Theme: Open Call / Competition Judge: Maggie Steber
With no explicit lead, the Open Call competition is designed to invite photographers of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences to share with us their best images.
We are delighted to present the images of 10 visual artists whose work shows an exceptional level of talent: Congratulations to the winners and finalists!
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1ST PRIZE: Mahendra Bake
“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
2ND PRIZE: Mauro De Bettio
“I was deeply moved by this photograph. It’s a beautifully simple portrait but the photographer has added something that is tender and soft and mysterious. It’s ghostly in some ways, it’s like a memory or a dream that keeps coming back. I could get lost in it and I stared at it for a long time and it spoke to me in very personal ways that reminded me of someone who was gone but still there, a memory of someone who was well loved.” — Maggie Steber
3RD PRIZE: François Mille
“Beyond the obvious qualities of composition and framing, understanding of colors, light, and texture, it is all the beauty and essence of relationship, dedication, and the gift of self that the photographer has managed to capture here. Something not exclusive to humans; Something sublime and moving, a sincere and pure manifestation of life” – The Independent Photographer Editors
Judge: Maggie Steber
One of the most important visual storytellers of our time, American photographer Maggie Steber has spent her illustrious career traveling the globe exploring a wide range of humanitarian, cultural, and social issues. Previous subjects include the history of the American slave trade, the everyday lives of Native Americans, and the complexities of life in Haiti, a country she has photographed for more than three decades.
Over the years she has earned a host of prestigious awards and honors, including the Leica Medal of Excellence, the Alicia Patterson, Ernst Haas Grants, and the World Press Foundation Award.
Steber works for National Geographic, which named her a Woman of Vision in 2015, and she is also part of the renowned VII Photo Agency. Her images have graced the pages of numerous international publications, including Life, the New Yorker, Smithsonian, The Guardian, Time, and Geo Magazine.