Photography contests have a pretty debatable reputation, especially when they are orchestrated by companies that have zero or little relation to the world of photography.
These companies have the bad habit of launching these “photography contests” whose participants only serve to nurture the company’s image inventories, which are then used for their own corporate purposes.
Fortunately, in recent years these schemes have been exposed by many photographers around the globe, so stay away from contests that are not driven by entities that are not closely associated with the discipline.
Leaving those crooked contests behind, we can still submit our work to some prestigious (yet tough) contests.
Previously we talked about the last 5 winners from the Hasselblad Prize, an award that given to a single photographer on an annual basis. The Hasselblad Prize has been very close to one genre in particular – Contemporary Photography – which today is very closely related to Fine Art.
Today we will talk about the most recent winners of one of the four annual awards organized by one of photography’s most important photography, which also happens to be one of the strongest photographic authorities on the planet as well.
The prize I want to talk about today is LensCulture’s Street Photography Awards 2017, for which I gave myself permission to participate.
In the end, I did not make it through to any of the final picks. But the experience was very important for me since they gave me a space to showcase my own work on their website, and they even sent me a very well-elaborated critique of it.
I firmly believe as a passionate photographer that constructive criticism is an extremely important element in improving the quality of the work that we do as photographers, no matter the style we pursue. Many people don't take criticism very well, especially if it has not been requested by them; but when criticism is sought and desired, it can become the most important element for enhancing quality.
LensCulture is a photography network and online magazine about contemporary photography in art, media, politics, commerce and popular culture worldwide.
It is also a valuable source of resources that keep us informed about the latest trends and controversies in the contemporary photography world. The organization was founded in 2004 by its editor, Jim Casper, and the award-winning photographers from LensCulture are exhibited at festivals, universities and arts institutions.
I really like the mission that the editorial team of LensCulture preaches, and, as the lovers of photography that we are, it seems important to me that I share a little bit of it with you. LensCulture recognizes that photography is the most universal language on the planet, and they have taken on the task of recognizing exceptional talent through their contests.
About The Street Photography Awards 2017
I want to talk about the LensCulture Street Photography Awards 2017, mainly because I love street photography. Without further ado, let's talk a bit about some of the award winners.
Thanks to the current benevolent state of photography in the world, street photography has seen an increase in popularity. It’s unprecedented in the history of photography. For this contest, photographers from 139 countries participated, which in the words of LensCulture’s own team, presented a Dantesque challenge for this year's judging panel. From this universe of talent, they had to select only 6 winners, 6 selections from the jury and 25 finalists.
Out of Breath is a series that started with a memory of a precise moment in Hakan's childhood. The work has a very intriguing feel and invites us to delve further into the story to unravel the mystery it presents. Even though we have different points of view and a very diverse set of compositions, the project is able to maintain an interesting narrative.
This project has a big focus on details and is presented entirely in color. Color street photography has been getting very popular in the last few years, and this work is a good example of the wonders it can convey when done right.
If you like color street photography, check out the work of the following photographers:
Nostalgia is presented in a diptych format and invites us to read the relationship that both images have with each other. Some of them present different ways of seeing simple things such as lines, and others make us think about the vulnerability and decay of our humble human body.
Single Image Winner
You can't go wrong with umbrellas. I don't know why they have such a seductive charm, and even though they are a cliché, I love them. My taste may not be unique since the jurors picked this AMAZING street photograph as their “Single Image Winner”. Making it through with a single image is way harder than with a project because in only one shot you need to be able to tell everything. I'm planning on making this picture my desktop, and it was the reason I wanted to write this column. I needed the perfect reason to share it with all of you.
Each of the six jury members selected one photographer to be awarded special distinction and a cash grant. My favorite picture is from Marco Gualazzini, from his series titled “The Girls of Mogadishu are Heading Back to the Beach”. Here we can see a man dressed in the Barcelona soccer team’s uniform carrying a massive hammerhead shark through the streets. What a scene indeed!
About the Best of LensCulture Vol. 1
And since we’re talking about LensCulture, I want to take this opportunity to share with you a video that shows an excerpt of my latest acquisition: a book called The Best of LensCulture Vol. 1. The book is not at all expensive, and the binding is perhaps not the best in the world, but the work it contains is mind-blowing.