We’re delighted to present the results of the fifth theme of Life Framer Edition VI, judged by celebrated social documentary photographer Greg Girard.

We live in a time (current situation aside) of unprecedented access to the world. As low-cost travel options have increased and the internet has proliferated with stories of weird and wonderful places, and of friends’ adventures far from home, the world can start to seem smaller. And yet conversely it feels less knowable – “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know” as Aristotle was purported to say more than 2000 years ago.

This selection of travel images offers 20 more pins on the map – a criss-crossing voyage that takes us from youth culture in Iran to yogis on the shores of the Ganges, via the Roma community in Hungary, Mongolian ice fields, Chilean deserts and Chinese airports. Each is a marvel – offering something universal as well as something unexpected and unique to the photographer on their adventure. Taken as a group they provide an exhilarating tour of the world as it is today – scratching the surface of what makes our home so fascinating, and why we harbor that yearning desire to explore.

Join the discussion on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and thank you to everyone who submitted their work.


“The humble recreational activity of going to the beach is universal but also specific to each place, and here the photographer reveals the local hybrid vehicular version of it. When photographing in a foreign place it can be tempting to concentrate on “what’s different” rather than “what’s the same”, but the most layered and revealing photographs are often the result of balancing those two opposing points of view. The photographer here delivers surprise and familiarity in equal measure in this beautifully executed picture of modernity on the shores of the Persian Gulf.” – Greg Girard


“Instinctively we understand that the gaze of the statue of Buddha used to look out across an unpeopled landscape. Mongolia’s emptiness, like almost everywhere in the developing world, is being encroached on by increasing urbanization. The photographer frames the scene to include the traces of the inhabited world on the landscape, rather than show the statue in false isolation. The Buddha statue and the unfinished apartment blocks float in the whiteness, the tension in the composition enabled by the snow and pale sunlight. Scruffiness and natural beauty share the frame in this photograph, an acceptance of the world as it is, both a document and a poem.” – Greg Girard


“Surrounded by bodies but very much alone, Oscar captures a quiet, poignant moment amongst a group of tourists captivated by something out of frame. It’s a welcome perspective – focusing on the visitors, rather than the attraction – and all the more so with the contrasts present. Bright fabrics, designer handbags and pearl necklaces jarring with the dirt mound upon which they perch. It’s a fascinating cultural document, and one that has just a touch of the satire of Martin Parr’s ‘Small World’ about it.” – Life Framer


“This is a stunning portrait of Shila, a young girl living with her family in the remote mountains of the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan, at an elevation of almost 5000m. Captured in a formal sitting, with dark, rich tones and soft lighting that channel the style of renaissance oil paintings, Cédric subverts the precedent – giving import and grandeur to a girl with little, with an artistic treatment historically reserved for the rich and powerful. With her big dark eyes and metallic sequins glistening in the darkness, it’s the dirt around her mouth that is so telling – both that Shila doesn’t come from wealth, and that she is playful and messy, like all children should be. Celebrating lives lived in the most isolated of locations, Cédric offers a different view of Afghanistan to the one so regularly portrayed in Western media – one that’s beautiful, innocent and hopeful.” – Life Framer


“In this remarkable environmental portrait we see an ‘ice swimmer’ in Snezhana’s hometown of Perm – his pink flesh and black kit standing out against the unrelenting grey of snow, ice, sky and concrete. By stepping back, Snezhana positions him as just one element of an environment, and with it posits an interesting idea; that her subjects are shaped by the hardness, coldness and emptiness of their surrounding world, as much as they may use this act as a means of escaping it. The feat of swimming in these freezing waters is shown to be at once something extraordinary and very normal – something we’re happy to experience only vicariously through the medium of photography!” – Life Framer


“At first glance, Isik’s image of palm trees in the low evening night is pleasant – well framed and with alluring deep blue and green hues picked out with orange – if not remarkable. But linger a little longer… the central tree splitting the frame is taller, straighter, and in fact not a tree at all but rather a man-made imposter – a cell phone tower disguised to blend in with its surroundings. It makes for an interesting comment on both the ubiquity of communications technology in the modern world, and on the shifting role of the natural world in the digital age.” – Life Framer


“A jolt of color against the natural hues of his surroundings, Roberto presents a “cultural construction” as he calls it, a portrait from a documentary series examining masked rituals in rural areas of Europe that have been passed down for generations. It raises interesting questions, particularly around cultural preservation and the importance of ancestral rites in a world where they may be seen as increasingly irrelevant to the machinations and belief systems of the modern day. The deep spiritual connections may have faded, but the drama remains, acting as a reminder of the importance of celebration and storytelling.” – Life Framer


“Captured with beautiful lighting that carefully accentuates the battered car body work and face of the scene’s central subject, Klaus tells a story not of travel necessarily, but of a longing to escape. The young boys (the third almost obscured entirely in the darkness), his statement tells us, are from the Roma community in western Hungary. Caught in that liminal time between youthhood and adulthood, they observe Klaus wearily – perhaps with the means to travel, but nowhere yet to go. Klaus describes the idea of a metaphorical travel – between the domains of the Roma and the majority – and it’s captured here beautifully, at a time where his subjects begin to explore your boundaries, and place in the world.” – Life Framer


“In many ways the quintessential travel image, Yoshua captures a Sadhu – a holy person in Hinduism who has renounced the worldly life – on a boat trip in the Ganges near Varanasi in India. Using low framing and the planks of wood to draw our eye through the composition to the central subject, Yoshua captures him flanked by birds and staring outwardly in the hanging mist. It feels like a privileged, intimate moment, almost ethereal in its sense of calm.” – Life Framer


“Playing with the repeating motif of the ‘skyline’ hiding construction work behind, Milad presents what feels like an endless conveyor belt of business people, heads down, dressed in black, marching through this airport environment – the aspirational scene they walk past at odds with the soulless, clinical setting they pass through. Milad’s image responds to the theme in a literal sense, but also explores grander ideas – of the interminable forces that make the global, modern economic wheels of our world keep turning.” – Life Framer


“In Tom’s unashamedly brash photomontage we see the world’s modern landmarks compressed together – the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Millennium Dome and the Burj Al Arab – alongside less recognizable architecture in a kaleidoscopic explosion of energy and color. It’s vibrant, and in-your-face, with layer upon layer of detail to examine, bursting from a central line of symmetry. In his accompanying statement he describes his inspiration as the ‘shocking rapidity of urban development’, of hyper-globalization and the mega-cities that result. His futuristic vision is not a dystopia however – nature thrives alongside our man-made creations – and nor is it a utopia – the density of construction creating an overwhelming unease. Instead it’s something more subtle – an exaggerated projection of a world where technology offers both liberation and menace. That perhaps makes it feel more real, despite the cartoonish aesthetic. It’s a wonderful creation.” – Life Framer


“Whether intentional or otherwise, this powerful image captures so much of the zeitgeist – of concerns around health, the environment, and a young woman’s place in the world. Facing outward but peering back, her eyes pierce the viewer, those apprehensions palpable. It’s a beautifully constructed image, the impression of which lingers long after you look away.” – Life Framer


“Shot on large format film in the Deux-Sevres region of rural France, this image feels melancholic and mysterious – the glowing neon ‘Joyeuses fêtes’ (happy holidays) sign at odds with the home that would otherwise appear abandoned, and the cold, empty landscape it inhabits. It feels unsettling in this sense – the signage a sad relic of a sentiment long passed. Dean finds an austere beauty in this sparseness, and in doing so comment on the anonymity of lives lived behind closed doors.” – Life Framer


“Taken in the ranchlands of Central North Mexico, this is a fascinating, dynamic portrait – the playful acrobatics at odds with the rugged lifestyle one might expect this cowboy to lead in such a harsh environment. With current politics driving the United States and Mexico apart, it’s nice to see shared cultural touchpoints.” – Life Framer


“In his series Face to Faith, Samuel follows pilgrims paying their respects at Mount Kailash – a ‘jewel of snow’ that lies in the middle of the rocky desert of the Tibetan Changtang plateau and is worshipped by four separate faiths. In this excellent portrait he captures two such pilgrims on the 53km walking route, appearing proud and resolute near-matching outfits and lightweight luggage that, at least to someone not used to these conditions, appear inadequate for the harsh environment they face. It’s a testament to the power of faith and the continued relevance of the pilgrimage as an exploration both of a landscape and oneself.” – Life Framer


” A self-portrait taken on Denis’ epic trip through Central Asia, there is something intimate and powerful about this image – a fragile body wrapped in sheets contrasting with the vast, unforgiving landscape behind. Bathed in the glow of low light it captures a sense of genuine adventure.” – Life Framer


“There’s a crucial distinction to be made, especially when it comes to travel photography, between a great image of something, and an image of something great. While it’s important to photograph great monuments, architecture and vistas – they become accessible to a far greater number of people than will ever see them in the flesh – that act of capturing alone is not enough to make an image sing. Romain avoids that pitfall, capturing a wonderful icon – Mario Irarrázabal’s Mano del Desierto (Hand of the Desert) in Antofagasta, Chile – but imbuing enough of his own technique to create something special. The raised vantage point, and the perfect placement of two tourists in the vast emptiness – smartphones aloft, the blue and yellow of their tshirts complimenting the bright, flat coloration of the scene – combine to create something compelling; celebrating Irarrázabal’s work while musing on the vastness of the world.” – Life Framer


“Captured with the gorgeous softness of golden hour lighting, Sanghun’s self-portrait shows someone longing for a freedom, for an escape. His expression is one of calm, but his state of half-undress and the deliberate imperfections of the scene – the visible remote shutter release cable and pile of folded clothes – suggest something more complex. It describes travel not only as an act of discovering remarkable sites and vistas, but as an exploration of internal feelings and desires.” – Life Framer


“Captured on Scheveningen Pier in Den Haag, Giedo presents a brazen view of tourism – the low angle of his lens exaggerating the presence of this couple as they march confidently along the pier in matching aviators, framing the word “us” between them. Giedo turns the candid into something cinematic. It’s very cleverly done.” – Life Framer


“Taken from a series in which he explores his grandmother’s home of Independencia – a German-speaking settlement in Paraguay – Max documents a room stuffed with cultural memorabilia. We see posters of the Titanic and zeppelins, American army uniforms, African masks and newspaper cuttings, all describing aspects of global travel, with both positive and negative connotations. We witness the global permeation of Western culture through Marilyn Monroe and the Rat Pack, spoils from colonialism, and adverts for sports cars sold on a dream of freedom and adventure. It’s a cornucopia of information and intrigue, describing world events and themes that weave into and out of personal experiences of adventure and relocation, and of how cultures travel and evolve, just like that of his grandmother.” – Life Framer

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

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