By Cristian Alvarado, Chile, 1st Place, National Award Some people wake up in the morning in order to get themselves dressed and head out the door in order to bring music to the people around them. They taking themselves just as seriously as any businessman but probably get a lot more joy out of doing what they do than many others do, as well. We all know it used to be common in all cities but these artists are becoming a rarer breed all the time. In this photo, the joy of the playing is apparent in the burst of colors the player carries with him, but the weight of being one of only a few continuing a very old tradition is even more obvious.
When I was a teenager my dad let me use an old Minolta of his to try for a while, to see if I was into photography. A few months passed and I had maybe 3 rolls that I had developed, maybe 10 “good” pictures in the group (as in, less than half of their surfaces were blurry) and years later all I have a number of cameras (thank you once again, aforementioned
thrift store job) but never use them and don’t even have an iPhone on which to take pictures as I go through my life (though I’m going to try to remedy that soon), so it’s not like I know a TON about photography. Take this: I didn’t even know there was a World Photography Organization – though I wasn’t surprised to learn this, I did have a moment of did-I-really-never-hear-of-this-before – when I learned that this very group (along with Sony) gives out awards every year. Looking through this years winners one finds an impressive array of subjects captured in clear, precise photos for the most part. Some of them look mirror fine art, while others are the happy result long periods of patient waiting, and even one superbly captures the grand scale of a local artwork and shares it with the rest of the world. Here are a few that struck me for one reason or another, which you can find in the captions.
[For your viewing pleasure I have provided the largest photos I could find. Please click on any of the photos to see them in larger scans. Thanks and enjoy.]
By Lise Sundberg, Nordics, 3rd Place, National Award This perfectly timed shot required hours of waiting, according to Sundberg. I would say it is well worth it. I’m always amazed at the power of lightning when it lights up the entire sky for a brief moment. “Ha”, I imagine this photo saying to single-lightning bolt photos hanging in doctor’s offices everywhere.
By Holger Schmidtke, Germany, 1st Place, National Award Mr. Schmidtke’s photo of the art installation “Tiger and Turtle” captures the elegant curves of the piece against an incredible sky. Nothing fancy here, but perfect nonetheless.
By Holger Schmidtke, Germany, Winner, Open Architechture The second shot on this list by Mr. Schmidtke has him evoking a few of sight-based symbols out of this underside-of-a-staircase, a classic place to be if you don’t want to be seen. Further, that white central point begs us wonder what exactly is up at the top of these stairs while whatever is up there stares back at us, completing a pun and teaching us a simple little lesson in minimalism: look for what is there, don’t complain about what is not.
David Carchi, 3rd Place, Ecuador, National Award. A person-sized fireball, two skeletons and very much reminding me of childhood ideas of Hell. Pretty heavy stuff. But that’s not all I see: I see two men using the time they have on this earth to laugh in the face of hell and death and command one of the elements, even if for only moments at a time.
Suthas Rungsirisilp, Thailand, 1st place, National Award A bunch of babies, nude as the day they were born, play in a fountain alongside Indian elephants. Innocence as beauty, on a number of levels.
Chen Li, China, Winner, Open Chin Li’s photograph of rain as it stops a group of travelers in their paths is an invitation to embrace patience. The rain brings a grayness that the people’s clothes and umbrellas try to fight, the water rises threateningly as their visible houses are still too far away to offer comfort from nature. Perhaps soon they will be home. Perhaps soon the rain will stop. Perhaps soon.
E. Yager, Switzerland, 3rd Place, National Award E. Yager sees familiar textures of a conifer’s bough appear in a young woman’s hair. Trees surround her but she is not afraid. She has come to the woods to be one with them, not only to take in their beauty in “for something to do”, and the colors throughout tell us that she is right where she needs to be.
Theo de Witte, Netherlands, 1st Place, National Award Life imitates art, then turned into art by another disciple. A small Dutch town is going about its day being about as much like a Brueghel painting as it can and along comes Theo de Witt to catch it in the act. Another lesson in knowing where and how to look.
Phillip Moes, Belgium, 2nd Place, National Award I get really jazzed on space and stars and the cosmos. I love this Photo by Phillip Moes where some unknowably huge star cluster radiates colors into the black sky and seems to be retreating to or issuing from a lone tree. A snapshot of the concept of containing multitudes.
Young Guen Kim, 3rd Place, Korea, National Award A study in contradictory textures as well as getting an amazing amount of depth out of an obviously limited field, Kim’s enigmatic photo says much about deterioration, loss, and resilience.
Edmond Corpuz, Philippines, 2nd Place, National Award Vibrant colors and a stark contrast between stillness and motion, Mr. Corpuz’s winner does an excellent job of capturing the fast-moving lifestyle of modern humanity missing out no the beauty that nature offers. Sure, the car lights whizzing by look neat but I am drawn to the line of lights and that sky and the trees that stand sentinel between the worlds of nature and technology.
Adhi Prayoga, Indonesia, 2nd Place, National Award Young men the world over challenge each other to arm-wrestling matches to see who is stronger. We can see the boy on the right holding onto the table (which we would have considered this cheating in my day in America), we assume the boy on the left is too, but we don’t really care because we see the megawatt smile on his face. Many of us in the Instagram age have lost the ability to even show a smile like that when a camera is around and here we have two of them. Remarkable sincerity.
Mateusz Baj, Poland, First place, National Award I hope I do not have to explain this one.