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“AN INSTANT” – Announcing the winners

“There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo

We are delighted to present the results of the sixth monthly theme of Life Framer edition IV – AN INSTANT. We asked you to forget the past, put the future on hold, and focus on the now. To freeze the present for an instant and glance at a detail, an expression, an action, a feeling. The transient. The theme was judged by Clément Saccomani, Managing Director of the highly-revered photographer-owned agency NOOR.

You can discover the winning images below and join the discussion on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Congratulations to all the talented photographers featured, and thank you to everyone who submitted their work.

First Prize: Alastair Mclachlan

“Photography has the magic power of putting in a frame a moment of life, a breath, a visual sweetness. This image is perfect for this, both in its composition, and in this decisive moment that this woman shares with us” – Clément Saccomani

Second Prize: Betina Vang

“Street photography is always a complicated game, and the eye must rid itself of prejudices. Here, the eye strolls at the same speed as that of a passerby, like a glance at the moment of life” – Clément Saccomani

Other winning photographers:

Alexander Klang, Michelia Kramer, Alexandre Chaplier, Willem Kuijpers, Alain Schroeder, Kristof Vadino, Jon Setter, Peter Phan, Kevin Ryan, Johnathan Bensimon, Kristian Leven, Rob Becker, Zach Chasnoff, Alina Chan, Emmanuelle Bousquet, Emily Garthwaite, Mark A Phillips, Bruno Tamiozzo, Jean Luc Grossmann.

Winning photographer: Alexander Klang

“The first reaction is an important one. Alexander’s models is frozen in physical-limbo, knotted and contorted, seemingly at the instant of painful impact. Good images make you think, but great images make you feel – and it hurts. It’s heart-in-mouth, wincing stuff. It’s a hard-edged image – the razor-sharp angles of limbs, the sinews and veins of the protagonist’s lean musculature – and yet there’s a softness in the limited monochrome palette, the streetscape fading to a blur. This is an image that has been carefully considered and constructed, and it creates a strange, discordant harmony.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Michelia Kramer

“Michelia’s is a droll take on the instant before disaster. A frozen catastrophe, yet to occur, but just out of reach, too close to influence. The image pops with color and texture – the sheen and lacquer of the car’s bodywork and lady’s nail polish, the bright, jarring fabrics. It creates a hyper-reality, a perfection to a moment of heightened awareness in which we are conscious of every minute detail and yet totally powerless to react. It’s a wry concept, executed brilliantly – each element well considered and effected.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Alexandre Chaplier

“In Alexandre’s series from which this image is taken, he seeks to capture a Morocco in suspense – caught frozen between a new country being rapidly built, and another that remains rooted in tradition. This image, perfectly timed and flawlessly composed, captures something of that; the moment of the handshake – a symbol for agreement, for progress and forwards motion – juxtaposed against surroundings that evoke a hardship, an environment stood still, slowly decaying. The palm tree and chicken anchor the image and add a contextual and a comical, absurd touch respectively.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Willem Kuijpers

“The images that stay with me are the ones that reveal enough to draw me in, but omit enough to trigger my imagination – what exists, or existed, either side of this instant? What existed beyond the border of this scene? Willem’s image of a religious street procession in Italy is packed with color and detail and yet we’re drawn directly into the eyes of this man – a remarkably intimate moment given the clamor that surrounds this scene – hardened and focused. It contrasts with that of his neighbor – he gazes upwards, and it brings to mind ideas of religious searching. I feel things – an intensity, a power, a weight of a moment – through these two men.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Alain Schroeder

“Alain’s portrait is of two Kushti wrestlers – practicing a traditional form of south-Asian wrestling that requires dedication and rigorous discipline. For anyone familiar with the sport, this image of quiet reflection is at odds to the normal depictions – of grappling action, flying mud and sweat. It personifies a camaraderie and solidarity between the two athletes, an unspoken understanding, strengthened by the similarity in their appearances. And it is exquisitely framed and lit, drawing on parallels with formal painting and portraiture, normally preserve of the rich. It’s a reverential depiction of fraternity, and a beautiful, engaging portrait.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Kristof Vadino

“Kristof’s image, from a series about hardships for refugees during winter in Serbia, feels like a still-frame from a cinematic dystopia. The young boy’s steely gaze from above his cape holds you, before his surroundings come into focus – a barren landscape with burning wreckages the only source of heat in the bitter cold, a fence separating these men in a second-tier existence from the city beyond, or perhaps the city’s progression halted by some cataclysmic event, the cranes left to hang in the dusty sky… It’s one of those images – perfect in its realization – that grabs you and sparks the imagination. But that it is a very real situation, a contemporary reality rather than the work of creative fiction, is grounding and troubling. It’s a powerfully evocative image – where, for me at least, the imaginary can shine a light on the real.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Jon Setter

“Humor is one of the hardest things to impart in an image, but Jon does it wonderfully, capturing the absurdity of this dog – seemingly ten foot tall – popping up over a corrugated fence. Whether it was something he anticipated or was quick to react to, he captures the scene instinctively – the spontaneity of the canine in perfect disparity with the clinical, geometric rigour of his environment. It’s a marvellous image that wows with its technical composure as much as it tickles with its wit. Left-brain and right-brain working in unison.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Peter Phan

“There’s something subtly off-kilter about Peter’s image – the pin-sharp horizon line splitting two very different halves of an image: a bright, hopeful sky, and a dark, brooding sea. Our protagonist peers backwards towards this fissure, and there’s a sense of quiet dread, quite at odds to the backdrop we experience as a viewer. It makes for something quite arresting.

Peter describes how the image is from a series that “encapsulates how I see the world. I was diagnosed with a high functioning form of Autism and a sensory disorder at the age of 5 that led me to a life where it made it difficult for me to communicate and integrate into society”. The image is a wonderful depiction of that sense of discord – of seeing things in a slightly different way to others, of not fitting in, of the muddle of hope, fear, anxiety, wonder and all the other emotions that confront us.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Kevin Ryan

“Kevin captures the instant where the fireworks start up at the ‘Bee Sting Festival’ in Yanshui, Taiwan. At this remarkable event, fireworks are directed at the crowds of locals and tourists – originally in the late 19th century used to attract the attention of Guan Di, the God of War, and now as a huge tourist attraction, regularly voted as one of the most dangerous in the world.

Not knowing this context, Kevin’s image has a raw, terrifying power – it feels as though you are on the frontline facing into warzone or the gates of hell. His framing creates a confusion – a noise, a claustrophobia. It’s only on further reflection, seeing the smartphones held in the air, that the viewer can start to unravel that all may not be what it seems. The image combines an in-your-face excitement with a deeper intrigue, and that’s a strong combination.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Jonathan Bensimon

“Bleached concrete, thick shadows, a pastel palette of tones and a sad-looking iced-lolly, pooled and sticky, melting in the hot sun. This perfectly-weighted composition will evoke a certain summer nostalgia for many – a feeling, sounds and smells. It’s the calm after the drama and upset, the slow-dawning realization that everything will probably be alright after all.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Kristian Leven

“Images with multiple subjects are really hard to pull off. Like a machine with many moving parts, each must work in unison – clashes and imbalance can result in a visual mess, where many elements cancel each other out and ultimately say nothing. Kristian avoids that pitfall masterfully – the scene is busy and complex, but beautifully orchestrated to capture the candid energy of a place (in this case Colombia) with a photographic order. It’s layered and interesting – the connected arms leading you on a dance through the whole image – and full of personality. A chaotic instant in a perfect harmony – for an impossibly short moment.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Rob Becker

“Rob freezes motion – this dancer in momentary, unending free-fall, held with an effortless elegance and poise. His bold, rigid framing gives her full stage, and the clinical white wall, straight floor line and ductwork act to accentuate the grace in her organic shapes and lithe movement. I’m drawn to the marks on the floor – pen-sketch doodles, spiralling traces of past movement. Tiny clues to the efforts behind a learned naturalness.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Zach Chasnoff

“The last couple of years in current affairs have been characterized by protest in the face of startling, backwards-facing politics, and systemic racism. Images of activists with placards, rioters, police, of tension and release have become a familiar visual signifier for our times.

In this sense, Zach’s image could be zeitgeist-y, and yet I feel it offers an interesting and unusual perspective on the subject. It grapples with the multi-faceted emotions of being a police offer of color, the idea of being a woman in a male-dominated profession, of being hardened and beautiful at once. And in aesthetic terms it offers something too – many photographers’ depictions of rioters and riot police are gritty and energetic, and yet Zach captures this woman with a crisp, hyper-realness. When it can seem like the media presents everything as black and white, absolute and unambiguous, this image, and the multifarious ideas it evokes, seems timely and important.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Alina Chan

“There’s a gentle poetry to Alina’s image – it’s a rippling stream from six feet, it’s snow-capped mountains from ten thousand. This is such a simple instant, nothing really of note – when a fishing line catches the surface of water and leaves a swell that reverberates, echoes and fades – and yet it holds a quiet power. It’s unknowable and yet it resonates – saying nothing, but not needing to.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Emily Garthwaite

“As a viewer you’re thrown into the moment of Emily’s image – a simple summertime scene in which she freezes a complex scene with great effect. There’s a spontaneous impulse to it, and lovely details to absorb – the little girl’s expression, reeling at a reprimand from the adult out of view. Those of her friends, oblivious in the moment. The colors and textures of their dresses, lit up by the golden sun. It’s a lovely moment, and just for an instant we’re totally absorbed in their little world.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Mark A Phillips

“Mark understands that the image may not always be in the immediate scene before you. By peering downwards he finds an abstraction in the scene – shadows, colors, textures – and little details emerge: the make-up of the surface, the broken net. His story is of ‘Ares Deportivas Urbanas’, created from derelict areas to provide local sports and recreation facilities in Havana, Cuba, and we see that; basic facilities maybe, but full of life. It’s one of those compositions that shouldn’t work – center-frame is completely empty after all – but somehow, through a bold stylistic-choice it finds a strange and satisfying off balance.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Bruno Tamiozzo

“Bruno’s image may not be one of technical mastery but it captures a dynamism, an ethereality of a moment – peaceful and tranquil as the Taj Mahal appears through the mist. More than a chronicle of places and events, good documentary photography describes the feelings, the smells and sounds, the cultural temperature of a moment, and here Bruno does just that. Far from the cacophony of colors we might associate with this part of India, the subdued tones and clinging mist transmit a sense of quiet discovery. I’m drawn to his choice of composition – how the old wooden planks of the small boat are given as much space as the iconic spires of the Taj Mahal itself. It grounds the moment, reminding us that there is history in the most unassuming things, and that real memories are so much more vibrant, more profound, than the postcard-perfect views.” – Life Framer

Winning photographer: Jean Luc Grossmann

“Some images are captured, others are seized. Here Jean Luc bottles a youthful abandon, a childhood energy and vitality, a carelessness. His composition is dynamic, the action cutting a diagonal through the frame, and he crops the landscape from distractions – this is the whole world, and there is nothing beyond it. Depth of meaning is important, but it’s also nice to see a moment of pure bliss.” – Life Framer

A prestigious jury, 3 international exhibitions and $24000 in cash prizes.

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