Conscientious Portfolio Competition 2014: The Winners

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Emine Gozde Sevim

Now it its sixth year, the Conscientious Portfolio Competition has become an important part of this site. With the help of two external judges, three emerging photographers are chosen as winners. This year, Arianna Rinaldo and Thomas Weski very kindly agreed to make their selection from the shortlist.

There are a few things that I personally am proud of as far as the competition is concerned. For a start, it’s free to enter. It’s no pay-to-play scheme. What is more, 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. This, I believe, is a good way to at least attempt some of the problems plaguing contemporary photography, namely its imbalance concerning gender and race. For what it’s worth, including this year’s winners, there have been 12 female and 7 male winners.

Here are this year’s winners. Arianna Rinaldo picked Kentaro Takahashi‘s submitted portfolio, The Riverbed:

“The work intrigued me from the beginning and stayed on my list until the end. I am attracted by the fact that the focus of the story seems to be just OUTSIDE the frame, not in the actual shot. There is something going on that viewer cannot participate in. There is a sense of suspension that brings me to want to see more, a sort of other dimension that will final give an answer to the somewhat surreal, unfinished gestures in the images that I am let to see.”

Thomas Weski selected Emine Gozde Sevim‘s Homeland Delirium:

“After much consideration I came to the point to select four group of works as my favorites, which I all find interesting because of the personal commitments of their authors showing in their photographs. But I am voting for Emine Gozde Sevim as finalist as I find her work best in its translation of a political topic into interesting images.”

My own choice is Lucy Levene‘s The Spaghetti Tree:

“I actually still haven’t quite figured out why or how The Spaghetti Tree keeps such a strong presence in my mind. That, ultimately, is the sign of good photography: it will stay with you and keep asking questions, instead of providing superficial answers. With The Spaghetti Tree, Lucy Levene not only shows her skills as an image maker, she also displays a profound understanding of photographic conventions, which, when played against each other, keep irritating the viewer, to confound expectations.”

My thanks to Arianna Rinaldo and Thomas Weski, and to all those who submitted their work! And congratulations to the winners!