First Prize: Kovi Konowiecki
“This image is part of a long-term project about a community that is traditionally very private, and relatively closed to the outside world. It is a strong, atmospheric portrait, technically well executed.” – Zed Nelson
“Kovi’s portrait of a young orthodox Jew is beautifully considered. The floral backdrop acts to tell a story of the traditional, old-fashioned way of life he follows, and the orange light creates a warmth, inviting you into the boy’s world, rather than presenting him as a cultural exhibit. I get completely wrapped up in his expression – there’s a look of concern, maybe weariness, that’s unusual for a boy of this age, and I want to understand him. It’s incredibly compelling, and the stand-out in a wonderful series.” – Life Framer Editors
Second Prize: Kristof Vadino
“This is a timely image that speaks of an important issue unfolding today. The image of a family uprooted and in transit is sympathetic, without being sensational, showing the trauma of being out of control of one’s life, looking for a new place to call home. (Additional note: The image felt a little over-produced – the sky seemed a little heavily burned-in, and I’d advise a lighter more subtle approach on the final print.)” – Zed Nelson
“This really is a fabulous image – it’s got such a dramatic atmosphere. Kristof has tilted it ‘Refugee Odyssey’ and it’s truly that – a document of an epic journey. The framing of the family on the left hand-side gives a sense of forward propulsion and the repetitious background acts to isolate them – this family against the world. You can enjoy it as an aesthetic whole, or close in on details – the concerned looks of the men, or the little boy at the front playing with his hood, maybe not really even understanding the situation he’s in. It gives an emotional dimension to a powerful image. I think this image works so well because Kristof finds art in his reportage. It’s documentary, but also poetry.” – Life Framer Editors
Third Prize: Jessica Hardy
“An image that has resonance and atmosphere, that speaks of a personal struggle.” – Zed Nelson
“Jess presents an image from a deeply personal project which she describes in her statement:
“I have Bulimia. Whilst struggling I came across Jo Spence’s photo therapy work and was inspired to use photography as therapy myself. I did this through using the camera to really investigate my past selves through the recreation of memories, as I believe that allows the viewer to remember the lost thoughts and feelings attached to each moment”.
The image is unashamedly personal. You see the shutter release cable winding between our position and her hand and, while she isn’t the first to use this technique, it’s an effective way of reminding the viewer that we’re witnessing a self-portrait – diaristic, and the work of the photographer alone. Literally and psychologically, she isn’t allowing anyone else to enter this personal space.
It’s a well-constructed image – with real care taken over the composition and lighting, which sits in contrast to the dangled cables and ruffled carpet in the room. That juxtaposition creates a tension, along with her facial expression suggesting that the surface calm hides strains and complexities underneath.
It’s an attractive image, and as a viewer I’m compelled to enter Jess’ world – to try to understand her feelings. In that sense it’s a really powerful portrait.” – Life Framer Editors
Further Honorary Mentions
Paul Wenham-Clarke, Mike Marlowe, Lucile Boiron, Colin Kopp, Marinka Masséus, Tahmineh Monzavi, Shelby Orr, Bivas Bhattacharjee, Mattia Micheli, Leon Hendrickx, Rana Young, Ingvar Kenne, Dimitris Rapakousis, Charlotte J Ward, Ovidiu Tataru, Chiga Kenji, Mijoo Kim.