IdeasTap in partnership with photographic agency Magnum Photos offers to emerging photographers an amazing opportunity every year through a Photographic Award. Last Friday 31st of October an exhibition at Mother London displayed the work of the 18 emerging photographers shortlisted during the first phase of the competition which is held in 3 stages.
This competition, which is usually launched in spring, receives a lot of attention with up to 600 applications. 18 applicants are shortlisted, divided in three different categories according to their age (16-22, 23-30, 31+) and attend a session with a magnum photographer (a different one per category).
The photographic projects they have produced over the last few months are the ones presented last week at Mother London. The photographers are: Souvid Datta, Chrystal Ding, Joe Dixey, Holly Lucas, Clémentine Schneidermann, David Shaw, Rhiannon Adam, Fern Leigh Albert, Owen Harvey, Kotryna Ula Kiliulyte, Robert Ormerod, Lee Price, Lihee Avidan, Aletheia Casey, Petra Creffield, Denise M Myers, Abbie Trayler-Smith, Ambra Vernuccio.
Of these 18 candidates, 9 have been further shortlisted and awarded £ 1,500 for another project to be presented in spring 2014. Finally 3 winners (one for each category) will be announced in April and will get a prize of £ 5,000 along with the opportunity to attend a paid internship at Magnum offices in London and New York. In other words this system organised in different steps is aimed at accompanying the candidates in their career path even after the end of the competition.
The exhibition simply showcased the photographic projects with four pictures for each participant. A basic catalogue with a brief description of the projects and images was also provided. Actually most of these works take more than a look at the pictures to be understood. Some of them narrate stories going beyond the aim of reportage; in such cases the pictures are aided by text which is an essential part of the work. It is the case, for instance of the project of Lihee Avidan “Rooms” and Denise Myers’ “all England waits”.
Different from this group of pictures are the works of Ambra Vernuccio with “Motionless like water – Oku-Noto & The Art of Looking Back”, Souvid Datta with “In the shadows of Kolkata” and Owen Harvey with “Mod UK” all composed of black and white pictures. Closer to reportage yet with a timeless character these photographs open a window on different worlds and cultures exploring the hidden beauty of people and places with outstanding aesthetic results.
Other works are more oriented towards social issues and bring light on specific phenomena combining journalist attitude with unconventional ways of narration such as “Rooms” mentioned above, a project about prostitution in Israel, “The big O” by Abbie Trayler-Smith about children obesity in the UK, “Playing Soldier” by Holly Lucas that describes the world of “Airsoft” war gaming and “Sex with Strangers” by Lee Price a journey into the underground world of gay culture.
Other projects seem to be closer to more traditional documentary experiences such as “A month in Mongolia” by Christal Ding whereas others are based on introspective inspiration and symbolic meaning. It seems the case for Robert Omerod “Doomen” which documents the pastime practice of “Doo flying” in Scotland and Petra Creffield’s “Going home 1997” which documents a quasi-psychoanalytical journey from present to past and back where photomontages overlap past memories with present images of the photographer’s former home.
What emerges from the competition at this stage and the exhibition of the candidates’ works is more than just educational training. They outline current interests and trends of documentary photography where photojournalism intersects art practice and creative writing for both concept and aesthetic qualities.
What exciting learning opportunities are offered to emerging photographers by this Award? What interesting addition would you like to see the artist get involved in this competition?