Project Description

“ANIMAL KINGDOM” – Announcing the winners


We’re delighted to present the results of Life Framer edition II’s sixth theme! An encounter with an animal is now a rarity in many people’s lives. Blame it on the urbanized world and so for this theme we asked you to explore the animal kingdom, exotic and domestic, wild and tamed. From comfort, to fear, to wonder – animals as a nuisance, a companion or a commodity… The photography competition was judged by Robin Schwartz.

Robin Schwartz is an acclaimed photographer whose art is part of permanent public collections in some of the most prestigious museums across America and Europe including the Museum Of Modern Art and the MET museum in NYC. She is also the author of the mesmerizing photobook: Amelia and the Animals, recently crowd-funded by Aperture Foundation, and exploring inter-species relationships.  She dwelled on the selection between first, second and third prizes, going back and forth for quite some time. We caught up with Robin and asked her about the judging position. She said “The images were so different from one another and equally wonderful in their own genres. I ultimately decided to select what surprised me, along with what stayed with me. I do wish I could have had a tie for the first prize, and a few more honorable mentions.”

You can discover the winning images below and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter. Congratulation to all the talented photographers featured and thank you all for your support. And remember only animals were not expelled from paradise!



First Prize: Sophie Gamand

“At first, I questioned if this was a staged diorama of a taxidermy dog. Then I accepted this images, without that information, and I hoped the dog to be living at the time the photo was taken.  Museum dioramas have been on my mind a lot lately. They represent what we either have no more of, as well as substituting for the real animal that still exists. I have been thinking that people appreciate dioramas more than the messiness of real life. Excuse me, I digress. This photograph’s scenario is a lovely combination of an unusual dog, almost hidden behind the plants and a magical landscape. The idea of it all takes my breath away.  The Xoloitzcuintle dog in the desert landscape is like nothing I have seen. How unusual, the hairless dog with wonderful skin, her eye illuminated from the light from above. The dog’s gaze is focused up at something that encompasses her attention. The demeanor of the dog’s stance is repeated in her large shadow. I don’t quite understand the direction of the light and the casting of her shadow, but no matter. The lighting of this night scene, with the subtle orange sun set glow behind the mountains enhances the beauty of landscape. I have found that working the background of a wonderful animal subject is more challenging than photographing the animal itself. The background makes or breaks the image, and importantly provides added information for a story. This photograph delivers an encompassing scenario, a full package, and I would love to hear from the photographer and the backstory. This image gives me the magic realism of, is Don Juan from Carlos Castaneda stories.” – Robin Schwartz


Second Prize: Ottavia Poli

“This is an absolutely beautiful portrait, which immediately struck me and stayed in my head throughout my day as well as zinged my heart. Is this a Blue Roan Appaloosa? Her gaze, the blue-grey-black hues and the muted brown mane are such a lovely combination in a color photograph. The slight turn of the horse’s head, acknowledging the viewer- photographer and just a bit of pink in the white’s of the eyes – we connect, breathtaking. That is what I am always looking for  – that connection, communication in the eyes, that we are indeed relating. The soft, shallow, depth of field of the horse’s body and backdrop is appreciated. Tact sharp focus of the backdrop would distract me the lovely soft quality of this horse’s fur. This portrait has the painterly aspects of images of old, what was so gorgeous in view camera portraits, with selective focus. Here too I would like to know the backstory of this horse. “- Robin Schwartz


Third Prize: Tom Brook

“I am selecting an image I have not seen before, a combination of reptile within an unusual habitat and perhaps this is also about behavior.  Admittedly I am not knowledgeable about reptiles, so I cannot comment on science. I chose this photograph as a portrait with a compelling combination of  in and out depth of field. Here I can be a viewer, close up, a fly on the wall (for viewing purposes only).  Those huge eyes , and almost eye lash brow in sharp focus with only one of the mushrooms also in focus – that plane being the only area in focus is striking. Those mushrooms are intriguing as a landscape for this subject. Here too I want to know if this is a symbiotic relationship or something else.” – Robin Schwartz

Winning photographers: Andrew Bruce, Valeria Scrilatti, Emma Kisiel, Adrien Leavitt, Agnieszka Chabros, Isabella Stahl, Barbara Oizmud, CY Frankel, Emanuele Tortora, Millee Tibbs, Lauren Damaskinos, Missha Nash, Anjes Gesink, Tahir Un, Maria Cavali, Katie Chasteen, Gabriela Guganovic

Feedback and comments 

Constructive comments are provided so that photographers who submitted their work can learn to curate their best work and so we can all discover a bit more about photography. This month’s valuable feedback is provided by our guest critic Katherine Oktober Matthews: an American artist working in Amsterdam as a photo editor for GUP magazine; one of the most established magazines in the field of international photography.

View feedback

(private area only visible by entrants and Life Framer’s members)




A prestigious jury, 4 international exhibitions and $12000 in prizes.

Photographers retain full and exclusive rights to their submitted work. Entries are judged anonymously so that execution, originality and overall impact shine through.