“You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at the picture for a second and think of it all your life.” – Joan Miro
Photography is a diverse medium encompassing all manner of styles and genres. Our monthly photo competitions celebrate this heterogeneity, providing a platform for emerging artists from all backgrounds to showcase their talent and skill to a global audience.
Seven years into our journey, we are consistently inspired by the quality of the imagery we receive. To celebrate 2022, we have surveyed some of our favorite submissions from the last twelve months of awards, and selected 10 memorable images that display the profound power of photography.
1. “The price of charcoal”, Mozambique – Mário Macilau (Editor’s Picks, Black & White Photography Award, Feb 2022)
Mário Macilau’s striking portrait portrays a young charcoal miner in Mozambique. Unicef estimates that some 158 million children (one in 6) aged between five and fourteen are engaged in child labour, many of whom live on the street and face hazardous conditions, such as working in mines, in factories where they are exposed to chemicals, in mills with dangerous machinery pesticides in agriculture, or toxic fumes on large-scale dumps.
Macilau a social documentary photographer and activist from Mozambique captures powerful, monochrome images that shine a line on those who are all too often ‘invisible’, exemplified in this stunning image, which displays the veracity, empathy, and profound perceptivity that typifies his work.
2. Rémi Bergougnoux – “Patagonian Light”, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Truly breathtaking, Rémi Bergougnoux‘s image captures the moment sunlight penetrated the clouds, bathing the dramatic landscapes of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park in an ethereal glow. Perfectly framed, the rolling auburn scenery and glass-like lakes give way to awe-inspiring snow-capped peaks in the distance, overlooked by dramatic, cloud-filled skies. A profoundly moving and inspiring composition that articulately conveys the incredible beauty of the scene, and appears more like the work of some master painter, than that of a photographer.
3. “Lucero”, Mesquite Rodeo, Mesquite, Texas, USA – Steve Wrubel (Finalist, Color Award, June 2022)
Steve Wrubel‘s breathtaking image, was selected as a finalist of our 2022 Color Photography Award by competition judge, (Head of Global PhotoVogue and Director of the Photo Vogue Festival) Alessia Glaviano, and as the cover image for our Talents of the Year photobook. Beautifully timed and framed, and rich in subtle colors and tactile textures (accentuated by the blurred background) it possesses a sculptural quality, whilst also evoking baroque and neoclassical paintings, most notably, Jacques-Louis David’s iconic depiction of Napoleon Bonaparte crossing the Alps on his trusty white steed.
4. “Shades Of Saffron”, Varanasi, India – Jonathan Jasberg (Editor’s Picks, Street Photography Award, June 2022)
A wonderful example of a deeply absorbing street photograph, Jonathan Jasberg‘s transcription of a quotidian scene in the Indian city of Varanasi, is packed with fascinating details and subtle variegated tones.
Perfectly timed and framed, it is an image that reveals further layers the longer it’s studied, conveying the intense vitality and complex beauty of one of the world’s oldest and most fascinating cities and evoking Raghubir Singh’s kaleidoscopic portrayals of his homeland.
5. “Diving” East Hampton, Long Island, NY, July 2022 – Joanna L Steidle (Finalist, Travel Award, July & August 2022)
This aerial photograph of a humpback whale breaching the ocean’s surface was captured by Joanna L Steidle, who was a finalist in our Travel Award back in the summer. From the animal’s, speckled, obsidian form, to the soft, blue-green of the Atlantic water, it is an image rich in painting-like textures and tones, that conveys the sheer magnificence of nature in a single frame.
Like so many great portrayals of nature, it induces a sense of amazement and wonder, thus reinforcing the urgent need to better protect our ocean ecosystems before it is too late.
6. “Preserving heritage”, Bangladesh – Md Arifuzzaman (Editor’s Picks, Emerging Talent Award, March 2022)
Md Arifuzzaman‘s striking image portrays a traditional Bengali ‘Malar’ boat, a once common fishing vessel with a design dating back 3000 years, that now, due to rapid urbanization, has all but disappeared.
Preserving and repairing such a vast wooden hull is extremely difficult, requiring swathes of bamboo scaffolding and over 100 people to turn it over, a process captured perfectly by Arifuzzaman, whose image displays the dedication of his compatriots to preserve an important cultural heirloom, that would otherwise, like so many traditions, be swept away.
7. “Secret Garden”, Florida, USA – Fenqiang Liu (Editor’s Picks, Black & White Photography Award, Feb 2022)
This ethereal monochrome image by Chinese-born, US-based photographer Fenqiang Liu, was captured in the Spring of 2020, in in the city of Winter Park, Florida. The branches of the ancient oak tree and pendulous moss perfectly frame the ascending egret, its graceful form illuminated by the angled rays of light.
It is an image rich in artistry – elegant, ethereal and absorbing – and one that displays the power of black and white photography, for it is difficult to imagine it would have the same impact were it rendered in color.
8.”Lords of the seas”, Manchar lake, Pakistan – Gauthier Digoutte
Gauthier Digoutte’s medium-format, analog image portrays two brothers standing in front of a channel that leads to Manchar lake in Pakistan. It is part of a series portraying the community of Mohana, once nicknamed ‘Lords of the seas’ due to their fishing abilities, they are now forced to live in a small area on the banks of the channel where the water is shallow and barren, depriving them of the very resources on which they depend. Furthermore, the annual monsoons mean they are forced to move their homes every year to avoid flooding, effectively rendering them homeless.
Digoutte’s image is a powerful one, displaying a masterful appreciation of light, color, and form. The dual protagonists in matching green attire, are illuminated by the soft glow of the afternoon sun, set against the watercolor-like backdrop, the calmness of the waters, symbolizing its infertility. Simple, yet powerful, as great portraiture often is, it communicates a sense of melancholy, though simultaneously, the quiet dignity of the subjects in the face of suffering.
9. “Complex intersection during blue hour”, Guiyang, China – Seo Cho (3rd Prize Winner, Landscape Award, November 2022)
Seo Cho’s striking aerial image depicts one of the most complex intersections in all of China, juxtaposed against the mountainous surroundings. It is a striking image, the brightly-lit network of freeways, dotted with speeding cars, contrasting dramatically against the dusky surroundings.
It demonstrates that, contrary to popular belief, great landscape photography needn’t portray pristine natural scenery, and encapsulates the often complex relationship between modernity and tradition.
10. “Child Shiva”, Pushkar, India – Sandra Chen Weinstein (Editor’s Picks, Visual Storytelling Award, Feb 2022)
Taken from her series “Facets of India”, Sandra Chen Weinstein‘s stunning portrait portrays a young child dressed as the Hindu god Shiva. It’s estimated that over 385 million children in India live in extreme poverty and during the festival season it’s common for some to dress up as deities as a means of earning small amounts of money from tourists.
Captured with sensitivity and empathy as befitting the subject, Weinstein’s image is one tinged with sadness, the girl’s eyes imparting the realities of her life and indeed of so many young children living in India.
All images © their respective owners