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Cate Sampson wins 2015 Michael P. Smith Grant

Danny and Pirogue, Barataria, LA- Cate Sampson

Cate Sampson of New Orleans, LA is the recipient of the 2015 Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography (MPS Fund) Grant. The MPS Fund awards $5000 annually to a Gulf Coast photographer working on a long-term cultural documentary project.
Sampson won support for her project entitled “All The Place You’ve Got”, a visual anthropology of subsistence life in southeastern Louisiana. Inspired by conservationists Mike Tidwell and Wendell Berry, Sampson spends her weekends photographing the hidden culture of a people who live by and of the water. “I would take a boat to the most remote stretches of coastal Louisiana to learn about the livelihood of those who have made this isolated landscape their home for hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of years.” Sampson says, “it felt as if I was being released into a forbidden frontier that I had never known existed.
The MPS Fund’s 2015 Juror, Emma Raynes, Director of Programs at the Magnum Foundation, selected Sampson’s project from 48 entries. Raynes appreciates Sampson’s approach to the making of the photographs. Sampson uses a fragile historical gelatin dry-plate process. Raynes writes, [The process] “ensures that the viewer feels this tension between the solidity of the moment depicted in the image and the instability of the ecology and society she documents.  The medium hints at the struggle for sustained life, but does not surrender to it. The way I see it, this work is primarily about perseverance.” More information about Cate Sampson’s award-winning project can be found online:
Raynes also selected two finalists for the 2015 MPS Fund grant:  Jeremiah Ariaz (Baton Rouge LA) and Lance Rosenfield (Austin TX). Their projects are featured as well on the New Orleans Photo Alliance website, here and here
Cate Sampsonreceived her BFA from Louisiana State University in 2012. She is a recipient of the Presidential Fellowship at the University of South Carolina. Her work has been part of groups shows including “Altered Views: An International Exhibit of Alternative Process Photography” in Aurora, OR; “Louisiana Culture Exhibition” at the Moscow House of Photography, Russia.