OHIO VisCom’s Sara Lewkowicz wins Perpignan Rémi Ochlik Award
By Erin Roberts
ATHENS, Ohio (June 27, 2013)—Sara Lewkowicz, a graduate student standout studying in Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication, has won the prestigious, international Ville de Perpignan Rémi Ochlik award, which carries a prize of €8000, or about $10,417.60, for her work documenting domestic violence. The Ville de Perpignan, France, sponsors the award.
“I'm the first woman to win the award since it was first given, so that's a massive honor,” Lewkowicz said. “I think that it also says a lot that the work that is receiving the award isn't about conflict in the traditional sense of overseas wars, but that it's about the wars being fought in living rooms and kitchens and bedrooms all over the world every night. It's a tremendous honor and also a huge responsibility to keep working and telling stories. I'm so thrilled to have been selected to carry that torch.”
Lewkowicz said the award used to be called the Young Reporters Award, but the name was changed two years ago to honor Rémi Ochlik, a young photojournalist who was killed in Syria. According to the official website of the Visa pour l’Image festival, picture editors from international magazines chose Lewkowicz as the best young photographer who, in their opinion, produced the best report, either published or unpublished, in 2012-2013. Lewkowicz’ winning story “Shane and Maggie,” which follows a young woman through the experience of domestic violence, will be featured as an exhibition at Visa pour l’Image-Perpignan 2013.
Lewkowicz has garnered wide acclaim for her domestic violence work. In addition to winning the Perpignan, Lewkowicz won the 2013 Alexia Foundation award and the Award of Excellence in the 2013 White House News Photographer Association ‘The Eyes of History™’ student contest. The project has also been featured on TIME’s LightBox, most recently in March when she followed the story’s subject to Alaska to document her continuing story.
School of Visual Communication Interim Director Stan Alost is pleased to hear of the win.
“It is fantastic to see another one of our students gain international recognition,” he said. “In particular, to have Sara recognized at the most prestigious photography festivals held in the birthplace of photography is spectacular. The School of Visual Communication is so proud to be a part of the success of such a talented individual.”
The award will be presented at the evening show on Friday, Sept. 6, as part of the Visa pour l'Image, the premier International Festival of Photojournalism held in Perpignan, France. The festival, which features photo exhibitions across the city, evening screenings in the dramatic open-air medieval enclosure of the Campo Santo and symposiums and conferences for participants, is attended by thousands of photojournalists.
Previous winners of the Perpignan Remi Ochlik Award include: Tomas van Houtryve (2006), Mikhael Subotzky (2007), Munem Wasif (2008), Massimo Berruti (2009), Corentin Fohlen (2010), Ed Ou (2011) and Sebastián Liste (2012).
Lewkowicz has a B.A. in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been an intern at Patuxent Publishing, is a three-time alumna of the WKU Mountain Workshops and was a student at the Eddie Adams Barnstorm Workshop XXV.
Lewkowicz said this will be her first exhibit and that she will travel to London to study abroad immediately afterward.
“It's looking to be a really exciting year!”