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David Oliete Casanova
David Oliete Casanova
David Oliete Casanova

David Oliete Casanova

Country: Spain

Documentary photographer and filmmaker born in Tarragona (Catalonia, Spain) who lived in Cardiff and Barcelona. His latest works have been published on international media such as National Geographic Magazine, Red Bull TV, Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Sunday Times, Traveler Magazine of China, The Guardian, GEO Magazine and Daily Mail, among others. His projects have been also awarded at the International Photography Awards, the Travel Photographer of the Year and the Seoul International Short Film Festival, in Korea, among others. David is currently based in Catalonia working on personal and commissioned projects and is available for assignments worldwide.

Statement:

"It is a pleasure for me that a picture that represents such an important cultural tradition in my country, as the Human Towers in Catalonia are, could be awarded in this contest. I hope it could help people around the world to know this stunning and beautiful spectacle".
 

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John Kenny
United Kingdom
In 2006 I developed my style of portrait photography within traditional communities, heavily influenced by the dramatic pictures of chiaroscuro artists. Chiaroscuro is an Italian term which literally means light-dark. Back then, at the very start of my Africa journey, I was buzzing with energy having met people of real magnetism just days into my trip. I was excited by extraordinary people and fascinating cultures and wondered how I could possibly communicate and express these feelings of excitement to friends and family back home.The solution, I imagined, would involve abstracting the remarkable from the not so remarkable: put simply, I felt that the vibrant and intense individuals that I had met in traditional communities would best show their magnetism on camera when they were removed from the (often) dull and dusty backgrounds of their immediate environment. After a few days I started to imagine each of these people in front of me emerging from the nothingness of darkness, with no distractions, hoping that this would provide a real feeling of proximity between the viewer and the person in the picture. I made a conscious decision at that time to leave a more documentary style of environmental portraiture to others. Practicing this new technique in remote African villages in 2006 I had nothing but sunshine and a hut available as a great ‘open studio': so I used these parameters and started experimenting (I've never really liked flash anyway). So it's simply the illumination of natural sunlight, and sun on dry earth, that reaches into the darkness of huts and lights up these remarkable people. Sun and dry earth are the only ingredients required for the lighting in my prints. And of course, you also need to find exceptional people!Falling in love with photography, and the origins of this series:I first fell in love with photography around 2003. I had not been fortunate enough to receive an art or photography education, but I knew back then, when I picked up my first SLR camera, that I had found the perfect way to express myself. Every time I had the camera in my hand I was looking to improve, needing to know what everything and anything looked like once it had been through the photographic process. It was a bit like a mad pursuit of alchemy - throwing everything into the mix to see if any magic came out of the other side. The process of photographic learning is very rarely a simple one, but to me it remains beautiful: discoveries, experimentation and seeing for the first time how a camera distorts and enhances the world.In Africa I seem to have made it my goal to travel through some of the remotest areas of the continent where the reaches of urbanisation and 21st century living are barely detectable. Looking back, this wasn’t my intention when I first arrived there in 2006, but somehow I keep returning to Africa to photograph because I'm fascinated to encounter societies that are able to survive in some of the most arid, isolated and difficult environments that people have settled in. If you haven’t visited these places then the reality of living is not nearly as romantic or idealised as one might imagine. Life takes place against a backdrop of very uncertain resources and enormous hardships, but traditions and hospitality towards outsiders remain intact.I specifically chose to photograph the individuals that you see in these galleries because I had a very real sense of wonder when I met them. Each one of these people had something that attracted me, sometimes a piercing intensity, or an uncommon beauty, that I felt compelled to try and capture. It’s true that I photograph for myself, first and foremost, but a close second is my desire to show others this magnetism that draws one into the eyes of these fascinating people.I have usually travelled alone or with a guide on these journeys, along the way walking and hopping onto overloaded vehicles of every kind to head to remote settlements. Often the destination is a transient, weekly market where hundreds of vibrant, colourful people assemble somewhat incongruously against a dull, dusty backdrop for a few hours. Later in the day they will all melt away with their animals and traded possessions, until the location is again a patch of bone-dry ground with almost nothing to separate it from the rest of the featureless land that typifies much of the African Sahel. It is fascinating to observe this process play out in almost exactly the same way across countless African countries, many of which are separated by hundreds or thousands of miles across this huge continent’s surface.My favourite tools are sharp prime lenses and cameras that let you capture the tiniest pieces of detail: whilst these details may be insignificant alone, when aggregated I feel they help paint the picture of the environment and how each person adapts to theirs.My favourite series of work remains the Northern Kenya series which involved 6 weeks of intense travelling with my guide, Mo, across remote areas without a vehicle and often without any semblance of an idea how to get to the next tiny settlement. The trip was full of unique encounters in locations that seemed to be famous, to me at least, as places where no transport seemed to be heading. On one particular occasion we came across a lone Moran (warrior) emerge into the dawn light, miles from anywhere. He seemed like a mirage: a vibrant vision in pink cloth and bright colourful jewellery, and more acutely so when set against the hazy yellow monotone of land that he emerged from. Even for Northern Kenya, I thought he seemed to be in a remote, featureless location: devoid of any water, and within an hour it would again be blistering hot. Despite these uncomfortable realities - which clearly weighed more heavily on my mind than his - the warrior seemed confident of his bearings and stopped for a moment to exchange pleasantries with Mo and I. A couple of minutes later, after sharing cigarette with my guide, he purposefully set off walking again, to God knows where. This place that looked barren and foreboding, to me at least, was clearly his home.
Thomas Michael Alleman
Thomas Michael Alleman was born and raised in Detroit, where his father was a traveling salesman and his mother was a ceramic artist. He graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in English Literature. During a fifteen-year newspaper career, Tom was a frequent winner of distinctions from the National Press Photographer’s Association, as well as being named California Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 1995 and Los Angeles Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 1996. As a magazine freelancer, Tom’s pictures have been published regularly in Time, People, Business Week, Barrons, Smithsonian and National Geographic Traveler, and have also appeared in US News & World Report, Brandweek, Sunset, Harper’s and Travel Holiday. Tom has shot covers for Chief Executive, People, Priority, Biz Tech, Acoustic Guitar, Private Clubs, Time, Investment Advisor, Diverse and Library Journal. Tom teaches “The Photographer’s Eye” at the Julia Dean Photo Workshops, and “Vision and Style” at the New York Film Academy, both in Hollywood. Tom exhibited “Social Studies”, a series of street photographs, widely in Southern California. He’s currently finishing “Sunshine & Noir”, a book-length collection of black-and-white “urban landscapes” made in the neighborhoods of Los Angeles. “Sunshine & Noir” had it’s solo debut at the Afterimage Gallery in Dallas in April, 2006. Subsequent solo exhibitions include: the Robin Rice Gallery in New York in November 2008, the Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, OR, in October 2009, the Xianshwan Photo Festival in Inner Mongolia, China, in 2010 and California State, Chico, in 2011. In the summer of 2012, a dozen pictures from “Sunshine & Noir” were featured in the “Photo Menage” exhibiton at the St. Petersburg Mueum of Art, in Russia, and ten prints will be shown during the RAYKO Gallery’s annual Plastic Camera Show in San Francisco in March, 2013, where Tom will be the Featured Artist. Also in early 2013, Tom will mount his first LA solo show, at the Duncan Miller Gallery, and his second solo show at the Robin Rice Gallery in New York City,
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Russia
1863 | † 1944
Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky (Russian, August 30, 1863 Russian Empire – September 27, 1944) was a Russian chemist and photographer. He is best known for his pioneering work in color photography of early 20th-century Russia.Prokudin-Gorsky was born in the ancestral estate of Funikova Gora, in what is now Kirzhachsky District, Vladimir Oblast. His parents were of the Russian nobility, and the family had a long military history. They moved to Saint Petersburg, where Prokudin-Gorsky enrolled in Saint Petersburg State Institute of Technology to study chemistry under Dmitri Mendeleev. He also studied music and painting at the Imperial Academy of Arts. In 1890, Prokudin-Gorsky married Anna Aleksandrovna Lavrova, and later the couple had two sons, Mikhail and Dmitri, and a daughter, Ekaterina. Anna was the daughter of the Russian industrialist Aleksandr Stepanovich Lavrov, an active member in the Imperial Russian Technical Society (IRTS). Prokudin-Gorsky subsequently became the director of the executive board of Lavrov's metal works near Saint Petersburg and remained so until the October Revolution. He also joined Russia's oldest photographic society, the photography section of the IRTS, presenting papers and lecturing on the science of photography. In 1901, he established a photography studio and laboratory in Saint Petersburg. In 1902, he traveled to Berlin and spent six weeks studying color sensitization and three-color photography with photochemistry professor Adolf Miethe, the most advanced practitioner in Germany at that time. Throughout the years, Prokudin-Gorsky's photographic work, publications and slide shows to other scientists and photographers in Russia, Germany and France earned him praise, and in 1906 he was elected the president of the IRTS photography section and editor of Russia's main photography journal, the Fotograf-Liubitel. Lithograph print of Leo Tolstoy in front of Prokudin-Gorsky's camera in Yasnaya Polyana, 1908. Perhaps Prokudin-Gorsky's best-known work during his lifetime was his color portrait of Leo Tolstoy,[6] which was reproduced in various publications, on postcards, and as larger prints for framing. The fame from this photo and his earlier photos of Russia's nature and monuments earned him invitations to show his work to the Russian Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich and Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in 1908, and to Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1909. The Tsar enjoyed the demonstration, and, with his blessing, Prokudin-Gorsky got the permission and funding to document Russia in color.[8] In the course of ten years, he was to make a collection of 10,000 photos. Prokudin-Gorsky considered the project his life's work and continued his photographic journeys through Russia until after the October Revolution. He was appointed to a new professorship under the new regime, but he left the country in August 1918. He still pursued scientific work in color photography, published papers in English photography journals and, together with his colleague S. O. Maksimovich, obtained patents in Germany, England, France and Italy.In 1920, Prokudin-Gorsky remarried and had a daughter with his assistant Maria Fedorovna née Schedrimo. The family finally settled in Paris in 1922, reuniting with his first wife and children. Prokudin-Gorsky set up a photo studio there together with his three adult children, naming it after his fourth child, Elka. In the 1930s, the elderly Prokudin-Gorsky continued with lectures showing his photographs of Russia to young Russians in France, but stopped commercial work and left the studio to his children, who named it Gorsky Frères. He died at Paris on September 27, 1944, and is buried in the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery.Documentary of the Russian EmpireAround 1905, Prokudin-Gorsky envisioned and formulated a plan to use the emerging technological advances that had been made in color photography to document the Russian Empire systematically. Through such an ambitious project, his ultimate goal was to educate the schoolchildren of Russia with his "optical color projections" of the vast and diverse history, culture, and modernization of the empire. Outfitted with a specially equipped railroad-car darkroom provided by Tsar Nicholas II and in possession of two permits that granted him access to restricted areas and cooperation from the empire's bureaucracy, Prokudin-Gorsky documented the Russian Empire around 1909 through 1915. He conducted many illustrated lectures of his work. His photographs offer a vivid portrait of a lost world—the Russian Empire on the eve of World War I and the coming Russian Revolution. His subjects ranged from the medieval churches and monasteries of old Russia, to the railroads and factories of an emerging industrial power, to the daily life and work of Russia's diverse population. It has been estimated from Prokudin-Gorsky's personal inventory that before leaving Russia, he had about 3500 negatives. Upon leaving the country and exporting all his photographic material, about half of the photos were confiscated by Russian authorities for containing material that seemed to be strategically sensitive for war-time Russia. According to Prokudin-Gorsky's notes, the photos left behind were not of interest to the general public. Some of Prokudin-Gorsky's negatives were given away, and some he hid on his departure. Outside the Library of Congress collection, none has yet been found.By Prokudin-Gorsky's death, the tsar and his family had long since been executed during the Russian Revolution, and Communist rule had been established over what was once the Russian Empire. The surviving boxes of photo albums and fragile glass plates the negatives were recorded on were finally stored in the basement of a Parisian apartment building, and the family was worried about them getting damaged. The United States Library of Congress purchased the material from Prokudin-Gorsky's heirs in 1948 for $3500–$5000 on the initiative of a researcher inquiring into their whereabouts. The library counted 1902 negatives and 710 album prints without corresponding negatives in the collection.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Brad Walls
Australia
1992
Brad Walls is an Australian aerial photography based in Sydney. Best known for his use of close up top downs, Brad specialises in aerial portraiture and a minimalistic approach to aerial photography. Utilising one of the first consumer drones, Brad Walls stumbled across his passion for aerial content through stitching small video clips together taken during his extensive travels. 18 months on, Brad has refined his skillset, with a vision to strive and see the world from a different angle creating the perfect metaphor for his work. Pools From Above Pools From Above is an ode to the beauty found in the shapes, colours and textures of swimming pools. This unique and never-before-seen perspective uses Walls' clean, minimal aesthetic to visually showcase interesting pools from around the world. Inspired by his travels throughout Southeast Asia and within his own home country of Australia, Walls' journey initially began by capturing the bodies of water simply to document holiday memories. It wasn't until picking up the bestselling Annie Kelly coffee table book Splash: The Art of the Swimming Pool, however, that Walls would start investing time and passion into curating a series, stating that "As I turned each page of Kelly's book, a wave of childhood nostalgia washed over me, spending hours in the pool over summer." Paying powerful homage to Kelly, Walls' series chooses to keenly focus on pools' elements of composition from a bird's eye view. "I fell in love with the lines, curves and negative space of the pools, which - without alternate perspective from a drone - would have been lost." Pools From Above is also an integral part of a much larger project which is aimed at a book release in the not-too-distant future, as Walls says "The response from viewers has been positive, asking for the series to be amongst their coffee table books." Looking ahead, once the world finally re-opens, Walls has no plans of slowing down. He plans to capture even more world-renowned swimming pools across an array of idyllic locations, including Palm Springs, Mexico and the Mediterranean. Since bursting onto the photography scene in early 2019, Walls has gone on to produce award-winning photographs and garner worldwide media attention, with a primary focus on capturing aerial portraits of sportspeople like synchronized swimmers, gymnasts and ice skaters from unique perspectives and angles that audiences are normally unable to see.
Evelyn Bencicova
Slovakia
1992
Evelyn Bencicova is a visual creative specialising in photography and art direction. Informed by her background in fine art and new media studies (University for Applied Arts, Vienna), Evelyn's practice combines her interest in contemporary culture with academic research to create a unique aesthetic space in which the conceptual meets the visual. Evelyn's work is never quite what first appears to be. Her photographs depict meticulously-controlled compositions characterised by an aesthetic sterility, tinged with poetic undertones of timeless desire and longing. Evelyn constructs compelling narrative scenarios that blur the lines between reality, memory and imagination — "fictions based on truth". Depicting multifaceted representations as illusions, Evelyn plays with the viewer's perception to entice them into the secret labyrinth of her imagination. Her disturbingly beautiful visual language and washed-out colour palette, set within curiously symbolic environments, allow for a deep exploration of the themes that take her images far beyond what they reveal at first glance. Evelyn's client repertoire includes fashion and luxury brands such as Gucci, Cartier and Nehera, as well as cultural institutions such as Frieze, Berghain, Kunsthalle Basel, Royal Opera House, Slovak National Theatre and Ballet and Museums Quartier Vienna. In 2018, Bencicova was invited to create visuals for the Institute of Molecular Biology in Austria, and to perform at the closing ceremony for Atonal Berlin. Evelyn's commercial and artistic projects have been featured in the likes of Vogue Portugal, Vogue Czechoslovakia, ZEIT Magazine, ELLE, Dazed & Confused, GUP, HANT and Metal Magazine. Her work has been published in prestigious international photography books and on several online platforms (Juxtapoz, iGNANT.com, Fubiz media) and she has participated in solo and group exhibitions across Stockholm, London, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Milan, Amsterdam, Brussels, Prague and Rome to mention few. In 2016, Bencicova received the prestigious Hasselblad Masters and Broncolor GenNext awards. She was shortlisted and awarded by Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, LensCulture, Independent Photographer, Gomma Grant, Life Framer, Photo IS:RAEL, Young Guns 17, Tokyo International Photo Award and Photo Vogue and OFF Festival. Her fashion film "Asymptote" (2016), co-created with Adam Csoka Keller, received the "Best New Fashion Film" award at the Fashion Film Festival Milano 2017, and was featured at SHOWstudio Fashion Film Awards, the Austrian American Short Film Festival and at Diane Pernet's A Shaded View on Fashion. Evelyn was selected as one of 30 under 30 Female photographers by Artpil.
Erik Hijweege
The Netherlands
1963
Erik Hijweege (1963) is fascinated with the overwhelming power of nature. He started chasing big weather and tornadoes in 2006. During his first years of stormchasing Hijweege chose an alter ego for this body of work in the making. Kevin Erskine a farmer from Valentine Nebraska was born. This resulted for Erskine (a.k.a Hijweege) in his first international solo show in New York and the Supercell book. Sequel to Supercell are his Sublime Nature series focusing on the beauty of nature that is grand and dangerous. Following his 19th century inspired longing for remote places and distant shores he travels the world working on his long-term Uncharted and waterfalls projects. Capturing landscapes on tintype and using old copper lenses, he shows us the world as seen through the eyes of early explorers. The multiple threats of our natural surroundings triggered Hijweege to start a second line in his work focusing on endangered species. Based on the Red List of the IUCN he photographed 23 endangered animals preserved in ice. Being a fragile subject matter Hijweege used the 19th century wetplate collodion process to capture these frozen animals on ambrotype. His Endangered series was exhibited at the Dutch Natural History Museum in Rotterdam raising awareness for this important matter. The Endangered book was published in 2014. In succession of this series Hijweege is currently working on 'New Habitat'. This series is about relocating endangered species to safer grounds. New Habitat is exhibited in the Dutch Natural History Museum during the first three months of 2020.
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