We’re delighted to present the results of Life Framer’s fifth theme – An Instant! For this theme we asked you to forget the past, put the future on hold, and focus on the now – a detail, an expression, an action, a feeling. Judging was carried out by Olivia Arthur.

Olivia Arthur is a British documentary photographer and member of the prestigious Magnum Photo Agency, best known for her ground-breaking work on the lives of women in segregated societies. She is also the co-founder of Fishbar, a forward-thinking photography gallery in Shoreditch, London.

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 all for your support.

As Dorothea Lange once said – Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. These stunning images, show us just that – life held still.


“There is a lot going on in this image, it makes me curious. What is in this man’s mouth? What’s under his arm? Have they not seen each other? Who’s hidden behind them? What is she photographing? It is certainly an ‘instant’ and you can feel the energy of it…” – Olivia Arthur

“For an impromptu street image, this has a remarkable crispness and wonderful lighting that almost looks staged. Bas captures that decisive moment of almost-interaction in our busy urban environments, where two people almost connect, or in this case almost collide, in his own brilliantly distinctive style. The woman is overstimulated and lost in her phone, and the man is alert to the moment, but also multi-tasking at pace. It says so much about our hectic, modern-day world. I love the emptiness either side of the two characters, heightening our focus on them, and then the details at the edges – on the left, another person lost in their smartphone/headphones, and on the right the shadow of someone scratching their heads – perhaps bemused by our modern existence! It’s a fabulous, frozen moment”. – Life Framer Editors


“This is a fun picture. Something interesting is going on on the other side of those steps but we are left guessing what it might be. It also feels like a study in formality and footwear and makes me smile because it reminds me of seeing the same thing on the escalators in the tube.” – Olivia Arthur

Often, the best images are created from the moments that most people ignore – the photographer seeing a fleeting moment or an unexpected composition. This moment is one such example. Marcel elegantly captures this ‘behind the scenes’ view, spotting the pleasing straight lines of the bleachers, and the harmony in the blues, blacks and greens. It has a quality of timelessness, the setting and era difficult to determine, and in that sense it’s a memorable image”. – Life Framer Editors


“This is definitely an intriguing picture. I’d love to think that it was a caught moment of people doing something silly at the window, but I rather suspect that it has actually been arranged. Does that mean I don’t like it as much? Should it matter? Either way it feels like the people in it are laughing underneath all that hair and that makes it feel fun.” – Olivia Arthur

“There’s something really intriguing about this image – An artwork of an artwork, a voyeuristic look into a strange performance piece. The straight lines of the distant brickwork and nearby window frame are carefully aligned, and Denise does well to keep that window frame in shot, heightening the idea that we’re a remote onlooker, watching in on something strange and remarkable. It’s an unusual image, but well crafted, and for that reason it stands out”. – Life Framer Editors


This is a great, spontaneous instant caught by Dimitri. Technically, it isn’t perfect – it’s obvious that it was taken in haste, and it would be better if the focal point rested directly on the girls – but the lighting conditions are difficult, and he frames the image well nonetheless, creating a huge negative space into which the lost balloon is drifting. It’s a serendipitous, whimsical moment that he eloquently captures in his statement: “Often, just one instant late is too late – in photography as in life. This awareness both disturbs and inspires me”. – Life Framer Editors


This is a marvelous composition by Kristin – the woman perfectly framed through the triangle of the man’s bent arm and gun, such framing providing context and creating a satisfying depth in the scene. The woman’s bright fake nails and eye make-up, at odds with the ‘macho’ setting, is what holds the viewer’s attention and creates a friction that elevates the image. It’s a wonderful image. – Life Framer Editors


Christos’ image is a bright and bold example of street photographing, capturing vibrant primary colours, and an absurd moment as an overheating tourist flamboyantly pours water over himself and the two ladies in matching hats look at the Greek landmark from afar. It’s brilliantly framed, with each element holding its own within the frame, and has that humorous element for which Martin Parr has made a name for himself, particularly in his ‘Small World’ work. Christos knows that the great image isn’t of the tourist attractions themselves, but of the eccentric characters that go to visit them. – Life Framer Editors


Giles’ image of a terminally-ill child in the Indian city of Bhopal is hugely affecting. Like the photojournalistic practise of our past judge Ed Kashi, he confronts troubling subject matter in a raw and unflinching way, and yet finds a ‘beauty’ in his image – in this case those bright, anxious eyes behind the outstretched hand. It’s a powerful piece of photojournalistic image making, along with the other images submitted from his ‘Toxic Trespass’ series. His statement provided is a touching narrative for the power of his work: “Recognizing the fragility of life, I hope [this image conveys] that sense of mortality and photography’s power to remember, honor, dignify in the face of death”. – Life Framer Editors


This is a superb instant, the quiet calm before the storm of hooves and dust. Alexandre’s composition is creative and effective, splitting the frame in half and shooting from a low vantage point. It acts to throw us into the scene, and to heighten the tension as we wait for the starters to drop their whips. It’s a highly memorable image. – Life Framer Editors


This image is nicely framed and there’s a beautiful, flat tonality to it. Despite the violence of the eruption, there’s something soft and serene about the image and that’s what makes it work – that dichotomy of chaos and calm, ferocity and placidity. It doesn’t look like the normal ‘landscape’ image. – Life Framer Editors


Mariano creates a bizarre, striking scene. The gritty, urban scene is interesting in itself – well composed and with a nice palette of grim, muddy colours – but it’s the boy, jutting in from the bottom of the frame that makes it. He screams upwards, but not with a look of fear or horror, and for that reason it’s left open for the viewer’s interpretation, and has a surreal, absurdist quality. – Life Framer Editors


Frederik’s image is a wonderful, cinematic instant that asks more questions than it answers: Who is this man walking down the middle of the road in the dead of night? Or has the driver left his vehicle, and if so in search of what? It’s absorbing and arresting. In Frederik’s statement he says “nature can be overwhelmingly beautiful and unpredictably harsh, but nothing ever felt more intense than being caught by beauty and anxiety at the same time” and that juxtaposition of anxiety and beauty, the known and the unknown, is the essence of this image. – Life Framer Editors


“Mother: After the diagnosis of cancer and a long struggle, I wanted to portray my mother. This is how she has been living all this time, after all”. Bárbara presents a stunning portrait. From a technical perspective it’s very well executed, with fantastic lighting and framing. The pose is almost a caricature but there’s a warmth and honest to the subject’s expression, and in light of Bárbara’s statement it makes for a touching image. It’s hard to make a straight portrait stand out from the crowd, but this one does just that – dripping with character. – Life Framer Editors


The three subjects here are strongly framed in front of the mass of protestors and the thick clouds of smoke behind them. With the near-constant news of turmoil and upheaval around the world, the subject matter connects, but it’s the expressions on their faces that really make the image – determined and impassioned, but also tired and anxious. It shows us more than a riot, it shows us the humanity of the protagonists. – Life Framer Editors


Tim captures a wonderful moment, perfectly framing the boy holding the flag into the wind. It’s visually arresting, with the muted colours punctuated by snatches of bright blue, red and orange, and the boy’s obscured face creates a mystery to the scene. It’s evocative and memorable. – Life Framer Editors


François’ image is a playful instant of an instant, a photograph of a photograph. The visual-unexpectedness of what looks to be a tribesman, using a piece of western technology has been done before, and could even be seen as a little crass (shock horror!), but here it’s more the absurdity of the act (a selfie?) in the forest surroundings. And there’s a beauty in the image itself – the pure white robes against the natural colours, the layers of branches leading the eye into the image – that makes it work so well. – Life Framer Editors


This is a beautiful, filmic image – each element carefully considered. The colours are well balanced, the lighting pouring in the through the window is beautifully captured, and the point of view is well measured, giving the viewer only a glimpse of what the lady looks out at. She stands frozen, seemingly trapped behind the glass, and on close inspection the cracked glass and bedraggled curtains hint at a room that’s tired and uncared for, perhaps like the character that longs to leave it. Cristina presents some interesting ideas in her statement below, but would do well to work with a native English speaker to help polish them. “This project speaks about images and psyche. Taking pictures is about giving space and body to an interior dialogue, is about connection to introjection(inside) and projection (outside). The outside is captured and made inside and then transformed by the photographer’s interiority”. – Life Framer Editors


This image has an immediate appeal with its flat, pure blue sky contrasted against the rich colours and textures of the rocks. And then the eyes discover the tiny butterfly, perched against the upper rock, the shape of its wings reflected in the rock face, just at a vastly different scale. It’s a gorgeous, fleeting moment that elevates the image beyond a nice landscape composition – encouraging the viewer to question the butterfly’s insignificance in the grand scheme of things, but the ephemeral beauty it brings nonetheless. – Life Framer Editors


What a wonderful moment this is – the tired reveler finding a moment of peace in the thick of this festival crowd. It’s a fantastic example of using depth-of-field to your advantage, blurring out all of the elements except for the ones that matter. I wish that the second green party hat wasn’t there so that the man was completely isolated (I’m not personally adverse to a little Photoshop-trickery in this context although others might be) and I’d also be tempted to play with the colour balance a little, reducing the orange tone a touch. But nonetheless it’s a delightful image and like the work of photographers such as Lyndon French, a welcomingly unique take on the music photography genre. – Life Framer Editors


This is a fabulous composition – elegantly framed, and with our subject just stepping into the maze, the treachery and confusion ahead perhaps a metaphor for bigger things. The colours are wonderful, and the whole composition just works. This image is from Tine’s series BAROK, which she describes in her statements as follows: “BAROK is a series of images which is based on sensation. Looking at the representation of the female body and working along a complex set of values, I questions the set conventions of sensation through the very act of looking. The vernacular and the insignificant become platforms from which to examine issues of representation that cut across expectations and established modes of viewing, thus the viewer is constantly placed in a dilemma that allows self-reflection”. While I do see some of those ideas in this image and her others, the statement is a little verbose and continues for another five paragraphs. I would encourage Tine to think about the ideas she really wants to get across in her work, and how they can be expressed concisely and poetically. Jennifer Schwartz’s ‘The Artist Statement: How and Why to Write Yours’ could be a good resource. – Life Framer Editors


This image jumps out at the viewer, with its creative flat, top-down composition, and vibrant sun-drenched colours. It’s amusing too, the woman seemingly haven thrown her clothes off and collapsed into a heap. There’s always room for images like this, that have a strong visual appeal and make you smile. – Life Framer Editors

A prestigious jury, 4 international exhibitions and $24000 in cash prizes.

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