Congratulations to photographer Alessandra Manzotti who’s image won the competition!
– Theme: Documentary Photography / Competition Judge: Mustafah Abdulaziz
Documentary photography is much more than the chronicle of events and environments and we were looking for visual artists aiming to captivate; be it through professional photojournalism on social issues, or through artistic interpretation: unique voices willing to share their stories with conviction and awareness.
As a photographer who has entered my work into competitions in the past, I’ve oftentimes found myself at a loss afterwards when trying to understand the response to my work. So I’d like to include a few shorts words about the finalists and why I chose them. Photography is a deeply powerful medium, one in which profound observations can be easily overlooked if the creator is not careful. My taste is, at the end of the day, my own, shaped by my worldview and appreciation for some things rather than others. I chose these photographs as finalists because they retain in them some spark, some beginning, that tells me that the photographers are well on their way to finding a voice and way of sharing the world. This is, at its heart, what we all strive to do. – Mustafah Abdulaziz
First Prize: Alessandra Manzotti
“There are a few things that struck me when I saw this photograph. The sublime merger of the sky’s color into the horizon. The rocks and their etching presence against the thin, faint line of distant hills. And, at the core, the two-dimensionality of layers in the living presence of man and animal, halted in their progression towards the edge of the frame. The photographer has seen without pretence, and has given the viewer a perch from which to share their climb atop this ridge. By trading easy drama for resonate simplicity, this photograph achieves what I value most in the tradition of documentary
photography: the willingness to go out into life and carry back some fraction of the heavy weight of human experience from the edge of the map.” – Mustafah Abdulaziz
Second Prize: Alec Von Bargen
“The pain of others is a serious responsibility and oftentimes, difficult to navigate. What resonated most in this photograph, and its text, lay in the anonymity of the subjects, the intimate and simple moment this was taken amongst many, many others. At the center of documentary photography is the importance of choice. How do you depict the lives of others? This photograph evokes aesthetics already present in our mind yet takes that familiar and adds details that elevate it into notable distinction: the hint of an eye without the visibility of the entire face and how all the three figures face in opposite directions, as though both close and far, alone and together.” – Mustafah Abdulaziz
Honorary Mention: Anja Bruehling
“A perfectly seized portrait capturing all the hardness and dignity of manual workers. The use of black and white here emphasises the heavy sun that weights on these women as they carry impressive stacks of bricks. Well timed and framed, the image provides all visual elements to understand the harshness of the job. Barefoot in an environment filled with dust and particles under a scorching sun: A powerful image of the world’s poverty-stricken that immediately brings to mind “Workers”, Sebastião Salgado’s tribute to the human condition; and a spectacular affirmation of the enduring spirit of working women and men”– The Independent Photographer Editors