notes. “A Ukrainian friend once told me, ‘There is a feeling that time has been put on pause in this place, and no one cares.’ I applied for the Imagely Fund grant to give them voice.”

In his next phase of the project, Beliakov will utilize Imagely’s grant funds to continue documenting the experiences of three prominent groups in the conflict. He’ll focus on pro-Russian rebels, frustrated by the undelivered promises of Putin, who led them to believe in a future of close ties to the Russian world; workers and other civilians living on both sides of the cease-fire line, collectively punished by an economic embargo from Kiev; and Ukrainian fighters from the local volunteer battalions, a mix of moderate supporters of a Western leaning Ukraine, as well as Ukrainian extremists.

The Imagely Fund awards Second Place to Jaymi Heimbuch, Morgan Heim, and Karine Aigner for their project The Natural History of the Urban Coyote (now the Urban Coyote Initiative). A multi-disciplinary, collaborative effort, the project aims to document the complexities of urban coyotes, the communities where they thrive, and the humans who live among them. The evolved Urban Coyote Initiative now also works alongside of researchers, urban planners and communities to increase public safety, advance biodiversity and increase awareness of these urban fringe dwellers.

Third Place goes to Nikon Ambassador and National Geographic photojournalist Ami Vitale for her project It Takes a Village to Raise a Rhino. Vitale’s images artfully capture the collaborative effort of three rival ethnic groups, the Samburu, Borana, and Rendille to develop innovative conservation initiatives in northern Kenya. Thanks to the tireless community efforts, including peace talks with neighbors, strict grazing management, expanded habitat for the critically endangered black rhino and anti-poaching efforts, Sera Community Conservancy is now home to its own small herd (reestablished from existing herds in nearby national parks). Vitale is also working to document and support the local conservationists in their ongoing work. To that end, she is developing art installations for local, northern Kenyan schools to educate and inspire others about this important work, which will hopefully serve as a model of conservation.

Honorable Mentions for the 2016 Imagely Fund competition include:

Julia Gunther, Proud Women of Africa: Sex For Fish (images, Proud Women of Africa: Maternity Ward); Massimo Branca, Inside Outside Under Bucharest; Arati Rao, Survival on the Brink of Brine; Brendan Hoffman, Brotherland: War in Ukraine; Kai Loffelbein, Ctrl-X, a topography of e-waste; Harsha Vadlamani, Dushkaal: Drought and Agrarian Crisis in Marathwada, India; Terray Sylvester, After the Flood: Native American housing needs on a dammed Columbia River Project; Brennan O'Connor, Drugs, Poverty & Conflict; M Yousuf Tushar, Live in Stone; Solmaz Daryani, The eyes of earth; and Giles Clark, Toxic Trespass.

As always, the Imagely team and the judges were humbled by the incredible talent of the applicants and the impactful projects submitted for the 2016 Fund. To all of the applicants, thank you for sharing your work. “The Imagely Fund is really a highlight for us,” says Erick Danzer, Founder and CEO. “It is very inspiring to see the incredible work of so many photographers around the world. We hope that our grant serves as a small reminder of the important job that environmental and humanitarian photographers have in covering the myriad stories that the world needs to see and hear.”

Judged by a prestigious panel of some of the world’s best-known environmental, humanitarian, and cultural photographers, the 2016 Imagely Fund jurors included: Jim Brandenburg, Steve Winter, and Art Wolfe who generously offered their time and expertise to this project.

Formerly known as the Photocrati Fund, the 2016 Imagely Fund grant cycle represents the fifth offering of the fellowship – that’s $25,000 towards amazing environmental and humanitarian projects so far.

About Imagely
Imagely is a leading provider of WordPress products and services for photographers. Imagely proudly sponsors the Imagely Fund – a $5,000 grant to photographers working on important environmental and humanitarian projects.

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Scott Wyden Kivowitz
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