Beer & Brats for Art Fundraiser

August 28, 2015
5PM – 9 PM
The Tap Room
2021 Windsor St.
Salt Lake City, UT

Please plan to join us for a lovely summer evening at the Tap Room. We’ll have brats, both meat and veggie, to enjoy with the beverage of your choice. The Selfie will return, as will the Ansel.

We are really excited to have booked the Photobooth Bus for this event. You’ll be able to gather your friends, climb in and make some memories of the evening.

We’re having a raffle of framed photographic prints, some from our awardees and others by local and regional artists. Tickets will be available at the Tap Room before the fundraiser and, of course, at the event.

All the proceeds from Beer & Brats for Art will go toward our project support awards. You can be sure that your great time will help to fund wonderful photographic projects that enhance communities and change lives. If you can’t make it to the event, you can still help by clicking on the “Donate to TheDPF” button anywhere on this site. Amounts large and small are greatly appreciated and a donation of $100 or more will net you a beautiful print by one of our awardees.

We hope to see you August 28, 2015 at the Tap Room.

The gang

Should TheDocumentaryProjectFund team with Amazon Smile for donations?

When I first read about Amazon Smile, a program that gives a portion of a customer’s purchase price to designated charities, I jumped on board. Fund raising is the hardest part of any nonprofit’s work and this seemed an easy way to get people to donate. It seemed especially useful because the photographers we fund (and would like to see help support our work) may not have the excess cash to donate directly to our cause. Since we all have to use Amazon from time to time, the whole idea seemed perfect.

But, even though I signed up, I had doubts. TheDPF funds local projects, encouraging photographers to find stories in their own communities. What does it say if we then turn to a multinational corporation and encourage folks to shop on that site? Personally, I only use Amazon when I can’t find what I want locally. I buy from locally owned businesses in my hometown of Salt Lake City. It seemed to me that I was being hypocritical, preaching about the value of local stories while pushing Amazon.

Then I started looking at Amazon as a corporate entity and didn’t like what I saw. You can read what I read here:

So, I have decided that TheDPF and Amazon Smile should part ways. I encourage you to shop locally and if you need to order photographic equipment on line, use our friends at Pictureline, a Salt Lake City business that offers great gear, competitive pricing and customer service that you don’t see much of these days. Just click on their logo on our home page to go to their site.

TheDocumentaryProjectFund is Pleased to Announce Our July 2013 Project Support Awards

We are excited to announce the project support awards for July 2013. Awards of $5000 each will go to Alyssa Miserendino of Chicago, Illinois and Theo Stroomer of Denver, Colorado. Their project proposals were strong; their submitted portfolios beautifully done. We are grateful for the number of quality applications we received and happy to see documentary photography thriving. Thanks to everyone who applied.


Alyssa Miserendino is entering a new phase in the work she began in 2009. Her new project will focus on the block she lives on and will bring her community together as participants in the work, sharing their own stories of home.

Our World Insideout has been a journey about the cycles of our homes; something often sacred, and something that is a bit of my obsession.”


To see more of Alyssa’s work, go to and

Theo Stroomer is photographing the people of the North Fork Valley in Colorado. This is a rural area not dominated by ski resorts but by farmers, hunters, hippies and miners. As some rural ways of life disappear, it becomes important to remember what this community brings to discussions of Colorado’s state identity.

“Since its settlement more than a hundred years ago, the North Fork has been defined by a traditional western ideal: to live and let live.”


To see more of Theo’s work, go to

We congratulate Alyssa and Theo and look forward to following their progress as their visions unfold over the next six months.

Interview with DPF 2013 Award Winner Jenn Ackerman

Jenn Ackerman has been having an incredibly busy spring, working on multiple projects in and around Minnesota. We asked her some questions about her work.

Jen Ackerman

Jen Ackerman, DPF awardee

What was your inspiration for your current DPF project?

One of my first assignments when I moved to Minneapolis was to document the Somali community surrounding the story about sex trafficking and gangs in the Somali community. I realized that most of the stories told about the community were negative and often the women’s stories were not being told at all. I started becoming friends with some of the women and spent a lot of time asking questions about their experience in Minnesota.

How is the project going?

Being an outsider has been the greatest hurdle but I am beginning to get invitations to community events including a wedding.

What guides your eye as you go out to shoot photos?

Emotion. Of course, I am attracted to color and moments, but I focus from not only the emotion that I see but what I am feeling internally. I like to photograph the feeling I am having at that moment.

What sort of impact do you hope your documentary will have on your local community?

I hope that it empowers these women to know that their story is being told and that they are contributing members of the Minnesota landscape. I also hope it brings non-Somalis into their lives to see similarities and get to know the Somali community on a deeper level.

What makes for a compelling photograph?

One that makes you feel something. And, while the subject matter can do that, I believe it’s the responsibility of the photographer to make you feel something and the responsibility of the photographer to feel something themselves.

What photo books are on your bookshelf?JennBookcase

I try to buy at least one photo book a month and here are the books I have purchased in the last month or so: First Pictures by Joel Sternfeld, Sailboats and Swans by Michal Chelbin, River of No Return by Laura McPhee and Using History by Greta Pratt. Some of my favorites on my bookshelf: We English by Simon Roberts, Sawdust Mountain by Eirik Johnson, and Sailboats and Swans.

What is the last photographer’s book that really took your breath away?

I really love Sailboats and Swans right now and his approach to portraiture.

What other documentary projects are on your horizon?

I have been finishing a project that I have been working on the last couple of years that I haven’t really shared. Frozen is a project of 4×5 portraits about the stillness of winter. I recently finished a project with Tim, my husband, on portraits at county fairs and I just started a project, another project with him, about small towns in Minnesota.

Here is a preview of some of Jenn’s DPF funded work on the Minneapolis Somali community. We are really looking forward to seeing how it all comes together for her. It is a project that can have lasting impact in both her community and nationally. To learn more about her Somali project, please visit her website at


Interview with DPF 2013 Award Winner Arthur Bondar

We caught up with Ukrainian photojournalist and our January 2013 award winner, Arthur Bondar to find out more about him, his work and how his project is going.

Arthur Bondar Portrait

Arthur Bondar, DPF awardee

What was the inspiration for your current DPF project?

I was inspired by the history of my nation and the beautiful nature of my land. Unfortunately, I was totally shocked by the situation that we face today. We’ve lost so many historical places and polluted our nature so much that we almost have no way to recover. This project is a last call to action for the people.

I am following the river Dnieper and the ancient trade route as it moves throughout the entire country. The trail will give a perfect perspective to the situation in most of the Ukraine—the water, ground and air pollution.

How is the project going?

It goes well. I am building the story, step by step. I have shot in the Chernobyl zone and in the villages around it. I have visited the Kiev hydro power plant and the Kiev reservoir, containing a huge amount of Chernobyl radioactive sludge on its bottom. I also went to Kremenchug and Komsomolsk where a lot of enterprises were built on the banks of the Dnieper River.

What guides your eye as you go out to photograph?

I go more with feelings and intuition. I photograph with black and white film because of the process involved. Film gives more freedom to my soul than digital cameras.

What sort of impact do you hope your documentary will have on your local community?

I truly believe that people who will see the project will think about the dangerous and horrible situation that we have nowadays in our country. Almost 70% of the water is dangerous for drinking. Air and ground pollution is so high and affects many people’s health. I hope that we will act now and not lose the chance we still have to change things. I want people to look at the work and tell friends about it.

Who are the documentary photographers who influence and inspire you?

Modern photojournalism is a tricky thing in our modern world and it is hard nowadays to believe the pictures that we see. We see so many ways of manipulating images that is it hard to say whether they speak a truth. That is why I am inspired by photographers I know personally. I know their work and trust in the truth of it. They are Donald Weber, Rena Effendi, Alexander Chekmenev, Oksana Yushko and others.

What was the last photo book you read that took your breath away?

I loved Donald Weber’s Interrogations.

Arthur is working on a September 2013 opening in a Kiev gallery for this important work. We are incredibly excited about this project. While we await the new work, take a look at another of Arthur’s projects, The Holy War. To learn even more about Arthur’s work go to




TheDocumentaryProjectFund is Pleased to Announce Our First Project Support Awards

We are very excited to announce the project support awards for January 2013. We had many exciting applicants and worthy proposals for this round of support. Thanks to all who applied.

Awards of $5000.00 each will go to Jenn Ackerman of Minneapolis, Minnesota and to Arthur Bondar of Kiev, Ukraine. Their projects were ones that will impact their communities; the portfolios they submitted were visually exciting and beautifully photography.

Jenn Ackerman, a 2012 McKnight Fellow and one of Photo District News magazine’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers of 2012, will be photographing Minneapolis’s Somali community, in particular the women living in Riverside Plaza, known locally as ‘little Somalia’. She says, “All of the women that I plan to photograph are first generation immigrants which makes the immediacy of this project important… I plan to visually explore how living in Minnesota has shaped the new identity of these women who are struggling to determine how to thrive in the US but maintain much of their cultural and religious identity. My objective is to give a voice to these women, who are often misunderstood in the U.S. due to their traditional clothing and a lack of understanding of their culture and religion.” Here’s her submitted portfolio and see more of Jenn’s work at

Jenn Ackerman Arthur Bondar

Arthur Bondar, a Ukrainian photojournalist, plans to explore the towns along the Dneiper River, one of the largest in Eastern Europe. The river has been catastrophically polluted from domestic and industrial wastes in addition to the radioactive waste added by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The cities and towns along it depend on its water for their livings. Arthur says, “This project, From the Varangians to the Greeks, is very important to me because it is my personal past and the past of my nation. Ukraine is a country with huge and rich natural resources. Outdated technology and methods of extraction of iron ore, coal and many other minerals make these regions among the most polluted and hazardous in Europe. Industrial waste is causing additional environmental damage. Huge dumps and waste heaps cover a large area of Ukraine, affecting our groundwater, rivers and reservoirs. This project is about nature and the people that live in the contaminated territories. It will help open our eyes to this problem and see how easy it is to ruin everything and lose the balance of our life.” Here’s his submitted portfolio and see more of Arthur’s work at

It is amazing to us to have two such exciting projects for our initial awards. We believe Jenn’s and Arthur’s work will have impact in and beyond their communities and we look forward to seeing these stories come to fruition.