It is time to announce the winners of this year’s Conscientious Portfolio Competition. With the help of two external judges, three emerging photographers were chosen. This year, Emma Bowkett and Felix Hoffmann very kindly agreed to participate in making a selection from the shortlist.
The competition is free to enter. I don’t believe in “pay to play.” Everybody needs to have the same fair chance. This is why the eventual winners are selected blindly, mimicking blind auditions: the judges get a set of photographs (and nothing else), with the names of the artists encrypted. I hope that this is a good way to at least attempt some of the problems plaguing contemporary photography. Including this year’s winners, there have now been 13 female and 13 male winners in seven years.
Emma picked Andrejs Strokins‘ Cosmic Sadness:
“These peculiar pictures of the everyday with their strange colour palette have invited my curiosity. A wonderful, uneasy world, meticulously staged for the viewer to enter.”
Felix selected Gábor Arion Kudász‘s Human, writing
“The series contains different aspects of thinking. There is a documentary approach to a site where people are working with clay. There is a surrealistic approach, a reflection of the material and physicality of the objects. And there is a scientific interaction in these pictures where the viewer doesn’t know any longer why they might have been taken. The project is an interesting mixture of different directions in photography, involving us as viewers.”
I ended up settling on Katrin Koenning‘s Indefinitely:
“Pictures are more than what they are as pictures. They also are what we bring to them. Possibly my choice is in part a reflection of how I have been feeling about the state of this world since this year’s events have taken humanity back to a very dark place. Indefinitely for sure is dark and somber. Yet it contains traces of hope, of it being a dream. We don’t know, yet, whether it’s about to become a nightmare or whether it will end well.”
Many thanks again to Emma and Felix, and to all those who submitted their work. Congratulations to the winners! Conversations with them will be published over the course of the next months.