From the Dr. Erich Salomon Award, first launched in 1971, to newer competitions like the Minimalist Photography Awards, now in its third year, July 2021 brought winners announcements from a wide range of photo contests. While the annual Audubon Photo Awards introduced us to a sun-drenched, dust-bathing roadrunner in South Texas, the PHMuseum 2021 Mobile Photo Prize reminded us of the everyday beauty to be found close to home, even amid lockdowns.
Meanwhile, The Lucie Foundation’s Guardian Project underscored the devastating human cost of COVID-19, and The National Portrait Gallery in Australia looked back on a year marked by drought and bushfires. As part of Feature Shoot’s newsletter, we rounded up some of the most powerful competition winners of the last month, from the painful to the hopeful and everything in between.
Jameisha Prescod was chosen as the single-image winner of the Wellcome Photography Prize 2021, bringing home a £10,000 overall award as well as a £1,000 category award for their photo Untangling. This year’s awards comprised three categories: Managing Mental Health, Fighting Infections, and Health in a Heating World. Prescod’s self-portrait, created during lockdown in their London apartment, fell under the first category.
During a period of depression, they turned to knitting to soothe their mind. They say, “It’s really hard to talk about mental health and I guess it’s especially hard to turn a camera on yourself to expose some of the deepest and darkest (places), but I’m glad that even taking it, I guess, could touch on something that a lot of us have been going through in this pandemic.” You can read more about the other winners of the Wellcome Photography Prize here.
The Audubon Photography Awards, the leading bird photography competition in North America, announced Greater Roadrunner as this year’s Grand Prize winner, with a cash prize of $5,000 going to the photographer Carolina Fraser. “One of my favorite places to take photographs is among the oil pumps and open space at Los Novios Ranch in South Texas, where wildlife weaves through cacti and birds perch on fence posts,” she says.
“On a blazing hot summer day just before sunset, I found myself lying face-down at an uncomfortable angle, my elbows digging into a gravel path as I photographed this roadrunner. I manually adjusted the white balance until I captured the bird bathed in golden sunlight as it took a dust bath.”
Prarthna Singh’s photograph Mother took home £2,000 as part of the PHMuseum 2021 Mobile Photo Prize. She photographed her mother often during the pandemic, and it was something she hadn’t done before; in this picture, her mom is practicing her daily exercises in her garden in Jaipur. “In many ways, this simple moment captures the feeling of lockdown during the pandemic,” Sara Urbaez, one of the jurors, shared. “It’s disorienting and the sense of longing is palpable.”
Joshua Irwandi has been named the Grand Prize Winner of The Guardian Project for Documentary Photographers and Photojournalists, an open call from The Lucie Foundation, for his image The Human Cost of COVID-19. He wins a cash prize of $1,000, a $250 B&H Gift Certificate, a featured interview on the Lucie Foundation website, and more.
“To photograph the victims of coronavirus in Indonesia is the most heartbreaking, most eerie photography I have ever done,” Irwandi shared on Instagram. “In my mind at the time, I only thought what happened to this person may well happen to people I love, people we all love. I’ve witnessed firsthand how the doctors and nurses are continuously risking their lives to save ours.
“They are the true heroes of this story, and the only way to appreciate their work is to follow what they advise us. We felt it was absolutely crucial that this image must be made. To understand and connect to the human impact of this devastating virus.”
Istvan Kerekes’s portrait of two shepherds and their lambs in Transylvania, Romania, captured on an iPhone 7, has won the IPPAWARDS. The Hungarian photographer has been documenting life in Transylvania’s shepherding communities for fifteen years. “This picture shows Alexandru and Peter, who are shepherds near Targu Mures locality,” he told The Washington Post. “They graze their animals near the Mures river.” He wins a Gold Bar from the most recognizable private gold mint in the world.
The Lenscratch Student Prize has chosen Allie Tsubota as their First Place Winner for her series This Brilliant Flash of Light. “The psychic lives of Asian/Americans are mediated through histories of migration, racialization, and assimilation–three processes that produce what David Eng and Shinhee Han describe as a form of racial melancholia,” Tsubota writes. “Racial melancholia is a condition of the assimilated, racialized body–a collective, psychic casualty of histories of settler colonialism, racial capitalism, and white hegemony manifest as a form of self-erasure, or of loss.
“This work begins to trace this type of melancholia retrospectively through time, from the present myth of the ‘model minority,’ to American militarism and forced assimilation during WWII, to those early Asian migrants coerced into plantation labor in Hawai’i.” She wins a $1500 cash prize and a feature on Lenscratch, a $250 cash prize from The Griffin Museum of Photography, a year-long mentorship with Aline Smithson, and more.
The Dr. Erich Salomon Award, a lifetime achievement award from the German Photographic Society (DGPh), went to Hans-Jürgen Burkard for his decades of work as a reportage photographer, including his coverage for STERN in the former Soviet Union, where he was one of the first accredited Western photographers. More recently, Burkard traveled thousands of miles, documenting his native country of Germany. The award includes a certificate and an engraved Leica M Camera.
Joel B. Pratley has won the National Photographic Portrait Prize from The National Portrait Gallery in Australia for Drought story, an image made in New South Wales in January 2020, amid the bushfires and droughts that wracked the country. Pratley captured the photo during a dust storm on a 1000-acre farm. “David’s [the farmer’s] composure during the storm was surreal, because he is just so used to it,” the photographer says. “For me, it was like being on Mars.” He takes home $30,000 cash and a prize pack valued at $20,000 from Canon.
The Alpha Awards, which celebrates images made on Sony cameras and lenses across Australia and New Zealand, has announced their winners, with The Fog by Matt Beaver chosen by Scott Gray, CEO of the World Photography Organisation, as the Grand Prize Winner. More than 4,900 photos were submitted.
“Truth be told, I’ve seen this image a thousand times before, except in different circumstances,” Beaver shared on Instagram. “I’ve seen farmers walking through brown paddocks of dirt under blue skies and a blazing sun. It hasn’t rained in months. The farmer has checked the weather app, the predicted rain never eventuates. Crop failure after crop failure, the ground remains dry. The drought never seems to end.
“This image was captured while we waited for the fog to clear. The drought had broken; the landscape was green again, and crops were thriving.” He takes home AU$10,000 in Sony gear.
The Minimalist Photography Awards, powered by the bi-monthly B&W Minimalism Magazine, has named Allen Koppe, a fine art photographer based in Sydney, as this year’s Minimalist Photographer of the Year. “For my series On Route, I wanted to try something new, something different,” Koppe says. “I wanted to challenge myself and discover a technique that had been sitting in the back of my mind for several years. I wanted to move forward and take what had merely been a concept, an idea, a thought process and make it into a visual reality.” He wins a cash prize of $2000.
Fine Art Photographer George Mayer took home the Photographer of the Year title and a $3,000 prize as part of the Moscow International Foto Awards for his series Anima. “Carl Gustav Jung believed that there was a feminine beginning, or female part of the psychic setup, in [the] subconsciousness of every man,” the artist says. “The anima is a personification of all feminine psychological qualities that a man possesses, such as haziness and vagueness of feelings and moods. In the process of working on creative projects, I tend to resort to a kind of meditation and try to establish a connection with my anima, which is depicted as a nude female figure. The red circle […] is a reference to the planet Mars.”