Twelve international photographers have been announced as the winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards. The legendary photography agency, Magnum Photos, and LensCulture have joined forces for the second time to produce this opportunity to recognize, reward and support photographic talent. Each photographer will be awarded a cash prize. The winners of the Series Awards will each receive $3,000 and the winners of the Single Image Awards will each receive $1,500.
All selected work—including Winners, Finalists, and Jurors' Picks—will be included in an online exhibition hosted by Magnum Photos and LensCulture which will go live on 18 July 2017. There will also be a digital exhibition in London at the Photographers' Gallery later in the year.
系列作品獎得主 SERIES WINNERS
•街拍：「丟臉」—— Argus Paul Estabrook，南韓
• Street: Argus Paul Estabrook, South Korea — “Losing Face”
In South Korean society, losing face is the worst thing that can happen to a person. The damage of having one's identity lost to shame is so ruinous that it can completely destroy a person's social standing and authority.
And that is exactly what happened to the 11th President of South Korea, Park Geun-hye.
In late October 2016, Park's relationship with a shadowy advisor from a shaman-esque cult was revealed to extend to acts of extortion and influence peddling. South Koreans were shocked by the revelations. Demanding a government free from corruption and unknown influences, protesters began staging mass demonstrations every consecutive weekend in Seoul.
Flooding the streets while they marched towards the presidential grounds, protesters filled the night air chanting in unison, “Come down and go to jail!” Effigies and satirical street art continuously sprang up around the capital, especially so in Gwanghwamun Square. Measuring public opinion approximately one month after the protests began, Gallup Korea revealed her approval rating sank to a mere 4%, the lowest for any sitting president in South Korean history.
On December 9, 2016, the National Assembly voted to impeach her in an overwhelming 234-56 vote.
On March 10, 2017, she was formally removed from office after the Constitutional Court announced its unanimous ruling to uphold the impeachment.
This is what it looks like when the South Korean President loses face.
“Beautiful Boy” is an ongoing series of photographs of my romantic partner. It began as a confession between friends. On the subway one evening, my friend shared that he had worn women's clothing almost exclusively in college, but after graduation struggled to navigate a world that seemed both newly accepting and yet inherently reviling of male displays of femininity. I thought that photography could provide a space to experiment outside of isolation.
Taking the first pictures was an emotional experience, and I connected to his vulnerability. Over time he became my muse and eventually my romantic partner. Soon we began taking photos like addicts, setting up several shoots every weekend.
When taking the photos, I feel the same as when viewing a film where a director and actress share a deep connection to the fantasy captured. It is thrilling to see my partner transform into countless goddess-like forms. The project is a canvas to project our desires. At times the images even become self-portraits. The camera transposes our private experiences into public expression.
Often, I construct sets in my studio. Other times, I seek out locations that feel as if they are sets. I spend a lot of time conceptualizing the costumes, which I piece together from thrift shops, eBay, and discount fabric outlets. I think it is important that the images not be seamless, but more like an assemblage where you can see the glue, revealing contemporary identity as a collage of the visual language of the past. Although I art-direct the images and come to each shoot with a strong aesthetic intention, my partner inhabits each costume and set in a thoughtful way, embodying the scenario with a sense of openness.
It is important to show his femininity as strength. I want to feel empowered as well, and to have an intimate muse. Together we investigate feminine fantasies presented throughout the history of photography and cinema. The project is a way to “step inside” images that we have found alluring and examine what it is like to live each scenario out. We explore both our captivation and our ambivalence towards these depictions of femininity. By presenting my partner within the lineage of great beauties and populating the media with our images, we are reclaiming in our voice what is attractive and beautiful.
For the past two years (2015-16), I was embedded with the first search and rescue NGO, Migrant Offshore Aid Station, to operate rescue ships. Their specific aim is to save the lives of migrants and refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean and Aegean seas.
Prior to working with MOAS, I was based in The Gambia, West Africa, from 2013-15. During that time, rarely a day went by without hearing about someone who had left or who had died at sea trying to take “the back way”—as the illegal route to Europe is colloquially called.
I was assigned to document MOAS's lifesaving missions off the coast of Libya and in the Aegean. Initially, it was just an assignment, but quite soon we were rescuing not only Syrians, Somalis, and Nigerians fleeing conflict, but many Gambians escaping a dictatorship and grinding poverty. My work quickly began to take on an added role when, in the first group of Gambians we rescued, I met 18-year-old Sana Colley, the son of a friend of mine back in The Gambia. These close connections with rescued Gambians continued to happen.
Whenever possible, I would call their relatives back in The Gambia from onboard the rescue ship to let them know their loved ones were now safe. My initial embed was for three weeks, but I was soon emotionally invested in the story, and I stayed on to make multiple sea missions over the next two years. I am now focusing my work on the effects of mass migration in source countries including The Gambia and other host countries.
“Chroma: An Ode to J.D. ' Okhai Ojeikere” is an ongoing series which celebrates women's hair styles in Lagos, Nigeria through a fanciful, contemporary lens. The images are inspired by hair color trends and by the late Nigerian photographer J.D. ' Okhai Ojeikere, who photographed over a thousand different hair styles in his lifetime.
Ojeikere's approach was documentary in nature, as he took inventory of hundreds of hairstyles and amassed an enormous index spanning over 40 years. He began photographing hairstyles in black-and-white, following the re-emergence of traditional hairstyles which became popular again following Nigeria's independence. Prior to de-colonization, wigs and hair straightening had become a commonplace practice, especially in urban areas of the country.
African hair-braiding methods date back thousands of years, and Nigerian hair culture is a rich and often extensive process which begins in childhood. The methods and variations have been influenced by social and cultural patterns, historical events and globalization. Hairdos range from being purely decorative to conveying deeper, more symbolic meanings, revealing social status and age as well as tribal and family traditions.
The availability of colorful hair extensions and wools in local markets today has led to unique variations on threading and braiding techniques. “Chroma” is a celebration of traditional and contemporary braiding methods. The series takes more of a conceptual approach to Ojeikere's documentary style and recontextualizes some of Ojeikere's (and other) hairstyles to highlight current and imagined hair designs, celebrating the art of Nigerian hair culture.
“Botanical Inquiry” is a series of photographic dioramas that shuffle nature, geography, and physics into familiar but fictional environments.
In these compositions, the physical characteristics of the unremarkable plants I have collected become storytelling elements which, when staged against the backdrop of common urban environments, explore the quietly menacing effect that humans have on the natural world. From a subjective and ambiguous point of view, we witness the plants' ability to adapt and survive.
By manipulating the optical and staging properties of photography with an analogue “machine” that I have constructed, I have produced these studio-based images “in camera” rather than using Photoshop compositing. They rely exclusively on the singular perspective of the camera to render their mechanics invisible.
“Bread and Circuses” is a documentary on leisure and consumerism in Dubai.
Success story or megalomania? The rapid transformation of Dubai from a dusty fishing town in the 1960s to the ultramodern metropolis of today fascinates both its supporters and critics. With artificial islands and iconic skyscrapers, the little emirate on the Persian Gulf is a world player when it comes to tourism and business.
At the very least, Dubai is a true paradise for real estate developers and bold architects. City development in Dubai is market-driven. The sheikh, acting as the CEO of the “Dubai brand,” spares no cost nor effort to promote his city worldwide as a place of complete economical freedom, unlimited possibilities and big fun.
The “Las Vegas in the Gulf” offers a wide range of activities for its visitors and residents: theme parks, malls, night and beach clubs, indoor skiing, safaris…
Dubai's entertainment industry—and the luxurious, consumerism-based lifestyle—have a huge impact on the urbanization of the Emirate.
The urban scene continually astonishes me with its moods and its seasons. It is governed by a daily life that remains random and hypothetical. The street can be learned and tamed, but it’s never completely controlled. For “Choral,” I consider my camera as a tool of visual recycling. I believe in resurrection, recovery and renaissance, just like in the case of a sculptor making several works from scraps or a designer working to give a new life and use to simple waste.
This project is not related to one specific city—it's connected to the streets of any city. Maybe it is a part of every city; perhaps it is a fiction. All its narrative strength comes from its paradox. It inspires both attraction and release as well as repulsion and alienation.
I am not a photojournalist looking to photograph an accident or a paparazzo looking for celebrities; instead, my challenge is to photograph the banal in a way that celebrates the accidental and transforms passers-by into special individuals. With this project, I appropriate the city—I observe and take an interest in its spaces. It is an anchor point and an active participation in the imaginary. The mind moves from one place to another, from one story to another, within the same framework.
This story is, in the best of its formulas and its scenarios, a microcosm society, a summary within a fragment of the street. The positions of the humans are important; they become a metaphor for a space caught between nostalgia, the reality of the present, and the suspense of the future.
I don't take too many photos throughout the year, so every single one must be deeply considered; I refine all the small details in my idea even before I pick up the camera. I try to get to know the person before I step in front of them, and I'm always prepared with an idea when I get to set (rather than working out my process as I go).
I always wonder how my images will be received by the public. I am curious whether my images will make someone stop for a while: whether they will be intriguing, whether they make somebody cry or whether they’ll be understood at all. I use black and white instead of color because I find the simple colors firm and legible.
The image entitled “Kasia” was created for a foundation that aids children who have been diagnosed with aggressive cancer. Kasia lost her leg from cancer. This image was part of a campaign in favor of a $50,000 donation that would go towards a new prosthetic limb.
Photographed at the refugee camp in Idomeni, on the Greek-Macedonian border, where thousands of refugees, mainly Syrians, passed through. The camp was occupied by people from different social strata. They were all fleeing war, death and starvation. They all hoped to continue their journey through Macedonia to the north and west of Europe.
But not everyone succeeded with the verification of their documents, which lead to the separation of families. Furthermore, the refugees were living in difficult conditions and sleeping in overcrowded and soaked tents. They were frozen and had limited access to sanitation. The refugees were exhausted, tired and uncertain about their situation.
Species are disappearing at an alarming rate—biologists suspect we are living through the sixth major mass extinction. This time we have no one but ourselves to blame.
I have been documenting illegally traded wildlife at borders and airports across the globe since 2016. In recent years, the illegal wildlife trade has exploded to meet an increasing demand for animal products. Controlled by dangerous crime syndicates, wildlife is trafficked much like drugs or weapons. Today, it is one of the most profitable illicit trades in the world.
“Stars” explores my desire to find some balance between a relationship with the wild places of my youth and my pervasive sense of disconnectedness from the natural world.
The Western landscape tradition embodies a pairing that James Elkins calls “the subject-object relationship.” Typified by the “scenic viewpoint,” we gaze, often through binoculars or telescopes, at wide vistas and dramatic seascapes and are awed and overwhelmed. But this landscape experience often alienates the viewer from the scene and—just as the landscape itself becomes an object—a separation arises between them.
Today, the majority of people live in urban or semi-urban environments, experiencing the landscape from a distanced position mediated through technology and various media. From this viewpoint, the notion of the landscape in all its sensuous materiality, our being within it rather than outside it, seems beyond reach.
“Stars” addresses this distancing by drawing the viewer right into the heart of the forest, which still holds mystery and offers the potential for discovery and exploration. The series considers the fragility of our relationship with the natural world and the temporal and finite nature of landscape as a human construct.
These mature and ancient forest landscapes are interposed with images of space captured by the Hubble Telescope.
This picture is based on a very popular game in India called “dangal,” or “wrestling” in English. Wrestling represents one of the oldest forms of combat. The origin of wrestling goes back 15,000 years and can be seen in cave drawings in France. The sport was introduced into the ancient Olympics in 708 BC, and at the modern Olympic games held in Athens in 1896, Greco-Roman wrestling was introduced as an Olympic discipline.
Wrestling has been very popular in India since ancient times. In those days, people used to play it on the ground while wearing loincloths. In some parts of India, like Varanasi, this traditional way of wrestling is still the most common.
I took this picture in Kolkata, India. In Kolkata, there are a few “akhadas” (training centers for wrestling) near the Howrah bridge. Every morning, lots of “desipehelwans” (wrestlers) can be seen doing their morning exercises on the banks of the Ganges. The wrestlers begin every session by smoothing the dirt pit in which they practice and rubbing their bodies with soil and neem leaves. They then offer a prayer to their patron deity.
Every year, local wrestling clubs in Kolkata arrange for their inter-club competition. As no modern wrestling grounds are available for them, they temporarily construct a stage after blocking regular transportation. They then hold the game there for the entire day.
I took this image from the terrace of a roadside building. I wanted to show not only the game but also the nearby situation; many local people are involved in the wrestling matches.
Magnum Photos is an artist's cooperative of great diversity and distinction owned by its photographer members. Magnum represents some of the world's most renowned photographers and has maintained its founding ideals—and its idiosyncratic mix of journalism and artistic work—for 70 years. Magnum has been providing the highest quality photographic content to an international client base of media, charities, publishers, brands and cultural institutions since its inception.
The Magnum Photos library is a living archive updated regularly with new work from across the globe.
LensCulture's mission is to discover the best of contemporary photography and share it with the largest audience possible. They believe that talented photographers deserve global exposure that can lead to career-building opportunities. LensCulture is committed to helping photographers of all levels advance their careers.