The grant, which is made secretly, is popularly known as the "Genius Award." There is no public nomination process and no one knows they're being considered until they win. Winners receive $500,000 over five years. There are no strings attached, but the award is given with the understanding that it will help foster independence and freedom from financial worry for work yet to be done.
East Bhutan. Zangmo, about 85, waits for hand-outs of extra potatoes from two young men preparing their potato harvest for sale in the village of Zhangkhar, on the road to Dramatse, in eastern Bhutan, August 8, 2007. Though there are no traditional homes for the elderly in Bhutan, most Bhutanese naturally help their neighbors and elders in need as an intrinsic part of Bhuddist culture. Roughly 80% of Bhutanese rely on subsistence farming for survival. Photo by Lynsey Addario.
Addario, 35, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1995, was cited for "Creating a visual record of major conflicts and humanitarian crisis of the 21st century." She photographs regularly for The New York Times and National Geographic. She is one of 24 Genius Award recipients in 2009 and is the only photographer to win this year. You can see her work at lynseyaddario.com.
Congratulations to Lynsey!
UPDATE: I heard from Lynsey Addario on Thursday morning, who writes, "Michael, Thank you so much for posting the article...I hope this fellowship brings more attention to photojournalists as a whole! Warm regards, Lynsey."
Featured Comment by CK Dexter Haven: "I was prepared to look at the link and have the response: 'this person deserves the title "genius" and all that money?' Well, I don't know what a genius is any more, but I'm glad Lynsey won this award. I'm going to have to visit the site in pieces, because it's too much to take in all at once. There's a lot of courage there, both in the photographer and the subjects. Stunning work, and it's given me needed perspective. I hope, now, to spend a lot less time dealing with the meaningless minutiae I too often discuss in web photo forums."