“The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.” – Ernst Hass
The landscape of contemporary photography is a diverse and varied one. Traditional styles and genres are routinely blurred and inventive techniques applied, generating an astonishing wealth of compelling creations.
We have surveyed some of the best submissions from our previous awards and selected 10 images from creative photographers, that display photography’s illimitable potential.
1. “Polo Bawa fishing festival”, Bangladesh – Azim Khan Ronnie
Azim Khan Ronnie‘s image depicts Polo Bawa, a century-old traditional fishing festival in Bangladesh, wherein hundreds of people of all ages, wade in knee-deep water and attempt to snare prey using a ‘polo’ (a bamboo-made trap).
The aerial viewpoint and dexterous framing transcribe the unique essence of the scene, accentuating the juxtaposition between the participant’s brightly-hued attire, and their turpid surroundings. It expresses the joy, and conviviality of this age-old festivity, and thus pays tribute to the rich cultural heritage of the photographer’s homeland.
2. ‘Slow Rain’ – Jorg Karg
A portrayal that comprehensively extols Karg’s artistry, this striking portrait pays tribute to the photomontages of the Dada movement, yet at the same time, is imbued with the bold, aesthetics of fashion photography. It emanates a dreamy ambiance and showcases the medium’s potential.
3. “Untitled 03”, Tri An Lake, Vietnam – Duy-Phuong Le Nguyen
This arresting image is part of the series, ‘Holding Water’, for which Vietnamese photographer Duy-Phuong Le Nguyen, spent five years in the south of his homeland, documenting the communities and landscapes of Tri An Lake. During the mid-1980s, a hydroelectric dam was constructed on the lake, displacing some of the natives who still live on its peripheries and rely heavily on its waters to sustain their way of life.
A reflection on the deep bond between people and land, the series is encapsulated beautifully in this single image, the muted pastel tones, distills the serene beauty of the landscape, whilst the insouciance of the youthful protagonists, belies the uncertainties faced by their community.
4. “Still Life with Lemons and Silver Jug” – Ron Mayhew
To the unknowing observer, Ron Mayhew‘s still life is unequivocally an oil painting. The inception of one of the Dutch masters, or perhaps their Italian forebear, the great Caravaggio. Their ignorance can be forgiven, for it is exactly what the photographer intended, his deep interest in the aforementioned luminaries of Baroque painting inspiring this stunning composition. A marriage of meticulous arrangement, powerful comprehension of light and form, and creative post-production techniques, it displays both dexterity and imagination and serves as a fitting tribute to the artist’s heroes.
5. “Faceless” – Anna Försterling
Ethereal, phantasmic, and profoundly compelling, Anna Försterling‘s depiction of an apparitional figure set against a nebulous landscape, pays tribute to the pre-eminent surrealist masters, whilst also evoking the Daguerreotype portraits of the mid 19th century (in which the subjects often possess a similarly ghostly quality). Yet it is clearly a contemporary conception, an artful and creative portrait, characterized by immaculate technique, dexterous framing, and inventive post-production methods, that arrests, intrigues, and stirs the imagination.
6. “Onion Kids”, Dumaguete City, Philippines – Hersley-Ven Casero
In Dumaguete City, the Philippines, photographer Hersley-Ven Casero captures two young boys gamboling on a truckload of crimson onions. An eye-catching composition, so perfectly timed and framed and rich in vivid hues as to seem almost staged. The kinesics of our protagonists evoke that of some Broadway thespians, thus encapsulating the term: ‘the theatre of everyday life’.
7. “Cowboy”, Calais, France – Natalya Saprunova
In this wonderfully composed portrait, photographer Natalya Saprunova has captured the personality of her subject perfectly. Understated hues and soft natural light – tempered by the cadaverous drapes – endow it with a painterly aesthetic and accentuate the litany of subtle textures. A fascinating image that stands with the work of the finest visual storytellers of today.
8. “Fishermen of Kerala”, India – Lorenz Berna
A captivating composition that demonstrates photography’s communicative power, Lorenz Berna‘s depiction of a group of Keralan fishermen pulling fishing nets toward the beach, is a fitting tribute to their enduring tenacity and spirit.
The low angled viewpoint ensures almost all participants are interned within the frame and accentuates the textural quality of the sand, its surface punctuated by a myriad of footprints. The choice of black and white rather than color, is an apposite one, as it furnishes the image with a vintage aesthetic, thus evoking the work of the great humanists of yesteryear.
9. “Young boy and his monkey” Peru, Amazônia – Goran Jovic
A striking portrait, beautifully captured by Croatian photographer Goran Jovic. On the surface, it is simply a wonderfully composed image, a young boy and his primate companion, framed beautifully against the verdant Amazonian backdrop. But it can also be deciphered as a metaphor for the deep bond between the indigenous communities and the Amazon, and thus a reminder of how important its preservation is to us all.
10. “A lost world”, New Zealand – Louise Coghill
Through her lens, the viewer is transported to this beautiful corner of New Zealand’s South Island, its landscapes immersed in a frosty veil, that makes the line between water and sky barely discernible. Extraordinary creativity, immaculate timing, and a dexterous understanding of light synchronize to engender an extraordinary composition, that at first glance, appears more akin to a watercolor painting than a photograph.
All images © their respective owners