“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever” – Aaron Siskind
To commemorate another successful year of awards, our editorial team has looked back at the winners and finalists from each competition and selected their favorite images. We are proud to showcase this stunning collection, which spans the full photographic spectrum, and we believe, collectively demonstrates the enduring power of our extraordinary medium.
1. “Far Away Thunder” – Jorg Karg (DE)
This work is an excerpt from my recently released series ‘Manifest’. The intention behind my digital photographic collages is to make the beholder feel addressed immediately, without any further explanation. Therefore, I use present-day visual language and techniques to combine them with long-established, fundamental ideas of painting and drawing.
“An exquisitely original and daring portrait. With photography being such a mass consumer media it’s rare that an authentic image emerges with such delicate dignity and shines above the rest. Both the soul of the sitter and the witness align in a vulnerable beauty that will bear witness to all. Congratulations on creating art!” — Jimmy Nelson (Competition Judge)
– 1st Prize Winner, Portrait Award. May 2023
2. ‘Shelter from the Storm’, Kolkata, India – Jonathan Jasberg (US)
As the small lanes and streets of Kolkata, India flood due to heavy monsoon rains, people and dogs seek higher ground.
“A truly stunning image, rich in color: from the vibrant turquoise and carmine walls, echoed in the stripes on the bags that hang precariously from the bicycle, to the indigo shorts of the man on the right. Perfectly timed and composed, the trio of dogs, in the center, and a fourth sliding into the frame add an element of dynamism and spontaneity to the shot and evoke Elliot Erwitt’s classic depictions of the subject, it captures the atmosphere of the Kolkata streets in a manner reminiscent of the great Raghubir Singh, one of the finest street photographers of his time.” – The Independent Photographer Editors
– 3rd Prize Winner, Street Award. March 2023
3. “BC 5”, Editorial work – Dmitrijs Hohlovs (LV)
This is the final image that I’ve captured for a represented shoe brand. I’ve cast ballet dancer/yoga instructor who helped me to research interesting body movements and poses. I wanted a photograph that would look modern, graphic, and contemporary.
“Dmitrijs Hohlov’s striking portrait embodies the essence of fashion photography evoking the work of some of the genre’s most iconic exponents, whilst maintaining his own distinct visual dialect. The model’s contorted torso possesses a sculptural quality, a nod perhaps to the great modernist photographers of the nude form (such as Edward Weston and Ruth Bernhard) whilst the fact that her face is hidden from view helps direct the viewer’s attention to her skirt, its striking, obsidian pleats, sleek and tactile against the soft pastel backdrop.” – The Independent Photographer Editors
– 3rd Prize Winner, Fashion Award. February 2023
4. “Fringes of Abernethy”. The Cairngorm, Scotland – Ed Smith (GB)
A cloud inversion sweeps amongst the edge of Abernethy’s ancient forest, decedents of the once vast Caledonian forest, in the Northern Cairngorm region of the Scottish Highlands.
“This scene is elusive in a most delightful way. Where most landscape photographs are explicit, this one is evocative. The mists are the author of this image, letting us see only snippets and hints of moors and glens in the Cairngorms of Scotland. The scattered trees serve to assure us that there is solid ground out there somewhere. I’ve spent quite some time absorbing this image. As far as I can tell there is no center of interest; I don’t miss it. Author Nan Shepherd wrote her famous book, The Living Mountain, about the Cairngorms. This picture pretty much nails it.” — Jim Richardson (Competition Judge)
– 2nd Prize Winner, Landscape Award. November 2023
5. “Reindeer caught” – Aníbal Bueno Amoró (ES)
A Reindeer is immobilized for ritual sacrifice.
“I prefer not to read the description. The image talks for itself. It is open for interpretation. In photography, there is no manual as to what is good or not. There is only our subjective connection to an image and the world. In that moment, I am the man with the reindeer. I am stuck. Around me everything is blurry. I need to find a way. I recognise that feeling. I can identify with this. In that moment we are all the man with the reindeer. That is the strength of this image. It is real. It is not pretentious like many other images in this competition. It is honest. Show us something honest and we feel it right away. It is not about photography – it is about identifying with this man. Seeing and feeling what we have in common instead of pointing at exotic features. That’s why – in that moment – we are there with him. Thank you for letting me feel so close to this man” — Jacob Aue Sobol (Competition Judge)
– 1st Prize Winner, Black & White Award. June 2023
6. “River Delta”, Mexico – Paul Lichte (DE)
In northern Mexico, the Colorado River forms a river delta ending in the Gulf of California. During incoming and outgoing tides, ocean salt water enters the sandy river delta leaving behind small canyons on its way back to the ocean. Due to the hot and dry climate around the river delta, the salt water evaporates and leaves a white salty crust around the canyons which can create treelike patterns. The color of the water in this area can range from brown to green to turquoise. While the water coming from the Colorado River gains its brownish color from sediments in the water, the ocean water is clear and turquoise. In some parts where the ocean water doesn’t flow back to the ocean completely, algae are coloring the remaining water in green hues. This photo was taken from a light aircraft at around 1 km altitude.
“Paul Lichte’s captivating aerial image is a triumph of texture and tone. The interplay of bright green and brown hues in the water forms a pastel-like texture that contrasts dramatically with the rugged, tactile, tree-like sculptural forms of the surrounding canyons. It is a wonderful composition that stands both as a stunning piece of fine art, and a testament to breathtaking beauty and surrealism inherent in our planet’s landscapes.” – The Independent Photographer Editors
– Finalist, Color Award. April 2023
7. “Acrobatics at the horse festival”. Litang Sichuan China (Western Tibet) – Anna Rita Carrisi (IT)
The Litang Festival is an event in which riders perform acrobatics on their horses, overcoming a series of challenges. The event is not held every year as the Chinese Government prohibits or limits the number of gatherings from the communities.
“Anna Rita Carrisi’s portrayal of a rider performing acrobatics during Tiber’s Litang festival is truly extraordinary. The intricacies in the patterns, colors, and textures of the rider’s expressive garments, subtly echoed by his myriad fellow performers in the background, coupled with the adorned horse, the millions of tiny yellow and white wildflowers underfoot, and the backdrop of hazy, cloud-tipped mountains resembling a watercolor painting, construct an image that becomes increasingly intriguing upon deeper observation. It is a photograph that perfectly captures both the beauty of the moment and its profound cultural significance.” – The Independent Photographer Editors
– Finalist, Open Call Award. October 2023
8. “Balanced”, Lago di Carezza, Italy – Charlotte Ladefoged (DK)
Lake Carezza is a small alpine lake in the Dolomites in South Tyrol, Italy. It is known for its wonderful colors and its view of the Latemar mountain range.
“Charlotte Ladefoged’s portrayal of a breathtaking vista in Italy’s majestic Dolomites mountain range is simply captivating, evoking the work of the great Ansel Adams, whose portrayals of the rugged US scenery shaped contemporary landscape photography. Ladefoged’s composition is classically framed, with each element forming a section of texture: the misty sky, the jagged alabaster peaks, the dark silhouette of fur trees, and the grey, rock-strewn shoreline—each perfectly mirrored, albeit hazily, in the lake’s waters.” – The Independent Photographer Editors
– Finalist, Black & White Award. June 2023
9. “Tradition”, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates – Shyjith Onden Cheriyath (UAE)
Every winter at Ras Al Khaimah, camel handlers take their camels into the sea for a wash and bathe. The saltwater helps rid the animals of parasites. Bathing camels in this way is an old Arab tradition, but it is becoming less common in the region due to the construction of new hotels and resorts along the coastline.
“A stunning image that could well grace the cover of National Geographic. The creative framing, with the camel herder’s hand anchoring from the left, adds depth and perspective and immerses the viewer in the scene. The rich hues, from the bottle-green water to the blue sky, the orange camel muzzle, and the subtle red headscarf, showcase a keen eye for light and color, engendering a painterly quality. It is both a powerful piece of storytelling that immortalizes a fading tradition and a captivating piece of art that encapsulates the essence of travel.” – The Independent Photographer Editors
– 3rd Prize Winner, Travel Award. July/August 2023
10. “Riders of the Volcano” – Mahendra Bakle (IN)
The Tenggerese people, known as “The Horsemen of Bromo” in Indonesia, embody a captivating cultural legacy in the stunning landscape surrounding Mount Bromo. Their vibrant customs and role as horseback guides create an immersive experience for visitors exploring the volcanic terrains. These horsemen, with their traditional attire and deep-rooted rituals, offer travelers not just a ride but an encounter with the rich heritage of the region.
“When I saw this photograph, I was struck by the beauty and the moment and the power of it. I looked at all the photographs at least 20 times and I kept coming back to this one because I hadn’t seen anything like this ever and it moved me and I could imagine all kinds of stories about this photograph, this moment, this lovely place. I wanted to be that rider on that horse and I wanted to be the horse and I couldn’t turn away from it. The composition is very simple at the same time it is very complex and for the photographer to have caught this moment, a once-in-a-lifetime moment, stood out because it was so different.” — Maggie Steber (Competition Judge)
– 1st Prize Winner, Open Call Award. October 2023
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