Black photographer Carrie Mae Weems has become the first Black woman to receive the Hasselblad Award for photography and art. As announced in a March 8 Instagram post by the Hasselblad Foundation, Weems is the 2023 Award laureate for her work in the art of photography.
Weems accepted her award with a grateful speech in the caption. She said, “In the midst of the radical shifts taking place across cultural institutions, and as the first African American woman to receive the Hasselblad Award, some might say, ‘it’s about time!’ Nevertheless, receiving the Hasselblad Award has left me speechless,”
Weems continued in the statement, “I don’t have the words to express the depth of my gratitude. To have my family name inscribed on this historic roster, alongside some of the most outstanding photographers of our time, is a cherished honor. To be recognized comes with the continued responsibility to deliver on the promise made to myself and to the field, which is to shine a light into the darker corners of our time and thereby, with a sense of grace and humility, illuminate a path forward. For this honor, I thank the Hasselblad Foundation and the jury.”
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According to the Hasselblad Foundation, Weems was selected for her achievements in culturally significant pieces of work highlighting the African American struggle.
Bronius Rudnickas, the marketing manager of the foundation, praised Weems for her decades of moving work in the industry.
“We are inspired by Carrie Mae Weems’s impactful contributions to the art of photography. Today, we are honored to award Ms. Weems with her very own Hasselblad medium format cameras and lenses, and we are honored to be part of her journey moving forward. With this announcement, we are also incredibly proud to begin our extended partnership with the Hasselblad Foundation, and we look forward to the road ahead together.”
The Hasselblad Foundation will hold a ceremony for Weems later this year in Sweden in October; the event will include an exhibition of some of her work, a passing on of a gold medal and a diploma, and a cash reward being passed on to her as well.